Exercise Midnight Sun - Greenland 2008

Base Camp News


10 August 2008


Anders and CathAs Anders, David and I arrived back in Tasiusaq Bay (home sweet home) last night, we were met by Stu (also known as Poo Boy – more about that in a moment!) who seemed relieved to see us.  Having spent the previous day with only the media darlings for company, he entertained us with stories of how he’d been forced to undertake the role of ‘camp elf’ (don’t give him any socks!) as the media left a constant mess everywhere they went.  He also mentioned how Derek had offered to make dinner, which turned out to be (Stu – quote) was ‘Pasta Surprise – the surprise being that the pasta ended up all over the **** campsite!’


Anyway, us base camp bunnies woke up this morning to a cold and cloudy day.  JHW in his infinite wisdom scheduled the daily morning call from all the activity groups for 0700 hours, which means that either me or Stu set our alarms for 06.30 in order to be there in good time, alert and ready to go, but then fall asleep again and wake up at 06.57, then have to run frantically to the comms tent, boots falling off and still half asleep.  Needless to say we’re not too chatty on the 0700 calls…


FishingOnce the ever frustrating comms issues were sorted (or rather, abandoned, teddy bears once again flying fjord-wards) Anders suggested a fishing sojourn to fill in the hours until the zodiacs were needed again, so Anders, David, Adrian and I set off.  On the way there I had my first attempt at driving a zodiac, which was ok till I forgot which way to turn the tiller and we went round in quite a tight 360 degree turn.  Once everyone had picked themselves up off the bottom of the boat, Anders and David regarded me with a quiet, knowing smile, far too polite to voice their thoughts regarding women drivers, etc…  We then had a wander up to a lake, checking out various interesting features on the way, such as the huge basalt seam that runs up through the mountain overlooking the bay, which forms a perfect ‘K’ in the rock.  We also sampled a few Odon berries, much sweeter than the abundant Krakbar berries but not as nutritious.  Anders then pointed out the ‘pals’, swellings in the ground where the water underneath has frozen and pushed the soil and turf above it upwards.  Often when the ice melts in the summer the ground then collapses inwards and creates a crater.  The only thing I didn’t learn anything about on our fishing afternoon was how to catch any fish!  Obviously this was nothing to do with any lack of skill on the fishers’ part, the fish had just gone elsewhere for a few hours.  So the only fish we got to eat were the sort that come out of a tin.


I mentioned that Stu (Dobby, Camp Elf) was also known as Poo Boy.  This is because one of his jobs is to change the poo bags in all the advance base camp locations, a job he clearly relishes.  In fact, he now has a fine patter in poo-talk; those of us not so closely involved in poo issues clearly not realising the great variety of interesting facts about the subject.  Knowing how difficult he is going to find the transition back to UK home life, I have promised to phone him regularly so that he can continue to pontificate about his favourite subject.


Anyway enough for today’s exciting base camp instalment.  Join us again tomorrow for tales of Stu’s growing madness and his worshipping of the ‘Mast God’…



Cath Stephens