Thursday, July 12, 2012

The question that I have thought about while I was preparing to write this entry was, how do you describe the best day of your life? It is a tough thing to do but I will do my best to take you through it. To start off the amazing trip that I had comes from the fact that the lab that work for back at UNH has instruments setup at different locations around Svalbard. One of these locations is Isfjord Radio where I went. The reason I went there was because the system was no longer working and I had to go out there and attempt to fix it with the help of one of the engineers from back at the lab. So lets start off with a map.

So on this map you can see where Longyearbyen is and then the trip out and down the fjord to get to Isfjord Radio. Since there aren't normal passenger boats going out there I unfortunately had to go on a guided tour of the fjord on my way to Isfjord Radio (sarcasm is hard to convey through text, but that was serious sarcasm). Over the course of these two days that I have been out there, I have taken 400 pictures. I still don't think I will be able to convey how amazing it all was. To start off this is what the fjord looked like on our way out.

Also the boat we made the journey in was this awesome little PVC boat.

Next stop on our adventure we stopped by a bird cliff located on the side of the fjord. It was truly amazing sight.

Now this just looks like an awesomely impressive cliff but if you look close....

The whole thing was filled with birds! It was fun do because there was also an elderly couple joining on the trip and the man was an avid bird watcher and was able point out all the birds. Now on to the next stop in the guide.

This is an abandoned Russian mining settlement that has a very special inhabitant. Living in these house is a mouse and this mouse carries a very special bacteria that if caught by humans will shut down your liver and kill you. So this turns this already spooky settlement even spookier. Next on the list of stops was the port for this mining settlement.

You can see the mine storage over to the right side and the housing and the dock to the left. Some of these houses are even still in use as a overnight cabin because these buildings are located far enough away that they don't have the problem with the mice. This also made for a nice picture, not sure what this structure was used for though.

The rest of the trip was simply to get to Isfjord so I will just show some nice pictures from the way.

This is looking out of the Fjord out into the big blue Ocean. Next we arrived at Isfjord Radio.

Now I will explain the funniest part of having to fix the system out here. It was installed in a building out here that got renovated and when that happened the building the acquisition system was in got turned into the honey moon sweet. So in the back closet of this honey moon suite sits this....

Not sure what I would say if I found a big black box in the closet of my honey moon suite... Anyways after taking it apart some and following the instructions from our ALL KNOWING engineer Paul, we got it running again.

Luckily I took a break at one point to look outside and see a pack of white whales passing by.

It ended up being a pack of about 50 of them, and it was quite a strange sight to see these white whales passing by. Then we got to dinner here at the Isfjord Radio hotel. Now I have had dinner in a few restaurants at Longyearbyen but nothing compares to the food at this hotel. Dinner was a three course meal of, whale and seaweed, Lamp and mach potatoes, and a brownie with raspberries for dessert. My favorite piece was probably the whale, it tasted almost exactly like a thinner steak. Then it was finally time to go to sleep but it was hard this view out of my window.

When I woke up I saw that someone had ventured outside.

Edvard is very much enjoying himself out here and was feeling much more at home.

Then as I wandered around the hotel in the morning I found this polar bear picture...

Ya, a polar pooping... Great sight. Then we had a wonderful lunch or some kind of fish soup which was delicious and a strawberry milkshake. Ya the food here was amazing! Then we headed back out onto the sea but of course you need to wear one of these!

We got provided with these awesome Arctic survival suits where even if you fell in the water you would only loose 2 degrees of heat in an hour, and they look awesome. Plus we got to watch how men put boats back in the water.... with a crane!

Once the boat was in we headed back out onto the fjord and went to go check out another mountain filled with birds.

As we sat there with the boat turned off all you could hear was the screech of thousands of the birds. As we left this mountain mom.... I found you your cabin.

Next we ventured into the next little bay where we got to see a glacier!

Its hard to see but to give it somewhat of a size, on the right side where the end of the glacier meets the sea there is another boat there that is about the same size as ours but all you can see of it is a darker spot. It must have been about 40 meters high. As we got closer to the glacier we got a nice surprise.

A big bearded seal relaxing on the ice, we got very close and it stayed calm and almost became interested in us. We then got a good close look at the glacier.

We then turned around and headed home, on the way back we got another great visitor.

The trip back ended up being a little rough but it was beautiful the whole way back.

Now I am sure I have left somethings out but hopefully I have shown how amazing of a trip I had. I may end up having to post some additions later on once I remember some stories from the trip.

1 comment:

  1. What a great post! Sounds like a thrilling "best day!" My bet is it will become part of a long list of great days. I'm sure the day enjoyed having you there as well. Still in AK and think of you often as I see snow and wake up at 3am and it is still light. We've had two days in a row of seeing the whole of Mount McKinley/Denali (20,000+ feet high!), very unusual and part of my amazingly great day. Take care and have more amazing days.