søndag 30. mai 2010

The day we watched a polar bear from school

While eating breakfast on Friday morning people were suddenly running in the hallways talking about a polar bear sleeping in Adventfjorden! Apparently a lot of drift ice had followed the currents and ended up in the fjord, and a polar bear had been sleeping on the ice. I got calls and messages form people telling me about the bear, asking me to bring cameras and binoculars. I used about 4 minutes finishing my breakfast and collecting stuff, and 2 minutes later I was sitting in a cab stuffed with excited students on our way to school!

Someone had put up a small telescope-ish thing on a tripod in the stairs of Unis, where most of my classmates where found. There was also a bunch of people on the roof watching the bear. Mostly it was sleeping, but once in a while it woke up, walked around probably a bit confused. Hehe, a lot of pictures were taken, and the binoculars were moving around faster than free pizza =P

How many places in the world can you see a polar bear form the window of your own university? =D
During the day, at any free minute, I went back to the roof or the telescope to watch the bear =) In the evening Sysselmannen/the Governor of Svalbard decided to bring it back to the east coast by helicopter, quite sedated. It was a really cool experience, even though it was a binocular-bear.

PS: Thanks to Kiya for the great picture of the bear!

torsdag 27. mai 2010

Yes, I have actually done schoolwork here as well

Even though it might look like from my blog, I have been doing other things than trips too. Other than the normal lectures, seminars and reading that follows University studies, I have worked with different plankton sampled here at Svalbard. The reason for our field-trip to Billefjorden and Isfjorden was to gather plankton for a project investigating the migration of plankton and spring blooms.

I was put on the group working with phytoplankton, the primary producers of the ocean. But I also worked with zooplankton, more specifically Calanus sp. (a copepod, and key species in the Arctic). I helped a friend of mine with some of the lab preparation for his bachelor thesis, and I had so much fun! And I think he appreciated the help as well, especially when we were sitting at Unis until 1.00 am taking pictures and registrating each individual form the samples... But it`s been a great experience, or else I would not do this vouluntarily (and yes, I am a bio-geek =p).

With the phytoplankton group I was investigating the spring bloom, when it started, had it`s peak, and were in the water masses it was, and if it was different in an ice-covered fjord or open fjord.

We are now finishing the project, and are representing our data`s tomorrow, and I have no idea on the overall results yet, as I worked with a small proportion of the whole project. But it will be interesting to see!

PS: I also put up a picture of Clione limacina (sea angel), as I am now completely amazed over these (relatively) small creatures. It started out as curiosity of some pictures in the hallway at Unis, then I decided to write about them in our compulsory essay, and I am completely fascinated by these animals! I was really happy when we actually caught 3 in Billefjorden so I could see them! And I can`t wait until the autumn, the sea will be filled with them (have to bring my diving equipment and camera!)

So enjoy!

onsdag 26. mai 2010

Damn, I miss you guys! Can`t wait to see you again!

In my search for great pictures of me and my friends, I discovered that someone (*kremt*) have had a lot of fun playing with my camera at all sorts of events... This have led to some great (and hilarious!) pictures, and inspired me post a small tribute to my friends at home =)

Even though I had the greatest time her on Svalbard (and still have!), and hate the fact that I leave soon, there is a bunch of people I am really looking forward to see again! I missed you guys, wish you could have been here with me and experienced all this cool stuff!

I am looking forward to see you soon!

PS: Of course I miss the rest of my family as well, but I´m not sure how fun they think it is getting pictures posted in my blog randomly... So I keep it to my friends and sisters =)
Mom and dad, of course I miss you too! And my aunts, uncles, cousins, and Amor, it`s going to be great to see you again =)

PPS: Don`t be insulted about the order of pictures, I would have put all of you on one row if it was possible <3

lørdag 22. mai 2010

Wohoo! I got accepted at Unis for next semester!

Yes, I got the answer from Unis that I´m staying here for next semester too! I am so looking forward to it, I´m taking the Arctic Marine Ecosystem and Arctic Terrestrial Ecostystem courses, both of them with a 10 days cruise around the archipelago to collect samples! It`s going to be great! =D

onsdag 19. mai 2010

Fieldtrip to Barentsburg

Yesterday I went on a trip with one of the classes I am taking here. We went to Barentsburg by boat =) and not just any kind of boat; the Governor of Svalbard`s boat! We were supposed to go by scooters, but the only time that fitted for the Russian General Council of Barentsburg to meet us, was 19th of May. Now in the middle of May, there´s not much snow for a snow scooter to drive on. Also, it is a little bit too much ice still in the fjord for the Unis boat to take us, so we got a ride with Nordsyss!

The boat was really great, it had a really nice day-room where we could stay during the trip. And it was great to be back on the sea again! We had a quite nice trip, there was little waves and mostly sun, but quite windy. I was trying to take a good picture of the fullmares that were following the boat. They are so fast! But I think I finally got one =) I was spending most of the trip on the deck of the boat, it was so great to be in the fresh air!

Looking at Barentsburg from the sea, at this time of year with all the melting snow, it looked kind of sad and shabby... But it was still cool to see! And to walk up the famous stairs they made from when an important Russian visited them a while ago. We had some time to look around, before we met the General Council. When we went into the council-building, it looked so beautiful! It was so nice inside, with a lot of beautiful paintings, a huge chandelier, and granite in the floor and walls. It looked much nicer than the Russian hotel and all the other buildings!

The head of the council was talking to us about the relationship between Norway and Russia, especially regarding Svalbard, and how the society in Barentsburg worked. He was talking to us in Russian, but a translator was sitting by his side, who also translated our questions to the head of the council. While we where listening, we got served coffee and biscuits. It was quite surrealistic, sitting in the beautiful, official building in Barentsburg, with this important man talking to us, he dressed in a nice suit, and we`re sitting there in hiking clothes with our notebook in our hands... But he said that is was a nice change to ahve students on visit, not only diplomats and politicians =) I thought it was really interesting to listen to him, and after 1 and a half hour (did not really feel like that much), we were back sightseeing the town. They opened the museum and souvenir shop for us, so we had a look there =)

Unfortunately the weather turned while we were walking there, it started to rain... But not a big loss for me, since I´ve been there before. But after a small sightseeing round we went back to the boat, starting our way home. On our way we spent most of the time in the day-room watching the pictures we took. It was a really nice trip back to Russia, 40 years ago =)

PS: If you wonder why the houses in Barentsburg look so different, it`s because the buildings made in the different way you find all over Russia. So the represent different regions, with slightly different tradition when it comes to the houses.