By Niko Tinbergen
"This booklet describes the actions & a number of the discoveries of a small variety of naturalists who've joined me, at one time or one other, within the pursuit of our universal pastime; the learn of the behaviour of animals of their average atmosphere. It covers approximately 25 years of organic sightseeing & exploration & attempts to inform, with out using technical language, a narrative of our box paintings and the thrill of discovery."—Niko Tinbergen
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Extra info for Curious Naturalists
Night fell and a nearly full moon guided us, throwing brilliant light on the long fjord, which wound its way inland between the towering peaks. Eventually tiny yellow light specks showed up at the foot of the mountains ahead, and soon after we pulled up in the village of Kungmiut, a cluster of tiny houses covered by the massive blanket of snow, snugly sheltered at the foot of steep mountains, which protected it from the impact of the dreaded Pidirraq, the winterly gales from the north-west that occasionally came roaring down from the ice cap.
For steady and reliable travelling up and down the hills, and for hauling loads, we had seal skin under our skis permanently. Further, since we had to travel long distances over the fjord ice, which had to be probed now and then, we preferred a strong ice-chisel to the conventional sticks. This also gave us one hand free. Travelling over sea ice calls for continuous vigilance. It was not difficult, however, to keep alert, since the ice formations made fascinating objects for observation and study.
The first complication was that I was already engaged to be married. Neither of us had any doubts as to the right course to take-we would have to go together. How that plan was put into action need not concern us here, but to our immense joy it was so. Then, I had to produce a doctor's thesis dealing with my work on Phikznthus. I am afraid that this little matter was dealt with in a rather cursory way. Surprisingly enough, however, everything went smoothly. We were married the day after and, putting off our honeymoon for the time being, we got down to working out our plans in detail, purchasing and trying out our Arctic equip- 20 CURIOUS NATURALISTS ment, practising with a folding canoe, learning Danish, and a hundred and one other things.