zondag 7 juli 2013

Waiting and livin' on the edge!

Since working on the boat is done we are now in the Marine lab mostly, this building is the absolutely perfect example of how complete a lab can be, it has several climate rooms, working areas and much more. But it is also located directly near the water which has the enormous benefit of seeing wildlife while at work! 
Ariadna's test in the climate room ©Ben Frederiks
For example, 5 days ago a huge group of belugas swam through the fjord and yesterday a walrus was spotted in the harbour! This of course does not affect the work performed by us, but it is a great feature that makes this place so special.

Besides watching the magnificent wildlife work has to be done! This week we started Ariadna’s tests, the organisms were put in the aquaria and water is changed every two days. With the starting of the tests monitoring becomes a standard part of the day to see if animals are staying vivid and alive.

My (Ben) materials are arriving on Thursday, from them on I can practice my skills in the lab too, until that time I am assisting Ariadna with the project. But I cannot wait till Thursday, will be a great to finally get started! That is, if the polar bears leave us alone…

This morning at around 7:30 we woke up because of gunshots near the house, assuming that it came from the shooting range we stayed at ease and kept on sleeping, after a few more shots we heard our German colleague Gigi shouting “Polar bear at the beach!”, immediately we jumped out of our beds, grabbed our camera’s and ran towards the door! And there it was: A large white polar bear walking along the shoreline being followed by two watchmen that shot flares at him to scare him away.  
The polar bear near the Dutch station only 500
meters away!  ©Brigitte Weiss
Although the bear did not seemed impressed by the explosions it moved away from the village leaving us exited and fully awake!

This it is just another reminder that our staying in Spitsbergen is not completely without risks, though it’s more likely to choke on the excessive breakfast, but the visit of a polar bear is not impossible…

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