Monday, February 12, 2007

Day 197: Karma?

It's been pretty insane around here the last few days since we got off the KV Svalbard. Part of the reason our delay was somewhat problematic was because a Polish researcher was scheduled to be in town for only one week to do some specific sampling related to our collaborative project. Due to a number of scheduling complications, it's important for me and Katrine to learn how to do his sampling for when the other's aren't around.

So after a few hours sleep, the day after the ship docked we all headed out on a zodiac to do this water and benthos (bottom-dweller) sampling.

Here's Mikko setting out the amphipod traps in Adventfjorden against a Longyearbyen background:

A view of Longyearbyen:

At one point we sort of ran aground, and Daniel had to get out and push...

Thank goodness for immersion suits! Trapper (nickname for the Polish scientist) and Mikko doing more sampling:

A very popular outfit:

And! I finally figured out a way to do little water-proof camera can make short, poor-quality videos. So here's a slightly more active, and blurry, look at us doing what we do:

From this sampling, we got a whole lot of new amphipods to look at, and we spent some time learning how to preserve the water and benthos samples that Trapper works with. Luckily for me, that procedure was actually very similar to the work I was doing in Canada, so I had a pretty good idea what was going on already. In another coincidence, I had originally met Trapper two years ago while working in the Polish station in Hornsund fjord - and my Pomona advisor had worked in his lab years previously. In yet another coincidence, a friend of mine from Pomona who had gotten a Watson about five years ago, had done a project about the geography of ice and spent some time in Svalbard, and is friends with the PhD guy I'm currently working with. Small world all around! But that's Arctic science for you. Incestuous.

In other nerdy science news, this weekend we had the semester's famous icebreaker party. The theme and dress code was "global warming". I know, I already said we were nerds. Here's me as a Laurel tree. A-haha:

I believe I'm standing with a thunder cloud. There were some phenomenal costumes: lots of cows (for methane release), a set of people dressed as flowers carrying around a huge greenhouse made of plastic wrap, a dude dressed half in shorts and half in a snowsuit, birds:

And copepods and suns and all manner of things I have poorly-focused photos of. But just for fun, here's dude who's name I'll not say rather than spell incorrectly, Pierre, and Henrik:


This weekend I also played kayak water polo, which has to be seen to be believed, and was pretty trippy from the massive heated swimming pool looking out at the snow. I'm not real keen at feeling like I'm drowning when I flip over and get stuck under water, so I don't think its the sport for me. But it was an experience.

So why karma? Some bad things recently (although I guess karma suggests I'm being hit back from something, and I'm not really sure what that would be...). I lost my wonderful scarf, which makes me really sad and cold. I also went to the doctor today and had my foot x-rayed. Long story short, its not healing. I'm going back in a cast and am not supposed to walk back and forth to the university. Or anywhere else. So I need to find people willing to drive me around, or give the taxi a lot of business. And I can't go hiking for another month. And I'm somewhat scared that my foot isn't going to heal properly at all now. Argh. I realize I may have pushed myself harder than I should have, but there was also an extent to which I didn't really have a choice. Basically I'm now hugely stressed out about the entire situation.

This stress, in turn, leads to another problem...I have torticollis (look it up, its a neck problem) which means whenever I get stressed, I'm basically in quite a lot of pain. If I'm grumpy or slow to respond, its not because I don't like you.

Hanyway, here's some photos I took going home today...

It's getting incredibly light out, and the sun's not even over the horizon. It feels so bright. Glaciers behind Longyearbyen:

Old coal mining center:


Old coal transport system:

Where I buy basically everything:

Mountains on the western edge of town:

Longyearbyen School:

More coal transport:



Old coal mine on the mountain behind my barrack:

Be well.


Anonymous said...

Watson five years ago? I'm not that old. 2003-04. Three Watson years ago.

And fine. An icebreaker party is one thing. But ask Henkka about the rotten shark party. That was the classic one in my mind. But in general, the students know how to have a good time...

I'm sorry to hear about the foot. You should take up my earlier suggestion and buy a share in a snowmobile for a few weeks.

Anonymous said...

No, you should take MY suggestion and TOUGH IT OUT, MCFADDEN.

You are representing California -- do not wimp out on us now.

Matt K