In the wee hours of this morning, Dixie welcomed his new group of Polar Experience participants to Longyearbyen. This intimate trio is about to embark on a discovery route specially designed for them, a journey which allows Dixie to explore a variety of new areas outside of his normal circuit.
The group spent the day in full organisational mode, which included food preparation, equipment familiarisation, and sled packing. Dixie gave special attention to general safety practices, including polar bear awareness, especially since their route will take them closer to the shoreline of the island where bears go to find food. When we take our participants out in Svalbard, we are entering the home of the polar bear (and other wildlife), and must thus minimise our impact on these pristine creatures. That said, we must also be prepared to protect human life, which is why Dixie or any other guide is required to carry a weapon on such expeditions outside of the settlement of Longyearbyen.
Our team will participate each night on a bear watch rotation, which actually serves a double purpose. The night hours will be divided so that someone is always awake and aware of any visitors near the camp. That person will also be the first to witness the Northern Lights (should they glow) and be able to awaken the other teammates to enjoy Mother Nature's show.
Tonight our group is soaking up the comforts of Mary Ann's Polarrigg, a charming spot that allows for cozy rest and delicious food served in an Arctic greenhouse. They plan to depart on their expedition tomorrow morning after breakfast.
We wish them sweet dreams and look forward to sharing their first steps with you tomorrow.