ARKTIKA 2.0 - The dogs
By now you have understood the importance of the dogs in Gilles and Alexia’s mission; not only are they a key support against the dangers of the mission, but also friendly company in the course of a long journey. Today we will talk about them and soon you will meet them one by one.
The dogs and the sled
How do dogs lead a sled? How are they chosen?
First of all, there is a lead dog, a dog ahead of all the others and actually leads the tea. Gilles’ other dogs are arranged in front of the sled in pairs: the followers come behind the leader, whereas the so called wheel dogs are at the end of the line. These last dogs are the ones that give power to the slide, the strongest and most massive ones, while the ones in the front positions give speed to the sled. This arrangement is selected by Gilles, but this is not the only order. Dogs may also be arranged in a fan layout, equidistant from the sleigh. An especially preferred formation in cases of ice shelves or floating sea ice.
However, there are also other roles, beyond the position on the sled, which refer to the characteristics of the dogs. The pack leader is the dog that demonstrates a physical or mental superiority over other dogs, like the lead dog who is instead distinguished by his intelligence and is the officer to the sled master (the musher).
In Gilles and Alexia’s team, however, the lead dog and pack leader are the same dog: Smou. But Smou is not the only lead dog. The lead dogs are often two, because one is the “student” of the other. Smou's teacher is in fact Khorei.
The dogs at sea
The 7 dogs have different characters, thus reacting differently to navigation.
Kotch and Smou are the best sailors: very patient when the sea is stormy and always happy to navigate.
Khorei always tries to understand what’s going on, always worried. He almost never sleeps while out at sea, and always looks for Gilles’ hand for a reassuring caress.
Pouchkine never relaxes if his “enemies” Tchire and Kisiliak are nearby.
Tchire doesn’t care about anything, but wants to stay inside the shelter.
Kisiliak and Batou prefer to sleep in the cabin on their FORZA10 mattresses, however when this is flooded they don’t have a choice but to go into the shelter. The temperature gets a bit too hot for them though, and so Gilles and Alexia have to keep the environment cooler for them, but this is not too comfortable for them.
Finally the last, but the very last one of them all, because he is the worst sailor among them, is Batou, whom Gilles has caught watching the rough sea, in hopes of it calming down, as soon as possible.
However, the biggest problem, is still that none of the dogs want to do their “business” on the boat, so each day Alexia and Gilles must find ways to dock and come ashore, and at times taking risks, as we have already told you in the previous episode of this adventure.
How will our furry heroes fare in the coming miles en route to the North Pole? To find out, all we just can do is wait...