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22 August 2014

Ships And Surprises

It was about this time last year that I named the Girly (dam) and Shocker (sire) litter. Up until that point they were known collectively as The Little Shockers.

In their first winter they experienced a lot of adventure together before the real fun started with their first runs in harness. Now though is the time for them to relax during our brief summer and to be groomed and brushed to rid them of their old winter coats making way for new ones. The routine for Peach is a little different at the moment; she is in heat and isolated with Madam in the world's biggest contraceptive (the pen).

As for ourselves, Jennifer is guiding a kayak group deep inside the Scoresby Sund fjord system and I am very busy preparing for next winter.

We get two re-supply ships each summer and without fail the sight of the first one is enough to bring tears to the eyes along with emotional palpitations brought on by the feeling that we've not been forgotten by the Outside. We all feel it. Fireworks are let off from the shoreline where everyone gathers to watch and hear the ship's anchor clatter. The ship's horn is sounded in gratitude of our appreciation to the crew for making the voyage here through the pack ice to bring all the food and supplies ashore for another Ittoqqortoormiit year, including peanut butter and yellow mustard (Jennifer's favourites). But no grapefruit.

I've not seen a grapefruit for one year. They are my favourite and I was looking forward to peeling one as the juice ran down my fingers before popping a segment into my salivating mouth. So now I wait and hope for the end of September for the second and last ship to bring one.

More importantly what did come on the ship were three of the five tonnes of dog food needed to keep my dogs fit and healthy throughout the year. It never ceases to amaze me that the ship reaches us at all given the high Arctic isolation and the waters it must navigate along the east Greenlandic coastline. Thankfully the dog food is now safely stored away and the job list is slowly being worked through.

Talking of ships, cruise ship passengers must, by law, ask for permission before landing in Ittoqqortoormiit. All are welcomed and generally are very agreeable. Even though I am a private person I enjoy chatting with the passengers about the dogs.  Some people even stay and talk dogs for the whole time they are allowed ashore. One such group landed today. They asked lots of questions alongside my dogs and I shared some stories for everyone to take away. They departed with a good experience and I was left with the same. But it wasn't over and I was in for a surprise.

Just when I thought everyone had gone and I turned away, one of the guides called out to me. I walked up to her and she handed me three grapefruits.

The only grapefruit right now on Greenland's northeast coast.
If it wasn’t for my breaking another rib last week, and the pain it's causing, I’d have hugged her for her kindness. Instead I shook her hand with thanks and gave her a mouse mat of my dogs.

As she walked away my eyes welled up for the second time this week thinking Jennifer will soon be home and we can enjoy our favourites together.

There are wonderful people in the world, not only those we love but strangers too.

For more about Gary and his dogs go to www.garyrolfe.com