Today was a "R&R" day(being Rest and Relaxation" ) however the lie in that was on offer was interrupted by the intense Arctic heat. It was so warm we actually chose to cool ourselves down in the glacial stream which was followed by a relaxing morning sunbathing in our sports bras. Rob left at 12:30 to go back to the UK for a family event which was a shame as he was one of the favourite leaders which could be seen as everyone wanted a hug and a photo before he left.
Since we had all signed up to go to the arctic, I think the last thing we thought would be on our itinerary would be going to the beach. However, this is what the leaders had in store for the afternoon. Now, it wasn't the tropical beaches we are used to on holiday but a bit more grainy, still there was a nice cold sea and plenty of sun and no wind to spoil our fun.
After they had disappeared earlier that morning, the boys came strolling along to the beach clutching what looked like steak. Meat had been a rare site on this trip and the sound of it sizzling was just too much to bare, so Izzy, Ruth, Clem and I donned the scarpas and decided to go in search of this magical shop. It was so warm we ended walking along in our sports bra's and thermals, this understandably attracted a good bit of attention from the locals of this rural fishing village: a man driving a van that was not afraid to take his eye of the wheel, the Norwegian equivalent of a cruiser who was on a quad bike and of course the classic "Hello Sweetheart" from an elderly man on his porch.
After using our limited Norwegian to realise a restaurant was in fact not open and was not where the boys got steak we found a more convincing shop. The words "Coop" had never excited me more. The shopkeeper must have thought we had been deprived of everything as we stood in awe for much longer than normal. We were buying the basic staple foods that we took for granted at home: bread, cheese, apples, lettuce and some kind of meat(we were hoping it was going to be reindeer). We wanted to get a few more things like watermelons, and more importantly; razors, but we couldn't quite work out how much everything was going to cost. Before we headed back to the beach we stopped on a bench and had a cheese and lettuce sandwich. I have never liked lettuce much but this lettuce was the best thing in the world. It was crunchy, fresh, cold and didn't involve adding boiling water into a bag.
Back at the beach everyone tucked in straight away but amazingly there was still some left for later to sell on the black market within the camp. The "steak" was to be cooked on the BBQ later, when I say BBQ it was more a portable pizza oven as the plan was to make some arctic pizza. We all went for a well needed splash in the sea, which was pretty damn cold, but once you got past estuary of the glacial streams you entered a still patch of sea that was surprisingly warm. Howard then helped us catch some mussels that were growing all over the place. Shellfish are practically growing in my blood so I enjoyed this part as I showed my natural skill at picking mussels. I got bored however and tried to catch a fish with my bare hands as they were all over the place. Having failed, Will had made a makeshift fishing rod and a group of us headed over to a quiet jetty and attempted to get some fish. Nahom had the first catch and although he may argue, it was a tiddler. The whole time I was just dying to jump off the jetty...
Back on the beach stomachs were rumbling again and pizza's were being prepared, mussels were frying, Frisbee's were flying and the sun was still high in the sky(and probably be for a long time since this is the land of the midnight sun, still it fits the scene). The leaders had brought the laptops down and we were able to write our first blog to our parents. This was taken more seriously than others,*cough* Nahom. The word that comes to mind at our day at the beach is revelry and I don't think anyone will disagree.
After a final Frisbee match with Tim, which i epically lost, we tidied up and headed back to base camp to get back to the normal routine and rice pudding. To make us feel even more at home, Howard had whapped out the full body mozzie suit. It was probably one of the lasting images of the trip, for the boys as much as the girls. The girls toilet was also being emptied (I think) so we girls had to use the boys toilet. It was less than pleasant since it actually faced the path into base camp so you had to be as quick as you could without the risk of sprayback...
Anyway the other notes I have for today are:
- My head torch, I think this was to do with me saying I could having it "erect" or "flacid" and that Gabosha(notice what i did there) love a good innuendo. Why I had my head torch out though I do not know.
- Spilling Jelly beans. Now I am pretty sure I spilt jelly beans and they were Callistairs pride and joy so there was great hilarity in the fact I spilt them and put them back in the bag. Please correct me if I am wrong.
Maan, its sad that I can't remember some of this...