torsdag 17. mai 2012

17 Mai-feiring (Celebrating the Norwegian Constitutional Day!)

Hurra for 17 mai! :D Gratulerer med dagen alle nordmenn! :D Hilser spesielt til familie og venner, både til havs og lands og i hele verden! =D This morning I joined the memorial ceremony at the Bauta at Huset, to commemorate Einar Sverdrup and the people who fell at Svalbard druing the 2 world war. A representative from Sysselmannen (The Governor of Svalbard) held a speach before he put flowers down at the Bauta. The Longyearbyen Band played our National Anthem, and the few of us that showed up were singing :)
After the ceremony I went back to Nybyen for a traditional 17th of May breakfast :) As most families have their traditions when it comes to the breakfast/lunch, and most of us are 2000 km (or more) away from our families, we had to make or own traditional breakfast/lunch! So me and Silje made sure we had all we needed for a great meal to start our celebration, and we invited our classmates to join :) And to top it off, we had champagne and strawberries!
Of course we had to join the parade as well! It had just started when we got down to the Church, so we got to see the beginning of it before we jumped in behind the Unis banner :) The parade ended up at another Bauta, where there were more speaches, and the band again played our National Anthem :)
After the parade and speaches, the whole town went to Turnhallen (gym hall) to enjoy coffee, ice cream and home made cakes :) and the entetainment provided by the elementary school students :) (Someone had decorated the entrance with spring branches; that`s the first green leaves I´ve seen in ages!) Part of the entertainment was a lottery, we actually won! We got a DVD about the Norwegian artist Olaf Storø, a cooking book, desert bowls, and a t-shirt (guess we have to fight over that one :P)
Now I´m really looking forward to a Haugesund/family-tradition: Dronning Maud-pudding (" Queen Maud desert"). Crossing my fingers and hope I managed it again! After all, it`s my grandmothers recipe!

søndag 6. mai 2012

K2K

The Nybyen tradition; Kitchen-to-kitchen party! This time, my corridor got turned in to an ice-cave! We cut out lots of paper-snowflakes, made icecles and the "Nybyen drink" (used to be at least) hot chocolate and mintu ;) During the K2K I also got to visit a Newspaper, a birthday-party, after-ski (as always), Mexico, the polar night (with aurora-drinks!), a saloon, and a small dig into British pop-culture (thought the spice-girls wave was finished years ago...) Anyways, it was a great night! And now my hallway is full of snow-crystal, hurray!
Now, I`m gonna enjoy the sun and powder-snow outside :D Already went up to Larsbreen on skiis today, it`s so much powder that it`s difficult to make Telemark-turns on mountainskiis x) But I`m happy I`m getting a real winter before the spring is completly setting in!

tirsdag 1. mai 2012

Cruising to the pack-ice!

So, for my new course up here, I will be studying flora and fauna associated with sea ice. Where better to do that, than at the ice edge on top of the world! Before we left the dock, the ship was having a small emergency-training, and me and another classmate jumped off the ship in survival suits and go picked up by the rescue boat =)
After 2 days of steaming north with RV Helmer Hansen (formerly know as RV Jan Mayen, a ship I now have spent onboard about a month in total :D ), we reached the pack ice. On our way we were lucky enough to see a small fmaily of orcas! (Killerwhales, spekkhogger :)
When we started to get in areas with ice-floes, we also found walrusses!
When we had anchored at the ice edge, we were getting ready to start our sampling. Of course a polar bear had to show up, so it took us some time to get started on the sampling. Luckily it turned out not being too interested in us, so after a while we could continue sampling. (I did not get a picture of the bear, I was busy being polar bear guard. I`ll see if I can borrow a picture from a classmate =)
(and to modify my typical "Titanic-pose" from ships, I went another direction this time: )
As I mentioned earlier, we wanted to study what lives in and close to the ice, but in our first ice station we found very little. Our ice cores turned out to have some ice algae and phytoplankton in it, but we found very little animals. The ice had actually start to melt from beneath, and we had relative warm water in the water column. So we had to try another location, so we would actually get something to work with. Preferrably something with more Arctic water beneath ;)
We did not only work in the ice, we also took a lot of net hault for catching zooplankton of different size, and phytoplankton. So we spent a lot of time in the lab, counting plankton.
(after spending so much time in the lab, you do tend to get a little bit weird ;)
Oh, and I also got some more samples for my own project! Got quite a lot actually, I´m very happy about that! For those who are (too) interested (or just curious), we of course got a lot of Calanus, krill, some jellies, Onissimus, Gammarus wilkitzkii, and other amphipods and copepods. We also found fish larvae, hermit crab larvae (which looks wicked! I`ll try to find a picture!), crab-larvae, even Clione-larvae! And for ice algae and phytoplankton we found a lot of nice diatoms (Chaetoceros, Thalassiosera, Nitzschia), cool dinoflagellates, and the awesome "gold-algae" Dictyocha speculum! (Yes, I know I´m geek, I never denied that;) And if someone actually are interested, I`ll see if I can find some pictures of these things :) On our way back to Longyearbyen, we passed Moffen, a small sand/gravel iseland inhabited by walrusses :) Everytime I´ve been around the area before, it`s been too foggy to see anything. It got foggy this time too, but it slightly cleared up as we got closer to the walruss area!
PS: I actually had an exam onboard the ship! The exam in my statistics course in Tromsø got moved, so suddenly I had no choice than take it by sattelite telephone somewhere north of 80 degrees!