zaterdag 13 september 2014

How to survive: "an Arctic weekend"

A few days ago, the experiment of one of the German Phd-students was ended. She conducted experiments with spider crabs from the fjord, and it was time to release them. Great excuse for a crab race! In the afternoon, a large group of scientists and Kingsbay people gathered at the pier in the harbour. Wine, beers and lollypops (yes, you read it right) were provided and everyone chose his/hers favourite crab, named it, and lined it up at the start line. I regret to inform you that Angela Merkel lost the race, she had a great start, but slowly crawled back towards the start line… Django won the race, the little crustacean was by far the fastest. And now, all the crabs are happily released in the fjord again.
The crab race, many tears were shed during this afternoon ©Ariadna Szczybelski

So in between work, we do have a lot of fun, with other stations as well. And that’s not a coincidence, most of the work we conduct is in cooperation with other nationalities. Call it a benefit of working in a small village with inhabitants out of 25 different nations.

The crab race was during dry weather, this story however, is about: “how to survive bad weather or free time”. In case of bad weather it is always possible to work indoors, finish that one paper or analyse data. And when that's finished, there are plenty of activities Ny-Ålesund has to offer.

Quite often a movie night is organised, the AWIPEV station is used a lot for this purpose since it houses a beamer and large screen. Do keep in mind that the movies shown are not always worth a try, Harold and Maude (1972) and episodes of Shaun the sheep have a lot of fans here up North, I think I’m in danger while writing this. Anyhow, it is always a lot of fun to do something with others to spend free time.

Several huts in and around Kongsfjorden © Ben Frederiks
In the weekends old hunter huts can be visited, you can spent the night for the weekend and make hikes to other areas around the fjord. These huts are often reserved by people who want to escape the chaos of the weekend (especially during summer, when the amount of landing tourists can count up to 3000). Luckily, there are a lot of huts and cabins placed in  the area and it is a great experience to visit another place in the fjord sometimes.

For the one person who’s more into physical activities, there are plenty of mountains and glaciers to conquer and trails to walk and it is always possible to visit the local gym, a large hall with basketball field and gym machines. The same building houses a huge collection of DVD’s and a sauna, pretty neat combination… For the hard core movie fan who’s seen it all, there is always Netflix. So there is not a chance that you’ll be found doing nothing in this small northern village.

Why this topic? Well, Ny-Ålesund is this weekend the epicentre of bad weather, at the moment hard gusts make the houses tremble on their foundations and it’s raining cats and dogs. On Sunday it is expected to snow again big time. Thus, work on the Teisten is not an option, and we’re perfectly on schedule with the lab-work. There’s only one thing we can say for now: Have a great weekend!

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