"Welcome home!". I received the warmest of welcomes in Grise Fiord. I did a return trip yesterday, to get several parcels: some scientific equipment sent by Mary and Humfrey from the Institute of Ocean Sciences (British Columbia, Canada), and a waterproof camera sent by Rémy Marion to film under the ice. Slipped in the boxes, between these equipments, many gifts for the whole crew! Our friends from Grise Fiord are also offering me oranges, candies, coloured pencils for the girls, and even a nice cut of polar bear meat. Tom hunted it last week, not far from our fjord. A big one, "10 feet plus!" he wrote to me on his return. Tom shows me the head, which dentition is formidable, and the skin, superb in its winter fur (he should sell it 9000$, according to prices displayed in the hamlet office). He explains to me how to prepare the meat to have it nice and tender. He already fed family and friends, and most of the dogs in town! Amon got a nice bear too (8 feet) last Saturday, not far from open water, near Smith Island, south-east of Grise Fiord. I met fresh tracks on my way this morning, not long after leaving Vagabond. It could be from the polar bear who came to our camp on Monday? Dogs scared him away, but we had good time watching and filming him.
I'm buying a whole seal to Tom, to feed our dogs. We should move our net but we didn't see any better place in the surroundings of the boat. Seals like to breath in the cracks, where ice is thinner and easier to break. Liza is providing me with a seal skin, France wants to make mittens out of it, after she made some for the rest of the family. Suddenly Liza and I can see the tip of the sun, shortly, like an orange flash, wow. I was expecting it two days later!
Our friends are repeating it to me, we will have more visitors in a few weeks. For now, for most people in Grise Fiord, especially families with young children, it is too cold to travel the 50km from the village to the boat. Mainly hunters are travelling the length and breadth of the area...
When emptying my sledge last night, on my return on board, while the full moon was illuminating the pack ice, I was playing Santa Claus. Without beard and without going through the chimney!