A love of small luxuries
A love of small luxuries
Posted by Gaby Dean

Monday, 20 Apr 2009 11:32
Luxuries are rare on the ice and when they do come along they take a different form to the sort of treat we might enjoy at home.  In fact, what counts as a luxury for the Ice Team is more likely to be something one would take for granted in more regular circumstances.  For expedition navigator Ann Daniels, it’s not chocolates or fleecy slippers that are special, but simply the moments of privacy she can savour being ahead of the others.   When things get almost too much, as is inevitable in the high Arctic, she truly appreciates the hood of her jacket, which she says, is like her own personal shield.  

“When I’m missing home or feeling down it always makes me feel better to let it all go with a couple of privately shed tears”, she says.  “It releases the tension and lets go the happy hormones. You can’t beat the power of catharsis – especially when no one can see”

Ann had one of those moments recently after hauling particularly hard on her slede in an effort to get it over the top of a pressure ridge. The rope suddenly shot forwards and she fell backwards onto a sharp piece of triangular ice, landing on her back.  

“The worst thing was I was trying so hard not to cry because I was wearing my sunglasses”, she says, having recovered from the hard landing.  “They would have steamed up and then the steam freezes and I can’t see!”.  

Ann wasn’t badly injured, but as Expedition Leader Pen Hadow confirms, falling on the ice is something they all hate.  

“It’s the worst feeling in the world”, he says.  “Sometimes we’ll fall several times a day, wearing our skis and with all our kit on.  It’s very disorientating, you have a limited view and can’t see where you’re falling which is frightening.    Fortunately the fear of banging your head on a sharp piece of ice is greater than what actually happens, but it’s a horrid feeling when you do slip, nonetheless”.   
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