dinsdag 5 augustus 2014

Arctic adventure approaching the end

An overview of Ny-Alesund
Time flies in Ny-Alesund. The last days  have been very busy. Interviews with Fang Peng, the Chinese station leader, Fabio Giardi, the Italian station leader, Aaron Russ, the expedition leader on board of Le Boréal for Abercrombie & Kent, Asne Dolve Meyer, the general advisor of Kings Bay, Ole Oiseth, the director of Kings Bay and Sébastien Barrault, the research advisor of Kings Bay and the previous station leader of the joined German- French AWIPEV (German Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) and the French Polar Institute Paul Emile Victor (IPEV)) research station. The last persons on my interview list are Bjorn Eirik Norman, the field inspector on behalf of the Governor of Svalbard in Ny-Alesund and Maarten Loonen from the Dutch research station. Hopefully I will manage to talk to them tomorrow.
Greenpeace visit with Emma Thompson and Michelle Thrush
Almost every day a cruise ship visited Ny-Alesund, so I joined tours with Le Boréal on behalf of Abercrombie & Kent and with the Quest on behalf of Polar Quest and Polar-Kreuzfahrten. Le Boréal is one of the more luxurious cruise ships, owned by Compagnie du Ponant. We were lucky, because all the harbour workers and me got a tour on board. It is a really fancy cruise ship with a concert room, a spa, a fitness room with a view on the stunning landscape, a piano and library room... This tour made it worth to get up early in the morning on the only day so far I could have staid longer in bed. On Saturday a special ship visited Ny-Alesund. Greenpeace's Esperanza is performing a communication campaign in the Arctic with Emma Thompson, a famous British actrice, and Michelle Thrush, a Canadian actrice and activist and their daughters on board. Ny-Alesund was one of the places they visited in their Arctic journey and I was lucky enough to join them on their tour through town. 
Sunday evening tradition
Of course I also enjoyed some free time. Saturday evening the whole town gathered at the bar. That reminds me of another interesting fact I have to tell you about Svalbard. You can only buy one crate of beer and two bottles of liquor a month. Wine, however, you can buy unlimited. If I want to buy a drink here, I have to show my boarding pass and they will stamp it. If you come here by boat, you do not have a boarding pass. So in order to be able to buy alcohol, you have to get permission from the Governor of Svalbard. Another tradition on Ny-Alesund is the Sunday evening swim. After the swim, which is more like a dip, you run to the car and drive to the preheated sauna to enjoy a beer. As I am only here one Sunday, I did not have another choice, I had to participate. It was not as cold as I expected it to be, I could still feel my toes. Tonight I went to a lecture about the history (1916-2014) of Kings Bay, the state owned company which coordinates activities at Ny-Alesund, by Rolf Hanoa, professor at the University of Bergen. He will write a book about the history of Kings Bay for its hundred anniversary in 2016.
Tomorrow will be by last day in Ny-Alesund. On Thursday I will fly back to Oslo to spend another five days there. In Oslo I will try to arrange interviews with WWF Arctic Programme, the Department of Polar Affairs, the Norwegian Institute for Air Research and the Northern Research Institute. Other reasons to look forward to go to Oslo are to enjoy the real summer and the urban setting. It seems like my unique Arctic adventure is reaching its end, but I enjoyed every bit of it. 

1 opmerking:

  1. Erg leuk om je blogs te lezen! Voor een deel ook heel herkenbaar omdat ik zelf net terug ben van een reis op de M/S Expedition. Neem gerust contact op als je nog toeristen wilt interviewen. Veel succes met het onderzoek!