Monday, March 12, 2007
Longyearbyen, our first day. AKA Boffins on Ice
This was the day we went dog sledding... And Dr D realised he had Superman/Indiana Jones fantasies, whilst the Magic saw himself more like a Bond style hero...
It's been such a cool day today. We spent the morning doing a dog sleding tour around an iced over lake!
Calv, and The Flatmate took one sled, and Dr D, Magic and I were on the other, being pulled along by 9 very, very eager huskies. All 3 of us had a go at leading the dogs, whilst the other two sat on the sledge, and it was amazing fun! Before we started off, these dogs were yappy, and jumpy, and so excited. But once we took off, they all turned into serious working mutts.
Dr D so far has not had a very good animal tour/holiday ration so far. In America a few years ago, we went horse riding, and he managed to pull his groin really badly when his horse got ultra greedy and kept trying to eat the grass, whilst not bothering to stop first. What must have seemed like a real time saving move at the time turned into Dr D's near death experience, as the horse refused to stop eating, lost it's balance, and nearly fell over, possibly leaving Dr D in a more pancake shape.. This time, he was surely hoping to have less life threatening animal touring experience, but even so, when he took the reins he seemed a bit nervous. Once he started getting into the swing of it, he really took to it, looking around, urging the dogs to run faster, saying how much fun it was, giggling like an excited school girl. Inevitably cockiness overrules, and he starts to think "this dog sled driving is a piece of piss", and so he starts trying to make snow balls with his foot (we still have no idea why??), whilst dogs are pulling us along at a not to be sniffed at trot. Slowly I notice the constant Dr D chatter has stopped, to be replaced with the occasional "oops" and "ooh dear". When I turn around, he wasn't so much standing on the sled, but more being dragged, Indiana Jones style, belly down, along the snow, behind the sled. Apparently he had managed to get too much snow caught in his boot, trip a bit, completely fuck up, and fall over. Rather than letting anyone know what he'd done of course, he thought he could "fix it" before we noticed, and was trying to drag himself back up. The only problem with this plan is that the snow is of course too soft for him to get a good grip with his shoe on, and everytime he tries to put his foot down, he just sinks into the snow even deeper. He literally was dragged about 100 m, with 9 huskies pulling our sled along before we noticed. When we saw this, The Magic jumped up on the sled quick as lightning, trying to manouvere his way to get to the break, thus saving his best friend for drowning in snow. Unfortunately, whilst The Magic jumped up like a hero, and he fell down like a boffin.
So now, this leaves me, on a sled, alone, being dragged by 9 uber excited huskies, no driver and no way to stop. Screaming "STOP" at the dogs does no good of course, because these puppies don't understand English or even the more common English Louder. All the other sleds in front unfortunately do speak english, and by now have all stopped their sleds and are watching Dr D and the Magic running after, laughing their arses off, and falling over in the snow. They also watch me preacriously climbing my way to the back of the sled, sure footed like a cow on ice skates, throw the anchor, lose my footing, and get dragged along the side of the sled until the dogs ran into the people in front. I've never been so embarrased to be a nerdy boffin in my life!
So all in all Dr D succesfully managing animals on a tour 0, Animals Trying to Kill Dr D whilst on holiday 2.
Tomorrow we're off ice caving in a river glacier, in the evening. Now I'm not too keen on closed in spaces, but I've been assured that this is the tour were I won't have to crawl under hundreds of metres of ice on my hands and knees. Being opressed by a ton of ice is not something i'm particularly looking forward to, but then again, neither is flying and I manage to do that ok.