Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Day 275: The Rock

To start things off right, here's a photo of my foot in the hospital and the cripple-crutches that cramp my style.

Even better, here's an artistic interpretation of me on crutches on a balloon for my mini-welcome back party. Some people are awesome.

"Jei!" is something like "Yeah!" in Finnish.

Once upon a time, I was a semi-normal person and did things like leave the building. If you remember, a few weeks ago my brother was here. We need to conclude that business - some good photos from those exploits.

The weather on his last day was pretty gnarly but we had to go out for one last scooter trip across the fjord - I've had the worst luck finding seals, I've seen them from afar many times but nothing good enough for a decent photo.

The scooter track along the riverbed to the edge of town:

The ice edge in the middle of the frozen fjord:

Unfortunately, no luck with seals. The main activity planned for this day, however, was an indoor activity - one I had never heard of before coming to Longyearbyen.

Kayak water polo!

Pierre invited Dane to play, and I came along as the photographer. Dane plays water polo (among a million other things) so we thought he might enjoy it - which he seemed to.

Bear with me for the million photos I have of this game - normally I'm not so into the sports photography thing, but I took a LOT because it was interesting photography and my bro was playing. If you're someone who played in this game, let me know if you want copies of any of these photos - or let me know who you are because I have a few hundred (literally...) photos not included here that may be of you.

The pool in the sports hall is pretty nice - huge, and with this awesome view:


Pierre tries to drown Johanna:

Dane warms up:

Pierre - sort of the coach - explains the rules and safety procedures...

And then the game begins!

Almost immediately double disaster strikes...

The reason I don't like playing this game. I hate flipping over. The usual protocol for flipping over is slapping the underside of your kayak, which calls someone else's kayak over to you. You then slide you hands along the underside of your kayak feeling around for the nose of another kayak, which you use to flip yourself upright with. Terrifying, all in all.

Various photos of game play:


A final, full-pool view of the game...

A Finnish player makes some dives before the next sport:

After kayak water polo comes...underwater rugby! Lots of bizarre sports in this place.

Underwater rugby works as so: there are two weighted baskets at the bottom of the pool on each end. There is a weighted ball that you try to put into the other teams bucket. There are no rules other than you can't touch someone who's not touching the ball. So, if someone is trying to drown you as you're holding the ball, you either give up the ball or don't breathe. Interesting.

The field:



Dane's team:

Back at the barracks, everyone helped prepare a special dinner for Dane's departure - the first barbeque of the year!

On the menu...whale burgers! Mink whale, I believe.

Pierre plays chef:

The weather wasn't that super, but it worked.

Pierre, Dane, Olgeir, and Johanna waiting for burgers...

Olgeir, Ragga, and Dane take a turn watching the fire:

And THAT, FINALLY, concludes the visit of the brother. Seems like it was quite awhile ago. The 3am sun after dropping him off at the airport:

Someone made the observation that it seems like only a few weeks since being no sun and now its all sun. This is entirely true. The first sun was (in theory) expected March 8th - bad weather that day meant we didn't see it until about March 12. Midnight sun was first seen April 19th. The switch only takes about a month - very fast.

And to finish things off right, here's a photo I took of my foot today when I took it outside for some air. The weather was spectacular so my friends put a chair on our porch for me to sit outside for a bit.

That's some good advice on that cast, there.

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