Hello ski team!
Life here in Svalbard has been pretty amazing! I can't believe that I've been here for over 2 months! When I first arrived we had 24 hours of sunlight and no snow in sight, except for the two glaciers right behind the barracks where we live. By the end of August the sun set for the first time, and now we've lost 20 minutes of sunlight every day, so the sun will rise for the last time at the end of the week! Then we have a short twilight period before the dark season truly starts! AHHHH!!
But dark season has it advantages: it is getting colder, so there is snow and plenty of skiing opportunities! It snowed for the first time in August and I was on skis a few times throughout September. Hiking up to the glacier to ski can be an adventure, because even if there is no snow in town it can be a white out up there, and me and friend got a little lost a few times.
On Friday there was finally enough snow in town for me to ski to school for the first time which really speeds up the usual 30 minute walking commute! I managed to ski to school twice this week, but now it has heated up to a balmy 0 degrees Celsius and is raining, so no skiing for a little while!
And darkness also means we can finally see the Northern Lights! They were particularly beautiful this weekend – I’ve attached a sweet picture my friend Sam took sitting on the roof of our barrack.
But I promise I do do things other than go hiking and skiing and watch the Northern Lights. I'm taking 2 arctic geology courses for my EOS major at Bowdoin. One focuses on quaternary glacial geology of Svalbard and the other on marine geology. We did some awesome field work for both classes. On our first field trip we camped out in front of a glacier and I saw my first polar bear!! It was hanging out on an island in the fjord, but luckily never got too close. But they've been having problems with polar bears coming into to town, and just the other day they had to tranquilize a bear that wouldn't leave and fly him to another island! Other than my one polar bear, I've also seen many seals, walruses, and tons of reindeer. So that's pretty nifty. For marine geology we went on a weeklong cruise where we circumnavigated Spitsbergen, the biggest island in Svalbard (and where I had the adventure of trying to train in the tiny weight room rocking back and forth at the bottom of the boat).
I hope that life back at Bowdoin is splendid and fall training is off to a great start! I miss you guys so keep in touch! Can't wait to see you all again (or for the first time in the case of some of the freshmen...) in January!!