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Thursday, June 18
YE Diaries by Jamie Worsley
After a brief 30 minutes to one hour meeting in the leader’s tent with the Lucys, Christian, Mark, Sarah, Fay and myself we decided which route would be the most adventurous one to take on the last excursion home around the coast. The nature of our Young Explorers keen attitude meant that we were to do the opposite of the other Fires and leave at an early 2am, as opposed to the normal and leisurely 0900 hours. By swapping day and night we can take advantage of the firmer footing on the tundra and the last few miles of snow. So we left at a prompt 2am with our rucksacks on our backs, some looking neater than others and some even managing to avoid putting kit inside the rucksack and instead strapping and laying kit off the outside (this is when the handless mug is a problem).
After a few hours there was a shared feeling amongst the Fire that the pulks that we happily left at Base Camp 3 were much easier and required less energy. We pushed on and it was not all in vain as we happened to spot a pod of beluga whales, which the biologists and non biologists alike enjoyed. Watching possibly 15 whales graciously swim through the water just off the coast of Hatten.
With only a few breaks we arrived at Deltaneset at 9 am and chose a suitable campsite. The girls set up their tents whilst the men bivvied out. Actually before Mark and I knew it Christian provided background music, by snoring, whilst we had dinner in our sleeping bags. Having a sleep or ‘power nap ’as it had been more frequently known towards the latter part of the expedition (especially in Tobredalen under Pat’s leadership) we set off at around 5pm heading in the direction of Carolinedalen. After numerous occasions of plunging through snow and bog, we kicked steps up the Carolinedalen col and set up a buried ice axe belay as the last 5 m as the gradient of the col proved too steep to walk up with full expedition packs on.
Jaime climbing the easy section of the slope up to the Carolinedalen col. Photo L. Bruzzone
We carried on the following day making our way across the Hanaskogelva and arrived at Hiorthhamn on the 12th. Having a nice evening sunshine on our face. Polarrev Fire joined us and we made a warm fire shielding us from the cold wind off Adventadalen. That night we savoured the moment as we all knew it was our penultimate campsite.
The next morning kicked off with the Doc banging on Christian and my tent and creating a wind tunnel which efficiently got us up. Rein headed for the beach as the boat was waiting to ferry us across with all the kit that we had been carrying for 10 weeks.
Boarding the rib ‘Hilmar’ for the trip across Adventfjorden and back to civilisation. Photo J. Worsley