Friday, August 18, 2017

8/18/2017: Begin the sea-leg of the journey

This summer marks 15 years since I first stepped into the Canadian Arctic as a 19 year old Geology student and much has changed since then. In 2002, I bought a disposal camera at the insistence of my family (capturing 6 pictures of frozen lakes, 2 of where we stayed, and 1 of me with an awful goatee). Now, I am struggling to keep 3 social media platforms (blog, twitter, and Instagram, oh my…) current as chief digital science outreach officer (the CDSOO). For this field season, much of my focus will be on documenting the travel and science through Instagram ( while posting the occasional tweet and long-form blog entry on here. Outside of that I will be spending a great deal of time 1. Lugging heavy objects, 2. Hopefully procuring dinner on the Barents Sea, and 3. Designing curriculum with media-based components in the field so not as much focus of the 2017 season will be on the written word. That being said, here is a brief summary and some non-overlapping pictures of the journey so far:

2017 Field Season Goal = To retrieve sediment cores from a local lake on the island of Ingoya, where previous blog entries are nearly all based.  

We hope that the cores we retrieve will extend the better part of 10,000 years in age but there are significant challenges along the way including: a new coring system we have devised, a formally impenetrable sand layer we hope to bust through, no undergraduates with us to blame if things go wrong…really, a long list but by no means impossible. The crew for this season is small but experienced, consisting of Mike Retelle (Prof. at Bates College) and Madelyn Mette (finishing up her PhD in Iowa on Sclerochronology with much of her work done on Ingoya). 
With the sediment cores, we hope that a detailed sea level history can be reconstructed for the area with highly accurate dating. Then, the larger story of Ingoya (clams and all, see past years) will be all the richer and scientifically valuable. Below is a series of images detailing some of the features of the ‘isolation basin’ lake that we aim to core…and please forgive my handwriting as this was created on the flight from Oslo to Tromso this year:

Finally, travel has been excellent this year and Tromso is always a treat to see on the way to even further north in the Arctic. Unfortunately, it still does not get dark enough to see the Northern Lights but this city never disappoints. We leave tonight on the Hurtigruten (where this post is being written) and the excitement of going more and more remote in the north grows by the hour. Even after 15 years, I can't help but get psyched to spend just one more field season with good people, doing good science in the Arctic. 

The island with the city of Tromso, our gateway to the north.

The iconic bridge and Church across the channel. We will be sailing under that bridge shortly tonight on our way north. 

The Thon Hotel makes an excellent breakfast

The MS Midnatsol approaches and damages my hearing (see Instagram video)

At the dock, divers are employed to clean the hull. Mike wanted to know if we saw them entering the water with a patch kit.

Cruising Twilight on the MS Midnatsol:

The same way that fish will often sit upstream of a river-rock rather than in the eddy, there is quiet spot to stand in the wind at the very front of the Hurtigruten.

A quick stop along the route...

Cabin 483 front

and back...

Passing the Kong Harald on the way to Havoysund

Much love to my wife, Belle, and son, Clark, and check out the ongoing story on Instagram, @FrostArctic, or follow the link and remember that many posts have multiple pictures per post:

Thanks for stopping by,


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