I am really enjoying being a field assistent! I always am! And this time I feel especially lucky, because I got to join Martin and Charmain to Colesbay! I´ve been here several times before, but mostly during winter (only once during summer, form my Terrestrial Ecology class in 2010, check out post for pictures :P ). Charmain and Martin had already been out here putting out the bug-traps, and on theyr way they found Arctic fox puppies! So I was really hoping to get a view of them!
On the picture above you can see how much we brought out for this one-and-a-half day in Colesbay^^ Luckily we got brought out by boat! Håkon, a friend from my second semester up here drove us out with a polar circle boat. And again the Bearded seal Fatso was greeting us at the dock!
This boat trip I got a little bit closer look at Grumant, the old isolated Russian mining site. Usually when I pass this place by boat, it`s by ship so the distance to land is much greater.
When we arrived Colesbay, we were met by 3 super-cute Barnacle gooslings! Not sure if we scared of the parents and they were seeking protection, or if they were just curious, but they anyway came very close up to us. I think they felt safe around Charmain, the kept folowwing here on shore :)
First thing on the agenda was to put up the camp, and have some lunch before we started the fieldwork. And what is the most brilliant thing to bring on a trip when your starting to get tired of bread (even polarbrød), and are already tired of drytech? Cold pizza! If you think cold pizza is delicious after a night on town or the next morning, you have no idea how delicious it is out in field! (Think I need to mention that this was not actually my idea, so complements to Martin for this one :P )
Happy campers! And then we were off to field!
And of course the place is covered in old protected trash...
And since Charmain and Martin had found the Arctic fox den and puppies, and the Norwegian Polar Institute are trying to keep an overview of the fox population, we had a good reason to go to the den to collect data for NP :) And of course we were trying not to disturb the animals, the puppies however were very curious on us so they walked pretty close anyways! (But thank heavens for zoom-lences!)
Isn`t this just the cutest things ever? =D
And after the photoshot we got on with the actual work, so hiking in to Colesdalen to find the transects. Colesdalen is one of the warmest valleys on Spitsbergen, so this site just felt so green! And I got quite excited to see the only tree here! The dwarf birch/ dvergbjrk Betula nana ssp. tundrarum :D
And no matter wich valley we work in, the reindeers are still curios on the fieldwork :)
On or way back to the camp we passed by the remaining graveyeard. Someone has to visit it when there`s no people left around to remember those who are gone... Sadly, few of the names are barely visible on the stones.
After the fieldwork, it was back to camp and get some sleep. Our trip-wire was too short to be usefull, so polar bear guard needed! I was so happy I actually brought my ipod, so whoever was up had 110 gb of music and audibooks to keep us awake! And I was really glad to have the thermo bivi bag/jervenduk I got form my parents! Windy or not, it was nice and cosy to sit outside :) except in my shift I almost got eaten alive by mosquitos! (Yes, they are here too!)
Our next day we aimed for crossing the valley to put up new traps. The valley is one big marsh-land, but we brought vaders to get over dry and safely. Haha, of all the outdoor equipment I think vaders must be the sexiest ;)
But damn it`s heavy to walk in deep marsh! We tried to get closer to the beach to follow the shore in stead. On the way, me and Charmain got caught in sinking clay! Really stuck in sinking clay! We used alot of time and effort trying to get our feet out! Luckily there`s a lot of driftwood along the shore, Martin had to cary pieces of wood so we had someting safe to stand on when we got a foot lose! After a while both me and Charmain got out with one vader still completely stuck in the clay, we weren`t actually sure if we could manage to dig it out! The clay was so heavy! But in the end, we got everyting out :) but we were running out of time thoug, so we could not try to get over to the other side anymore... Probably a good thing, cause we did not realize how exhausted we got after fighting the clay! But it was sort of tragicomic that it was difficult not to laugh a bit.
We decided to have a break inside one of the remaining buildings, to get properly warm and get some more energy. We tried to contact Unis to hear if there was a chance that we could be picked up earlier, so we kept all our luggage ready and was waiting at the shore.
So quite tired and exhausted we were waiting at the beach, but no one showed up... Eventually we got the message that we had to stay another night, the fjord was just too rought to get out with a boat! So we decided to move inside one of the buildings, were all of us could sleep without having to take polarbear guard shifts. We made traps in the entrances, so if something did happen we would wake up. And we were so exhausted that we sunk down into the sleeping bags at 6 in the evening!
Luckily we got picked up the next morning! It was a nice sight to be back in town, and in my own bed again :) but a very eventfull trip! And a lot of good stories! :D
This is a blog about my adventures on Svalbard. I started studying here in 2010 during my Bachelor, and is now continuing with my Master in Arctic Marine Biology. I made this for all my friends who want to follow me, but I`m more than happy to share my amazing experiences with others =) Hope you enjoy the pictures!