Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Reports on Board, posted this morning

(It appears that the ship was able to dock in Ny Alesund after all. They haven't had any satellite capabilities. Here is Donna's report...)Also, the WebCam is now working.

Day 7 Magdalena Fjord/Ny Alesund
Weather was overcast for the most part, and cold – high 3 C. Early AM we entered Magdalena Fjord, sailed in about 6 miles and the Captain rotated the ship a full 360 at the end of fjord so that everyone had a view of the glaciers and mountains, then we exited and entered the Kongsfjorden and berthed at the research station at Ny Alesund. Ny Alesund is the northernmost functional public settlement in the world. The village boasts a small museum/information center with displays about the work done at the station, a gift shop that did a brisk business during our stay, a post office that also was heavily used, and a café that seemed closed and a hotel, as well as homes and buildings related to the current mission of research on climate and atmosphere and the new Arctic Marine Laboratory opened in 2005, and older structures, some no longer in use, related to the coal mining operations that were the principal historic activity in this area. There are a few interpretive markers around on the loop trail through the settlement and a some relics such as the small train used in the coal mining operations. Research activities are conducted by teams from Norway, the Netherlands, Germany, the UK, France, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, and the People’s Republic of China (their building has two large concrete Foo Dogs guarding the door). The permanent population is around 35 people, with another 120 researchers, technicians and field assistants in residence in the summer.

In spite of the warnings, we didn’t see any polar bears, but did see a lone reindeer, a lot of artic terns, and the local dog sled dogs. There was still a lot of snow on the ground, the lake, which is used by migrating birds was still mostly frozen over, and there were several visible glaciers in the fjord in which we were docked.

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