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Boatswain the dog makes epic Arctic adventure trailing his new friends

By Olga Gertcyk
28 March 2016

After 1,907 kilometre odyssey, crossbreed is back home to his day job keeping polar bears at bay in remote weather station. 

The dog -  Botsman in Russian - was born on a boat supplying the snow swept Bely Island in the Kara Sea, and it seems his sense of travel has never left him. Picture: Vladimir Pushkarev

His escapade involved walking 100 kilometres through the Arctic wastes, crossing the frozen sea, almost dying from unbearable cold, hitchhiking to the nearest town, tunnelling his way to freedom after feeling once more the call of the wild, and eventually being helicoptered back home. 

The dog -  Botsman in Russian - was born on a boat supplying the snow swept Bely Island in the Kara Sea, and it seems his sense of travel has never left him. Still a puppy, he had jumped ship, and remained on the island atop the Yamal Peninsula, seeking out and befriending scientists working here in a remote meteorological station. 

Botsman on Bely Island


Botsman on Bely Island


Botsman on Bely Island with Sergey Anisimov

Botsman is known for being 'sociable' except when he spots a visiting polar bear, in which case he shows no fear chasing it away.  Picture: Vladimir Pushkarev, Sergey Anisimov

Soon he was taken on a member of the staff. The dog - aged seven and with some native Laika in his blood - is known for being 'sociable' except when he spots a visiting polar bear, in which case he shows no fear chasing it away. 

When a team from the Izhevsk Off-Road Club visited his lonely outpost last month, Boatswain happily made friends and decided to follow them when they left in mid-February. 

He ran over the ice chasing the convoy comprising a Russian UAZ-3741, Toyota Land Cruiser 70, Toyota Land Cruiser 80, a Chinese off-road Admiral and a Mirstbisi L200.

Boatsman on the way


Boatsman in expedition


Boatsman in expedition


Boatsman in expedition

His paws were full of ice, his fur covered with icicles. He could hardly move. We got him on board and drove him to Salekhard'. Pictures: Alexander Zediyarov

Traveller Alexander Zediyarov, a member of the club, said: 'Boatswain is an employee of the polar station. But he loved us 'jeepers' so much that he decided to go on a vacation. He followed us from the station - but got lost. 

'However, when we stopped for a night after crossing the Malygina Strait, next morning we discovered him covered in snow next to our vehicle. His paws were full of ice, his fur covered with icicles. He could hardly move. We got him on board and drove him to Salekhard' - a distance of around 1,000 km.

The aim was that that Boatswain would wait for a flight back the weather station on 24 March, but instead he decided its was time for more adventures. He tunnelled out of the enclosure where he was kept and vanished. 

Map


Boatsman and Vladimir Pushkarev


Boatsman goes home

Vladimir Pushkarev: 'The dog has had a holiday. We have found him and now intend to bring him back home.' Pictures: The Siberian Times, Vladimir Pushkarev

There was a false sighting of him at Russia's state-of-the-art new Arctic port at Sabetta before hew as located in a town 22km away. Employees of the Russian Centre of Arctic Exploration started searching for the dog and eventually a woman from a small town Labytnangi reported that he had arrived at her home. 

Vladimir Pushkarev, the centre's director, said: 'The dog has had a holiday. He managed to get to Sabetta, and from there to Labytnangi. We have found him and now intend to bring him back home.'

In fact, Boatswain's adventure is now over: he was flown by helicopter with an environmental team back to his weather station. 

Comments (1)

Botsman, what an amazing adventurer and explorer you are! I am so happy he is home again and hope he remains safe, happy and healthy for many years to come. I also wish all the best certainly to the scientists working at the meteorological station and to the "jeepers" who rescued him when his adventure turned out to be a bit more than he could "chew" so-to-speak....:-).
Pamela Tetarenko, League City, USA
29/03/2016 05:59
4
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