A bad fright but on top form

Published on 02.04.2007 - The Arctic Arc

Polar bear on the Arctic ocean

Polar bear on the Arctic ocean

© International Polar Foundation

Dixie and Alain will remember the night of Saturday March 31 for a long time. A big surprise indeed awoke them during the night.

Dixie was the one to give the alert. How did this happen? It's a mystery. He doesn't even know himself. The two men had just lied down and fallen asleep when, suddenly, Dixie started dreaming. He saw bears approaching the tent. Awakening with a start, he gave the alert to Alain and wondered whether it was a dream or a ... premonition.

They had to make sure. The two men got up, got dressed and stepped out of the tent (it was -35°C!) to check whether Dixie had had a premonition or not. And, there it was, a total surprise: a female bear with her two cubs of about three or four years old standing there a hundred meters away from the campsite and dangerously approaching.

Watching the scene, Alain and Dixie were, of course, feeling a little uneasy. They were feeling all the more worried that the three animals were slowly moving in on the tent. When they were about five meters away, Alain decided to shoot a gunshot in their direction, without harming them of course. He had to do try it a couple of times because the first gunshots didn't seem to have an effect on the intruders. The attempts to scare the bears off ended up lasting most of the night. And, when they awoke on Sunday morning, the bears were still there, but at a reasonable distance from camp... "Let me tell you we really had the jitters", admitted Alain on the phone yesterday.

The best performance so far.

Apart from this one scare, the men are on top form. As a matter of fact, they have decided to get a move on these coming days. It is day 24 hours non-stop, the weather is a little better, it is a little warmer and the ice is good; they have therefore decided to stretch the amount of time they spend on their skis each day. They will now spend nine hours skiing instead of seven. As a result, they progressed 25,2 km yesterday, their best performance since departure.

The fact that they are coming up to their resupply point (they should be resupplied around April 10) is also an element contributing to their high spirits.

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