Spitsbergen - Day 2
Samen uit, samen thuis.
A wrenching but wise decision was made last night by Dixie and our passionate participant, Carla Dickens. After setting up camp, Carla noticed that eight of her fingers felt uncomfortable and she asked Dixie to assess. It became clear relatively quickly that Carla was experiencing early signs of frost bite. Dixie called the authorities in Longyearbyen to have Carla brought back to the settlement's clinic for medical evaluation.
Carla was treated and immediately released and is doing well. She's making the most of her unexpected situation, and has generously decided to stay and wait for the group's return. In Dutch we say "Samen uit, samen thuis" which translates to "We leave together and we return home together."
Thank you, Carla, for exemplifying class and positivity.
After digesting this early disappointment, the rest of the team remained positive as they faced their first night on the ice. They experienced some relatively heavy wind and a bit of snowfall during the night and thus awakened to this:
As one can imagine, the campsite breakdown took quite some time this morning, and they only had their sleds loaded to begin their progression at 11:15. Despite the tedious start, Dixie again emphasised that everyone was in good spirits which only grew as the hours passed.
By late afternoon, they found themselves climbing toward the Scott Turner Breen, a magical spot waiting for their arrival tomorrow. At an intermediate point of the climb, they established their second campsite of the expedition:
The team will begin their nightly bear watch duties in 2 hour shifts starting at 22:00 and ending at 06:00. While no polar bear sightings have occurred so far on this expedition, it is important to stay alert since there is a substantial bear population in Svalbard. The bonus side to fulfilling nightly bear watch duty: there is always someone awake to alert the others in case of the treasured Aurora Borealis.
Temperatures are a bit kinder and expected to stay around -20°C or even warmer for tomorrow.