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Pole to Pole

Day 4: Ny Alesund

Michael Palin - Pole to PoleWake to the sound of bird-song. As I haven't yet seen a single living creature in the Arctic, I wonder for a moment if this might be one of the crew, driven mad with homesickness, playing a Percy Edwards tape. But Peter Webb, a young Englishman and one of our Ski-Doo circus, tells me at breakfast that it's a snow bunting. We're also likely to see seals, reindeer and possibly Arctic fox on our way across the island. I'm desperate to see a polar bear (having been brought up on Brumas) but might have to shoot it if I do. I glean this from a warning poster, in Norwegian and English, displayed at the door of the canteen. 'Polar bears may be very dangerous,' it begins:

'The following precautions should be taken: (1) Always carry a weapon. (2) Do not attract bears by putting out food. Place your garbage at least 100 metres away from the camp, directly in view of your tent opening or cabin door. This may enable you to see a visiting bear in time. Report to the authorities if you have had to kill a bear, find out what sex it is, and take care of the skull and skin.'
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Pole to Pole
  • Day: 4
  • Country/sea: Norway
  • Place: Ny Alesund
  • Book page no: 16

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