Longing for cooler nights

Published 30.06 in category In the Footsteps of Nansen

It’s the 30th of June today. Yesterday we had nothing to report, because we stayed put right where we were. Nothing is changed today – there is still lousy weather, stiff gales and an incessant rain. It does, however, seem to be letting up a little bit, so we’re hoping to be able to continue tomorrow. As I mentioned on Thursday, we’re camped right where Nansen and Johansen spent a winter of trials and tribulations. The weather forced our stay, but for us it’s not a bad place to be. Besides, we really needed a few days of rest now. To relax. To carry out some minor repairs on our equipment…

We’ve constantly been seeing walrus; they’re active in the open leads of water and on the ice nearby. As a precaution, we have decided to link together our kayaks, to make them less vulnerable to capsizing during a close encounter with a curious walrus. Every day now, we have seen them – so it’s only a question of time before curiosity gets the best of them, and decides to come real close for a visit. We’ll see if we move by sea tomorrow; it all depends on the wind’s direction.

Another thing we did today is to change our undershirts. Fridtjof Nansen and Hjalmar Johansen waited until Christmas Eve for that …well, actually they just wrung their garments, and so the cleaner outer surface was turned against their skin. I’m fortunate, however, to have a brand new shirt, the first clean one I’ve put on for more than two months. You have no idea how good that simple luxury feels!

Thomas and I have made a decision. We are going to start walking at night instead. In order to do that, we’ll get up at 10am instead of 5 tomorrow, and gradually push the start a bit later each of the next few days. There are several good reasons for that. It’s gotten so warm now, that we can really feel the sun roasting us in the middle of the day. And it melts the ice. Since the nights are cooler, there’s usually a thin layer of frost and ice on the snow – providing a really good glide. And we won’t be getting the burning sun smack in our face, the sunlight is incredibly strong up here in the Arctic, and we can really feel it burn.

Anyways, that’s our plan for tomorrow. For the time being, however, at least for one more night, Thomas and I are right here by Nansen’s stone hut. We’re relaxing in our tents, playing cards, reading and listening to music. Take care!

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