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Mike Leahy's Diary

Day 4: Rest Day

Tooth Trouble in Paradise
It's 8 am and unlike the others my sleep patterns are fine, even if we are now 11 hours ahead of the UK. I walk to town with J. Over the last four years and 3 Rough Science series we have formed a firm friendship. J is gentle, sincere, kind and intelligent. He is a great guy, full of surprises.Jonathan

“White or wholegrain bread?” the waitress asks.

“Wholegrain please.” I reply. Big mistake!

Ten minutes later a large chunk of molar has broken off in my mouth. Bummer! I struggle through the rest of my breakfast and return to the huts. More bad news: the nearest dentist is 170 km away. In fact it is so remote here that south of the Fox Glacier township (which is a few km south of us) there are no more schools and only one doctor serves hundreds of miles. I don't fancy a 3 hour drive to get to the dentist and can't really afford to hire a helicopter. My tooth doesn't really hurt, but the break has left a razor sharp bit which cuts my tongue. As it swells up it makes it difficult to speak - not what you want when you are helping to present a TV programme. I find Gordon the local electrician to see if he has a small electric drill or ‘Dremel' type tool. No luck, but the owner of my hut, Dave, has some tools. His drill has a half inch chuck which will never fit into my mouth, however big it looks, so using it to grind my tooth is a no no. Mikey B finds it funny that I can't fit a ‘half inch chuck' in my mouth. We carry on looking for potential tools and after a while we find a chainsaw sharpening file. "If it can file chainsaw teeth it should file yours” Dave laughs. I reply with a nervous laugh of my own. Mikey and I brush off the rust and clean the file in boiling water before we set about filing off the sharp bit of my broken molar. In half an hour it's sorted. That's how life is on the West Coast. People always seem ready to help, and inventiveness is king.

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Photo: Mike Leahy
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