Exercise Midnight Sun - Greenland 2008

Base Camp News

 

1st August 2008

 

It is now 01 Aug; a lot has happened since I last wrote and I realise I have a lot tell you. As promised in the last entry I will describe Anders and David.to you. (see below)

 

It is a special day today as not only is it BT Steve’s birthday, but a solar eclipse took place as well. Whilst we were too far south to observe totality, by getting up very early we did manage to watch a partial eclipse arching above a mountain ridge to the south east of TSQ. We did not have the correct eye protection to look directly at the sun so we had to improvise. David and I cut slits into pieces of cardboard and created Inuit style sunglasses and then teamed our designer cardboard with our normal sunglasses, which proved to be acceptable. Improvisation expert Anders removed the lenses from a couple of sunglasses and stacked them together creating the most effective eclipse observation tool of the day.

 

Over the last few days we have completed all the carries and all the advance base camps and comms sites are in position. Geordie’s Point 2 was moved even higher up the side of the fjord; this was another 4-5 hours of hard work and does mean the BT extraction team will be physically fully tested in recovering the equipment. Igimasaq camp was completed fairly quickly and sits in a really good spot though there is a trek to get water. The comms build at Ice Camp proved to quite entertaining. It was low tide when the kit was unloaded. Unfortunately the guys forgot about the fact that after going out the tide comes back in again. A couple of batteries and the generator ended up fully submerged. Thankfully Kev King was on hand who got stripped of and dived in to recover them. You should bear in mind that this took place just 50m away a glacier that ends at the sea and hence the water was very cold! There were also 2 gerry cans of fuel afloat that were saved by Giles Reynolds – well done Kev and Giles.

 

So that is everything built now and just engineering work to be done on the comms system that still appears to be plagued by power issues, though the one here at TSQ appears to be working fine. The marine radios however are proving to be a really useful and will now constitute our main means of comms between TSQ and the mountaineering, kayaking, comms groups and the Zodiacs and maybe the yacht too, when it is close by.


Our fishing exploits continue to be successful and fish is supplementing our diet quiet well. Other night we had the delights of gravelaks made here on the shores of TSQ, thanks to David. This was the starter to a protein feast; after the gravelaks, we had succulent pork fried in butter, followed by muscles and cod. We have a plan to go into large scale fishing; if this is successful we will be able to supplement the diet of everybody KMT or fjord based, with any surplus being given to the village.

 

Back at base campOur the last few days Stu McHenry has been back in KMT sorting out the base camp end of things, and liaising with Noah and Regina about anything and everything. I went back to KMT yesterday to check on the progress of arrangements for the 16th when we should all be in the village. Despite a few minor problems all is on track. Though because it is hunting season and it is the weekend we are uncertain how many people will be left in the village, but there will be lots of local children to entertain. Whilst back in KMT I visited Noah and Regina and was invited to a dinner of lamb stew, which was really welcome.

 

OK, I will now try to describe Anders and David, both of whom work for Artic Guides ( www.articguides.com ). Anders is owner, founder and general hand of Artic Guides. Blonde, tanned and of medium build (Swedish) his age is difficult to tell but probably mid 40’s. He is a veteran of many and varied polar expeditions, he been on exploratory expedition in both poles, acted as a safety manager for scientific expeditions, and guided the rich and famous all over the world, specialising in Greenland over the last 10 years or so. Easy going, he has a relaxed air about him, but you know if there is a problem he can be totally relied upon. Used to back country living, he can improvise virtually anything.

 

David, the young pretender to the crown, has worked for Artic Guides for the last 8 summer seasons. He is also Swedish, dark haired, square jawed and as strong as an ox. David, a carpenter by trade, is also totally at home in back country. He can start a fire in all weather conditions and he complements the Zodiac team well. From what I have seen he does most of the cooking which, to date, has been first class. The pair of them have a very military sense of humour; slightly dark and uncompromising so if you are coming out beware!

 

Today has been maintenance day here at TSQ. One of the Zodiacs had a slight puncture and had to be manhandled out of the water to be repaired. At the same time we changed the oil on both of the outboard motors, so both boats are now fully functioning. To while away the time whilst we waited for the repair patch to dry on David’s Zodiac we went fishing in Tassi Bay. It was more of a fish recovery exercise than fishing and we were pulling out large cod each time we pulled our lines in, so many that we had to stop fishing as we had more than enough. Tonight’s dinner consisted of cod poached in sea water. It’s getting to the point where we are getting a little bored of catching cod and have started a search to find somewhere that we can catch any other type of fish.

 

The film crew arrive in KMT today and I will go with the Zodiacs to bring them out to the fjord. The vague plan is film the way up to Geordie’s point and the staged construction of TSQ. At the same time the replacement BT crew arrive and will carry out a handover with Giles, Steve and Bal.

 

Well that is it for now. It has been a long day again and I have get this blog transmitted, which is an adventure in itself as we have do a grade one scramble to get to the top of the only hill where we hit the satellite with the BGAN. Oh I just remembered, I forgot to tell you that on the way back from KMT last night we went whale watching and there was a humpbacked whale in the fjord just west of Tassi Bay.

 

I will write and let you know how the filming goes.

 

John HW