Yet again, the wonderful weather was replaced by a snow storm and created uncertainties regarding our ride back to Longyearbyen. Sitting in the tent when the wind, the snow and the fog were making more and more trouble outside, and knowing that the only food left was marzipan and peanut butter (our stomachs were screaming for mercy just by the thought), was making us quite nervous.
Twenty minutes went by.. 43 minutes… 53 minutes.. 54 minutes.. We started cleaning our hats for hair and other things we might have greased them with for the last two weeks. Just doing all kinds of things to make the time go by, really. Then we decided to make a call from the satellite phone to get the latest updates on our pick-up guys. Word were they could be there any minute.
Another 20, 30 and 40 minutes went by and we heard some faint noises. Couldn’t see anything outside but snow and fog, but after a minute we knew for sure. They were coming for us. We ran outside the tent in joy with a huge smile on our face.
The ride home were actually really fun, navigating yet again only by the GPS. You just can’t see anything but a big endless white fog, mixing the snow with the fog and the sky. The scooter ahead of you is navigating by the GPS, and the guys behind is catching sight of him every time the wind decides to release the wind transported snow just for a minute, allowing us to adjust the direction to follow his trail. The scooters sled with our stuff on got stuck several times due to the heavy load, and one of the guys were asking us ironically why we hadn’t eaten up our food.
Nevertheless, after a few hours of riding in the blind, we ended up near Tempelfjorden. The Tuna glacier are surging and breaking up towards the inner part of Tempelfjorden, and the breaking ice are allowing the seals to come up.
Just a couple weeks before, a polar bear were hunting in those areas. A tourist were dragged out of his tent in the morning hours and the bear was sadly shot and killed. The brutal nature around here have made our trip more exciting, but is also showing the fragility of the arctic animal life. The animals should be respected, and safe routes should be chosen to avoid their habitats.
The weather cleared up and we smiled the rest of the way back to Longyearbyen. We sighted some seals and stopped a few times to look at the gorgeous portrait that stretched everywhere around us.
We got back to Longyearbyen safely and we have been organizing for the travel back to Norway tomorrow. We have been filling almost all our memory cards with photos and videos, and we can’t wait to start the processing work. Thanks has to be sent to all our sponsors, to our families who have spent countless hours to make proper food and snacks for us to eat during the expedition, and to Joackim who has dedicated his time to update the live blog during this expedition.