Polish polar expedition


At the entrance of this fjord is a research station, we can clearly spot their houses and tools. By now it must be past 10pm but we saw still some people outside which motivates us to go for a visit. This time it’s just Katarina, Ingvild and me. 

The doors are opened by a friendly man, the expedition leader and he invites us to come in. Inside are around 30 polish researchers enjoying their Saturday night. 

This crew came two weeks ago and half of them will stay over the summer and the other half for one year. Supplies come from from Poland just twice a year with the exchange of crew. That is different to the monthly supply of the Norwegian weather station on Bjørnøya. 

A geophysicist shows us around. She takes care about the activities and measurements regarding earth quakes. Through the window she shows me, were the seismograph is implemented. In her lab she can see earthquakes/ movements even from Afghanistan. 

She had one abnormality on her charts today, a movement in a long distance but she couldn’t yet find out were it might have been, or she can’t tell me. She even sees in her lab the ice bits from the glacier that crush down. 

The other girl that is showing us around observes the changes of sweet and salt water. In sweet water the plankton is smaller and the density of nutritions is missing. It therefore is not suitable as food for the birds that populate the island. In short, the melting glaciers are endangering the birds. 

The glacier melts in summer around 50cm a day due to global warming. In winter it stops but doesn’t build back anymore. They showed us a picture of the retraction of the glacier over the past starting in 1899 when the complete bay was still covered. 

We didn’t bring a gun as we thought the station is directly on shore anyway, but this is just where two weeks ago a polar bear had a stroll. So we get armed guidance back to the dinghy. We don’t meet a polar bear but can spot a reindeer grazing on the way. As its a national park they must not be hunted, so they aren’t afraid of coming close to the expedition center. 

Two days ago the wind is said to have pushed the ice on shore that it would not have been possible to come on land with a dinghy. Lucky us. 

We also didn’t bring the pump and our dinghy has lost a visual amount of air. We will make it to the boat, just no one should sit on the rubber part. 

I try to spot hazards in the water, which isn’t easy at all. We set on a stone bank. The stones looked the same like the clouds above us. Just in the moment they were underneath us I could spot them. Luckily they weren’t rough at all, smoothly washed and with a green soft surface. 

Back on board the others are watching a documentary about an polar expedition on the Canadian part of the Arctic. I am super tiered and go to bed soon. 

Fredrik will move the boat later to a safer anchorage. An iceberg floating against the anchor could easily lift it. 

Here a video, trying to catch that sound of sizzling ice:

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