We had some stormy days here in Ny-Ålesund- literally and figuratively. The rain last week came with some heavy wind and some challenges to conduct the fieldwork (or just to walk down to the marine lab). It became colder cover the weekend, but we kept warm partying with the locals and packing the tons of equipment an underwater-robotics course requires. The wind picked up again on Sunday and blew still strongly on Monday so the scheduled flight to bring everyone back to Longyearbyen was cancelled. While there a worst places to be stranded (I am looking at you Newark International Airport!) some people had connection flights to catch and since no plane had arrived since last Monday a bunch of people were already stranded here since last Thursday. When the wind was still blowing too strong for the plane to land on Tuesday morning, the helicopter was called in instead and people could finally be flown out. By afternoon conditions improved and the last group and a few tons (actually, in total we flew out 1550 kg) of equipment made it also back to Longyearbyen. Now there are eight Marine Night scientist left here enjoying the calm after the storm. The lights are back on in the Marine Lab, down by the harbour and on the sky. It is quite amazing to see how the light is slowly returning. Two weeks ago, when we were sampling from Helmer Hanssen at 81N we could barely make out the difference between day and night. Now the moon is out and the north lights have been dancing on the sky the past night and every day it becomes a little bit lighter around noon. Today we could almost call it “daylight”! Personally, I think this is the most beautiful time on Svalbard- when the lights comes back.
Text: Malin Daase
(update: this blog was written on the 28th, but because of a sudden rush of blog entries, the administrator decided to hold this one back until today)