We all continue to drink and celebrate for several hours before turning in, the brightness of the skyline still causing confusion to all our internal time clocks. The chief pilot of the Ken Borek air fleet, Harry Hansen, is also staying in the Lodge with us and joins in our celebrations. He tells us that in the morning he will be going off early to Resolute Bay, but will fly back later to pick us up and then fly us on to Camp Hazen, in case Grise Fiord gets snowed in as happened previously. He is sure this will be OK and we are happy to rely on his assurance.
I’m pleased to still have my room to myself and just in case I lock the door from the inside.
Where Is The Arctic Circle Located On The Map Gallery Photos
Where Is The Arctic Circle Located On The Map
It’s very hot so I strip down to my long johns and try to sleep. The light outside is still too bright so I put on some eyeshades and this helps. I doze and then fall asleep, only to wake suddenly with the need to visit the toilet. Probably too much wine. Still half asleep I climb down from my bunk and stumble to the door. I pull the catch back and step outside and the door starts to close behind me. Too late I realise the catch is still on and the door closes shut and locks before I can do anything to prevent it. The first thing is to visit the toilet (or to use the polite American description the bathroom), then I’ll think about my predicament.
When I return I try every way I can to open the door but it’s impossible. I roam through the building to find the owner but she obviously stays elsewhere each night and presumably only comes back to make breakfast in the morning. All the downstairs rooms are locked and there aren’t any free bedrooms. I deliberate about what to do but in the end there seems to be no real choice but to disturb someone. It should be more useful to choose someone who knows the Lodge but it turns out to be another big mistake. I enter the bedroom where the pilot, Harry Hansen, is bunking with his co-pilot. There is only the one double bunk in their room. Hesitantly I wake Harry and explain the position and ask if he knows where I can find a key to unlock my room. He is totally unsympathetic and tells me to shove off in no uncertain terms, that there isn’t a key available and that I must wait till Pam returns in the morning. He is rightly very irate at being woken in this way. I hope he doesn’t realise who has done so and I quickly leave the room.
I don’t wish to disturb Fabian or Erik or anyone else as I would probably receive the same reaction and they couldn’t help anyhow, so I must somehow survive until the morning. I’m now feeling very cold and I look around for some covering, anything at all. All I can find is a cover for the armchair on the landing. I snuggle inside the armchair, trying to keep myself covered as best I can. I’m not very successful and spend some very uncomfortable hours until the morning. I keep looking at my watch but time goes very slowly indeed.
Eventually I hear the front door being opened and rush down to explain to Pam what has happened. She is highly amused and says it has happened before but that doesn’t make me feel any better. It doesn’t seem worth trying to sleep any more so I shave and shower and get dressed for breakfast, I am the first but soon everyone comes down. I hope nothing is going to be said but Harry is in a foul mood and loudly complains about ‘the idiot’ that woke him in the middle of the night. Everyone is completely sympathetic to his complaint and I quickly realise how important pilots are out here and how everyone treats them almost like gods. They are certainly the kings of the territory, as they must decide when and if to fly and must be the final arbiter on whether the weather conditions are suitable and safe. I remember how Andy Goldsworthy was trapped here for many days because of bad weather and again it would have been his pilot who would have decided whether it was OK to fly out. I don’t think it politic to ask who it was.
However, the day is as clear and bright as yesterday and Harry seems finally to relent. He says there is no real problem and he will fly back to Resolute to drop off some items, refuel and come back for us in about four hours. Harry waves a cheery goodbye and sets off; none of us have an inkling of what is to happen later. Sidney the American has absolutely no recollection of last night and I learn he had spent several more hours drinking downstairs after I had left. Some people think it must have been him that disturbed the pilot, even he is not sure, but I confess it was me and everyone has a good laugh at my expense.