The Ice Disappears as Polar Bears Prowl!

Eventually a storm arrived of such magnitude that all the ice disappeared. Yet again the tents flapped incessantly and water rose on our campsite to alarming levels.

During the night, we heard crews up and down the Labrador Coast call into HQ complaining that their tents had blown away and they were having to take shelter as best as the could. The worst situation was a hundred miles north of us where a hungry polar bear had walked into camp and started to chew the collapsed tents. They’d taken shelter in a local Inuit hunting hut.

We wondered what we might do in a similar situation, having nowhere to retreat from a prowling polar bear.

But after thirty six hours of little sleep and much worry, we at last heard the outboard motors of our Inuit Irishman coming up the Dog Island Sound. He brought our inflatable boat (more of which later) and new provisions, including caribou mince and steaks.

My companion and I were very relieved. We didn’t talk about it at the time, but we compared notes many years later, at my wedding in Rhydycroesau village hall. In the intervening years he’d decided to leave academic geology and follow a far more lucrative career as an internet entrepreneur (He arrived in an Italian sports car with his Russian blonde-bombshell girlfriend). He confessed that Dog Island had put an end to his ambitions to be an academic. The discomfort of fieldwork, the temporary nature of university contracts and the concomitant intellectual bullying had all taken their toll. But it was the nightmare after the ice left which had been the final straw.