A polar bear skull, red with flesh – Greenland 1970

Up at 7:15 to find the fog rising beautifully over the fjord last night, has surprisingly enveloped us. It is thick, grey and cold and instead of getting our teams into the field the place is nearly dead!

Hardly anyone bothers to come to breakfast.
Out of the window, kitchen boy shows us his “tame” lemming eating crumbs thrown out and grain. Sweet little thing, very clock-work-like movements and often motionless for long periods.

We read and work in our warm room, Tove Birkelund next door; the others sleep until lunch.

At 12 we are told that the lifting fog is expected to clear by 1, so Tove gets ready immediately after lunch. However it isn’t until 3 that at last the helicopter leaves with Tove and Peter Willumsen and two Austrians on board.
They are bound for Gurreholm to pick up food and arrange for ours, then on to Milne Land.

The helicopter returns at 5 and we learn that Tove has got no further than Gurreholm!
Things move very slowly.

At 8 I leave Ulla reading and go for a walk. It is cold and dull.
New fog is approaching from the fjord. I get good views of the Greenland Falcon at last, and collect a pellet which it brings up in front of me on a concrete plinth.
Walk along the river south of camp. Caterpillars of the usual beautiful red-fur tufted sort everywhere.
Watch a Ring Plover in brilliant plumage eating quite near me.

At coffee at 9 we learn a peculiar story from Christensen – that tomorrow we shall all be taken to Gurreholm, in a ridiculous order, – where there are many people – and from there to our camps with only a little paraffin. Later the helicopter pilot will buy us more paraffin in Scoresbysund and bring it to our camps! How long we shall wait at Gurreholm we don’t know. Tonight the helicopter takes a load of equipment to Gurreholm with one man and will sleep there.

Ulla and I walk down by the river after coffee at 9:30 but see no falcon. Returning past outlying huts we see on the roof of one the cervical vertebrae and skull, red with flesh, of a polar bear, with perfect teeth. My mouth waters!

Diary, and bed at 10:30.

The Mestersvig Base
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Geologist, Ichnologist, Author and Member of The Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters.

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