Back at the hotel, Pam has a message for me from Ken Borek Air. I phone back, collect again, and Harry Hansen is there waiting for my call. He is now very friendly, we mention Ran Fiennes several times in our conversation, and it seems the airport is now open. A miracle indeed! Harry says that Camp Hazen is closed however because of heavy mists so we couldn’t fly on tonight anyhow. That means that he will have to stay overnight at the lodge and wants to know if I will pay for the costs.
Where Is The Arctic Ocean On A Map Gallery Photos
Where Is The Arctic Ocean On A Map
I willingly agreed and he says he will be with us in two and a half hours. We can then fly on to Hazen in the morning as soon as the airport there is open. I tell Harry I am looking forward to seeing him.
Of course everyone is absolutely delighted with the news. To celebrate I volunteer to organise a superb dinner at another hotel and go off to telephone again. I come back and describe the succulent Chinese meal with all the trimmings I’ve ordered and once their mouths are dripping with saliva in anticipation, I reveal that the other hotel is shut as it’s the end of the season. They are all now in such good moods that I am forgiven for my jest and we are all happy enough to eat here. Anyhow Fabian still has a large stock of champagne. As we may be leaving, Cecil agrees to open his shop for us, he didn’t take much persuading and we all buy woolly hats which we immediately put on.
Harry arrives at 10 p.m. still in time to share dinner. He is now really friendly, completely responsive and it seems he has definitely erased the episode of my waking him during the night. He explains the changeable weather patterns around this area and perhaps I have misjudged him. It certainly sounds very unsettled. Resolute was impossible to fly out from due to very high winds until 4 p.m. Hazen has been closed all day and will definitely be shut until 7 a.m. tomorrow; Eureka, the other Inuit village with an airstrip is also doubtful. The North Pole is good for landing and take-off at the moment but that could change very quickly. The other pilot who may be used for the final flight into the North Pole is already based at Hazen, so even if we couldn’t get in there, in an emergency he could fly solo and go in to pick up Andy and the others from the North Pole. Of course we are determined we should take the chance of flying into Hazen but Harry just shrugs his shoulders the weather will decide. It’s the definitive saying throughout the Arctic and Antarctic regions; the weather always finally decides.
We must wait I’ve always been good at waiting. It’s part of my philosophy. Wait and think and then decide and act. Don’t rush it. Often you only get the one chance and you must make it count. There’s no coffee for the morning so I volunteer to try and get some from the co-op shop. It’s another chance to walk outside and experience the wonderful atmosphere of this Arctic place. The shop is also the home of Cecil and Pam; I never did discover if they were married or not but they were certainly together as a couple. Luckily I meet them coming back from somewhere and explain why I’ve come. Pam states the coffee is actually back at the lodge but in the locked storeroom and will return herself on her ski-doo to get it and put it out for the morning. I ask Cecil if he will open the shop again just for me as I’d like to see what it stocks in case I want to buy some other things, but he says he must repair a refrigerator at the hotel and doesn’t have the time. They both set off and I find it rather odd that neither offers me a lift. They are a very independent lot, here in the territories, and keep themselves rather reserved. It’s possibly something to do with the fact that people come through here once only and usually don’t return; it’s also possible that the intensely cold weather makes people less open and more insular.
I don’t actually mind in the slightest and I’m very content within myself as well. It’s again part of my personal philosophy. Anyhow it is only a few hundred metres back and I enjoy the brisk walk. I find Cecil, not working on the refrigerator, which now doesn’t seem so urgent to repair and show him the muskox skull I found earlier. He tells me that someone has buried several skulls in the snow in various places and will return in May when it’s much warmer and the snow’s melted enough to reveal them. Therefore I shouldn’t take it. I accept what he has said and place the skull outside in the snow. Somehow I feel that someone else will now have a fine muskox skull to display. We all agree to get up at 6 a.m. as there will be a weather report phone call at 7 a.m. to tell us if we are able to take-off and fly on to Hazen.
Suddenly I am awake and wonder if it is six yet. But my watch shows 1.30 a.m. There are all kinds of sounds and noises coming from outside my window and these must have woken me. I quickly look out and see two sledges pulled by ski-doos, crammed full of baggage of one kind or another. I am now fully awake so decide to go down to investigate. I meet Harry Hansen coming back up. He’s not happy. It seems that Big Luis is back from hunting and has taken back his room which they had given Harry in his absence. Presumably Luis had also paid for the room or pays a higher rate. They had been letting the same room twice! Still it was their business but obviously Luis had not been too happy to find someone in his room and in his bed when he returned in the middle of the night, even though it still looked like the middle of the day. Luis is definitely a bear of a man but Harry is certainly no Goldilocks. Harry doesn’t know whether Luis shot a bear or not but I don’t see anything that could resemble a body on the sledges so guess and hope not. There are no other spare rooms so I offer Harry one of the bunks in my room. He’s used to these noisy conditions so is asleep the moment his head hits the pillow. I can still hear the dogs howling and yelling for some time before I manage to drift off for a few more hours. In my dreams I see a three-headed dog beckoning me forward. It’s presumably Cerberus, the guard dog of Hades, but fortunately I wake before accepting his invitation.