Sunday, May 9

heather goes to Svalbard:

Just how prepared do you have to be to head out of town? We arrived in Svalbard around 1AM on Thursday night/Friday morning, and we began preparations for an excursion with a 10 AM safety overview the next day. A rather abrupt gentleman (the head of safety at UNIS) told us calmly and in patchy English about all the ways we could die, pictures included via powerpoint. If caught by an avalanche, try to stay on top; if you have a hypothermic victim, keep them flat; if you fall through the ice, swim fast or in about two minutes your survival suit will be too heavy for you to support; if you slip into a crack in glacier, don't panic and wait for your team to find a way to get you out - if you went straight down it will be a much easier rescue. Travel in groups, and everybody has a role when an accident happens. - "And of course, if you don't like the shit you don't gonna be the one doing the first aid."

Concerning snowmobiles:

"If you are out driving one hour and the shit stops, you have one day to walk back, so think about that."

Concerning polar bears:

"Then you have the boss."
"Other times they give us shit in that and they looking for some dinner and that means you."

Naturally we were all very comforted by this lecture.