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It’s 2am as I settle into the small vestibule – it’s a snug little front area separate to the main part of the tent which offers a view of the beached boat about 100 yards away, through the small air vents. Surrounded by our cooking equipment, dry suits, shot gun and a few other essentials I make myself a hot coffee. Between the coffee, the vestibule and my 5 layers of clothing, it’s not too cold. The 3 lads are in their sleeping bags; I decide to throw on a pot of noodles to accompany the coffee. Frank did the first watch from midnight to 2am so now it’s my turn.

We’re on land and have beached the boat. Originally we received a gale warning which was subsequently upgraded to storm force. We’re in the middle of 55 knot winds (about 100km an hour) and gusting higher. We’ve used 3 separate anchor points to secure the boat as best we can. We agree to maintain a watch throughout the night as there is a huge amount of tension on the anchor lines. The tent is also under enormous pressure from the power of the ferocious wind.

As the Arctic Joule is being slapped about by the thrashing waves, it rocks the anchor points. We’ve used hundreds of pounds of rocks and loose stones (packed into bags) to add more stability but there is still the risk (hopefully a small one) that the lines could snap and the boat gets swept out to sea such is the pressure Mother Nature is exerting on her. So maintaining a watch all night is a must.
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The order of the watch is decided over a game of hearts. Frank won and opts for the first shift, I was second and so follow him with Kevin next and Denis taking the last shift from 6am to 8am.

Personally I believe a certain amount of tension or stress is healthy. I think it enables growth and performance in so many ways. Like exercising for example, pushing the body and putting it under stress when we train. Combine this with adequate rest periods for recovery and the body becomes stronger, fitter and healthier.

We certainly have plenty of tension in our little world tonight as we watch over the boat while also hoping that the tent poles don’t snap in the stormy winds – no doubt this is serious stuff.

Every 5 to 10 minutes, I peer out the vent to make sure the boat is still there. I then go back to my chosen activity to pass the time which tonight is writing. I’m actually really enjoying this time jotting down notes, thoughts, ideas and whatever else comes to mind. At 3am, I go down to the boat to check the lines. I bring the shot gun with me in case I stumble upon a grizzly – highly unlikely but no harm in being safe.

The temperature is below freezing tonight, it’s dark, we’re in the middle of an Arctic Storm, I’m carrying a loaded shot gun for protection and the boat is under serious pressure from Mother Nature. All in all we’re in a very exposed position but yet I find myself actually enjoying this. Am I a bit odd, maybe a touch adventurous or perhaps its just easy to enjoy a situation like this when you feel you have things under control (or at least as much control as is possible in this situation).

At 4am I go out again to check the lines before Kevin takes over – all good and secure. I join the lads in the tent and climb into my sleeping bag and quickly nod off to the sound of the howling wind and the flapping of the tent. Another interesting day in the Arctic…….