Thursday, June 22, 2006


Welllll things are a little complicated right now. I have a few decently good ideas about where I will be going and when, but some of my Canada plans just fell through and I need to find something else pretty soon.

I was going to be traveling on an icebreaker (the Amundsen) doing research in the Canadian Arctic, starting August 18th out of Quebec. I was officially invited to join an expedition on said icebreaker from September 28th to October 16th out of Kugluktuk. Turns out that while I will definitely be on the ship starting in September, there's apparently no room during the first leg of the trip for me to come along. This is a bummer, not only because being on the icebreaker for the first few months would be fantastic, but also because it means I'm suddenly needing to find something to do - and somewhere to go - in Canada for the first two months. And since I have to be gone by August, that's really pretty soon.

I still have a few leads - the ship may find room, I may be able to work in a lab somewhere in Canada - or I may be in touch with some brand-new contacts and who knows what willl happen! I'm trying to avoid just sort of showing up somewhere...but if I must that'd certainly be an interesting experience.

Moving on! The next stop after that will most likely be a little place called Ittoqqortoormiit in eastern Greenland, starting mid-October. To my current knowledge, I will be teaching English in the local school there. Really a stroke of luck - the regular teacher is going home to Denmark for the exact time period that I was planning to be in Greenland. I am very excited about this opportunity, but hope it all works out...the plans are a little hazy at the moment.

Interesting fact about Ittoqqortoormiit: seems almost impossible to actually get to. There are no flights from Canada or the USA to Greenland - none whatsoever, ever. So I'll fly from Quebec to Iceland, then to southern Greenland, from where I will have to take a helicopter or some kind of chartered flight out to Ittoqqortoormiit.

After Greendland: Norway! Starting in January 2007 I will be staying in Longyearbyen on Svalbard, which is an archipelago north of mainland Norway. Longyearbyen was the city base of the research I did last summer on the little auks. In Longyearbyen I will be working with the local Arctic university doing some biology work.

Finally I will be getting into Russia, most likely starting in May. I really am not sure where I'm going in Russia yet - it's a bit of a problem that I don't speak Russian, especially in northern Siberia. We'll see.

So there's a basic idea of whats going to happen. Unless I pull together something really fast for Canada, then I will probably be leaving at the tail-end of July. I'm also in the middle of getting together my gear. I just got my jacket last week, now I'm looking for a backpack and some other specialized clothing. Almost none of which can be found in southern California, in the middle of the summer.


Anonymous said...

Dear Laurel,
I regularly receive information from NSF (Nat'l. Science Foundation), NOAA and NMEA (Nat'l. Marine Educators Assoc.) about opportunities that may assist you with your itinerary. I'll read the data more carefully and pass on anything that seems relevent or potentially beneficial to your goals of staying in the polar regions. Also, Marisa wants you to know that you can stay over in Iceland with she and Jon if you need to or would like to. Uncle Jim and I are sending you a gift certificate to a place that carries polar wear as a little token of our affection. Marisa has faced the same problem in her preparations to move to Iceland--finding appropriate outdoor clothing.
Love, Aunt Marilyn

liylak said...

Yo. Wench button. Why did I have to troll facebook to find this!? Why haven't you mass emailed the url? I am excited to keep up with you.

Caroline said...

hey darling-- i'm excited to follow along on your journey to the great white north. thinking of you-- caroline

Anonymous said...

hi laurel! thanks for sending me your blog link. your project idea sounds so awesome and incredible! and i can't wait to see/hear more! i hope your schedule works out and that you'll be able to leave before august.

Sharon said...

Hi Laurel! I'm so glad to see that you have a blog! We've never really had a chance to keep in touch outside of the family events once or twice a year, so hopefully with Blogger we can stay in contact. Anyway, it sounds like you have some absolutely incredible opportunities coming your way! I hope that everything goes well and that you have a wonderful time!
Your cousin Sharon