We, half of the crew including me, arrived Saturday at our first research station - Longyearbyen, Svalbard - by commercial flights. If things had gone as planned I would not be writing a
blog entry right now but be sitting on Polar 6 operating instruments on our second research flight. Instead,
I am waiting here in Longyearbyen for our research planes to arrive and it seems that we are really unlucky with the weather this time. Stormy weather across northern Europe keeps both planes delayed.
The Polar 6 has not yet managed to leave Bremerhaven, while Polar 5 is stuck in Tromsø hoping for the weather to calm down around Longyearbyen. While the weather was still nice yesterday we took the chance to drive around the area and do a little sightseeing – as much as we could without having a gun to protect us from polar bears and without most of our polar clothes that are packed on the research aircrafts.
I was surprised to learn that Longyearbyen is quite a touristy place with bars and shops around
and visitors from all over the world. The Arctic scenery is impressive: shining white mountains and even some wildlife once in a while.
However, already towards the evening the weather started to change and overnight I was startled awake a couple of times believing our container hotel gets blown away the next moment…
Today the weather is even worse and walking a few meters from the car to the next door is highly unpleasant. So we spent the day in our office at the airport waiting for weather updates and figuring out alternative plans for the upcoming days.
-Julia Burkart, NETCARE Post-Doctoral Fellow