Monday, June 8, 2015

6/8: Wrapping up, packing up, and hopping the next fishing boat south...

The first question asked by a good friend and former colleague, John Hagerstrom of CVA, when I told him I would be heading up to Svalbard for 6 weeks in July of 2012 was 
"Why the heck would you want to do that?"

Having worked many summers in the Arctic since 2002, the question happens again and again, but always from Mainers (and maybe a couple of times from my Nebraskan inlaws). Maybe it's just that they're so happy it is finally spring and the mud has dried up, the daffodils are blooming and they've finally got their hands into the dirt and cow manure but I do certainly have to wonder where their memory is if they have no qualms with 6 months of the picture below, but shiver violently at the thought of 2 weeks in the one above...

My driveway this February
It is our last day here on Ingoya and the last bits of science have been wrapped up with a quick trip here and a small water sample there. Erlend will be picking us up at 0-dark-thiry tomorrow morning (if there was such a thing this time of the year) so we can make the trip across the sea to Havoysund where we will be catching the M/S Finnmarken Hurtigruten and setting sail for Tromso. Please do at some point check out the official Hurtigruten website with the link below:

The site has all of the ships' biographies/fast facts, interactive maps with them buzzing about the Norwegian coast, and everything you need to plan your next Scandinavian adventure (try a Kwikk Lunsch!). We should arrive in Tromso at approximately 11:30 pm Tuesday night and then if all goes well I will be on a plane for Oslo at 8:30 Wednesday morning. Good ole' Newark next, then D.C., then Portland...don't ask why I am going to the capitol first...on to business. 

Packing up camp is always bittersweet as it is nice to see how lush Maine is in June but also there bits of Norway that will be missed, like how walking by these sights are commonplace here at the Sjøhus:
Not even sure what to call this...but a fish and a baseball cap are involved. 

Salmon being smoked as pass by toward the stairs
But there will always be more stories to tell: Like how we got interviewed by Norwegian Public Broadcasting and photographed by a drone. I guess I forgot to mention this earlier; it all happened very quickly (and randomly) in about a 30 minutes from meeting our journalist friend (who happened to be driving by and has a weekend house here on the island). 

Allan K. sets out his drone...we run for cover. 
"And this is my neighbor's Malta berry patch..."
Or how you can even take culinary lessons on the Hurtigruten while steaming down coast: 

If you read closely, you'll see the product can be vacuumed on board!
I think these are the on board chefs...
...or maybe the captains or "Norway's Most Eligible Fisherman" calendar of 2015. 
...Or how the first morning in Tromso, I knocked on Al's hotel door to go down to breakfast and mistook him for a middle-aged Norwegian woman. My apologies to all middle-aged Norwegian women. 
After: Hey, its Dr. Wanamaker!

Alas, all good things must come to an end and I've got my lovely wife, 3 dogs, and 5 classes of students to see back home. It has been real Ingoya, I got to hike your tallest peak today (and I will post video if editing time allows), and thanks to all the readers who have put up with my stream of consciousness blog reporting as it is the only way to conserve at least 5 hours of sleep and be useful for more than my witty cyber reporting (strong like bull, smart like tractor).

In the words of Erlend, "We try!" and now, we go...

Video Edit Finished...Last Day's Hike up Tallest Peak on Ingoya

See full resolution version at the link: YouTube!

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