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cooper island

Things that happen while you sleep.

Unless the weather was completely unbearable I left the tent door partially unzipped so I could sit up and look out. My theory was if a polar bear was calling, I wanted to see it before it pounced. Of course, zipped into my sleeping bag, I looked like a puffy seal and an easy snack for a bear (granted in the photo above, out of my sleeping bag, I look like a puffy upright seal).

Sometimes while I slept people would stop on the island. They would pull up their boat, walk to the tent, see me buried in my bag, and leave again. Occasionally, I awoke to a plate of donuts or fresh fish left by unknown visitors.

When you live alone in a tent on an Arctic Ocean island you might expect heightened senses and light sleep. Hearing a boat approaching the island or a bear approaching your tent would be a good survival skill.

I took this photo after a good night’s sleep. I crawled out of the tent to find that the Arctic Ocean had moved thousands of tons of ice into this massive wall less than a hundred yards from where I slept.

It’s amazing I survived at all.

[This is a scan from the original slide. From film. Some of you may remember that stuff.]