Sunday, April 19, 2009

Swearing in Norwegian, and Other Fun Things

In the past week, I have learned a new Norwegian swear word: Hinlopenstretet.

Should you search for this word, you will find that it is actually the strait separating Nordaustlandet from Spitsbergen, but it appears to be a very powerful curse, as well. We are stuck in Longyearbyen still, waiting for the weather on Hinlopen to change so that we can fly a helicopter to Kinnvika. Two boom runs (failed attempts) earlier this week were a bit sad, but it looks as though the weather will change and we will be able to fly tomorrow.

In the meantime, we've been packing, unpacking, and repacking our cargo, sitting around the hotel (and moving from room to room), and trying to keep spirits up. We did go shooting the other day, and we went for a walk up one of the glaciers near town, so it hasn't been all sitting around. The weather here has been almost perfect, which sucks because we can't even bitch about that. Ah, well. Here are some pictures for your enjoyment:

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Arrival in Scandinavia and Farewell to Civilization...

Hej all!

I have just arrived in Copenhagen and am sitting around, waiting for information about my flight to Oslo. The overnight flight from Seattle was very nice, and I am looking forward to watching Quantum of Solace on my return to the States...

My apologies to everyone for failing to update you with my exciting life in Alaska over the last several months. The sad news is, I actually have updated you with my exciting life, inasmuch as it has been thoroughly unexciting. School and work have been about it, although I did learn how to avoid bears, shoot shotguns, and even brushed up on wilderness first aid - things that could be very helpful in the upcoming month.

After much strife, I was able to put together 2 camera boxes complete with tripods, and have managed to check them into my luggage and bring them along with me. They will at least make it to Oslo, although after that is anyone's guess. In order to fit the tripods and camera boxes in my bag, however, I was forced to almost completely dismantle them - what had been two tripods is now about 14 pieces, ready to be put back together upon arrival at Kinnvika.

I had thought that I would have a couple of days to acclimate myself to Svalbard before waving adjö to civilization, but I will have about an hour from when my plane lands to when I climb aboard a helicopter and make my way to the research station - baptism by fire (ice?), indeed.

Of course, I'm looking forward to all of this. As I was flying over Alaska yesterday morning, I saw several large glaciers in the mountains below and of course got really excited. I am excited about spending a month in the field, and I'm even telling myself that whether or not everything goes according to plan doesn't matter - much. This feeling was only enhanced when I looked at the flight camera (SAS has cameras on the bottom of the plane that allow you to see beneath the plane - nice when you don't have a window seat) and saw what could only have been Iceland. I say this because it was around 1 AM Seattle time and it was sunny out, which means that (a) we were a long way into the flight, too long for it to have been Greenland; and (b), it was covered with ice and snow. And yes, I know, Iceland is very nice, Greenland is full of ice... but that doesn't mean Iceland is devoid of ice and snow. Especially this time of year. Either way, I saw some fantastic views of the mountains and even sea ice. It was aweosme.

I will put up pictures from the field (once I return) on the same page as always, so be sure to keep a look out come mid-May. They should be spectacular.

Adjö för nu,


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A Few Musings About 30 Below...

A few things that I've noticed about cold temperatures:

My car whines in the morning. A lot. When it first starts up, the steering is stiff, the brakes are stiff, and every bump on the road feels 10 times larger. It's fantastically exciting.

In addition, tires deflate when they get cold. As in, look like they're flat. So I've now changed a "flat" twice at temperatures that were at least 30 degrees below (I say "at least" because my car's thermometer doesn't register anything below -22), but the problem was fixed as soon as I put more air in the tires. Excitement.

I can still walk across the street to the West Ridge Cafe wearing a sweatshirt, boots, and a hat. And pants.

The door at the Patty Center pool looks all sorts of awesome with ice covering it.

Oddly enough, I still haven't had any major problems driving on the snow/ice. I guess I'm one of a handful of people from Michigan who remember what happens each winter when it snows and the roads are slick.

Moose are still awesome. So are fox (foxes?). Haven't seen a whole lot of other animals, outside of ravens. Seeing mountains in the morning with a pink sky will never get old, either. Even when the sun doesn't get much higher than those mountains.

That's all I have for now. I'm another year older, potentially wiser, and I'm still loving the winter. Although, that fact may make some of you think that I'm less wise. Ah well.