Thursday, 22 May 2014

One last blog from Luci...

So it has been a while since my last entry and the time has really flown by, I am now on my last 5 days up here... which is very sad!!! However, in that time since my last post (a while ago) I have manage to get a lot of things done. I had my first exam way back in April - which was actually my final exam but just really early which has left time for field work and reports and lab! I think that went well but I wont get my results until mid June. Over Easter I went on an epic snowmobile trip with Ribanna and a few other friends - unfortunately my snowmobile chose that moment to break down - literally at the furthest point from Longyearbyen it could. Even though that happened we still made it to stay overnight in a little cabin where Ribanna and I had to share a sleeping bag/mat for about 2 hours sleep (as she didn't bring on ...numpty) - well obviously I ended up sleeping on some card board and next to a wall and absolutely freezing whilst she was warm and comfy (fig 1)!! It was also on that trip I got to see Pyramiden the Russian ghost town which was awesome to go around and very surreal. Also constantly the most amazing views of mountains and Glaciers! Just INCREDIBLE (fig 2 and 3)!!!
Fig 1 - Ribanna steals all the comfyness
Figure 2 - Enjoying it all with a cuppa tea and biscuit!

Fig 3 - Amazing Views and snowmobile party!
 I have also made it to Barentsburg with one of the biology courses where we spoke to the Russian consulate there about the management and the towns future. Also with the Populations course we went to Kapp Linne to observe the interactions between Common Eider ducks (fig 4) and Glaucous Gulls (kleptoparasitism) along with Reindeer transects to estimate the population in the area! Also we got the opportunity to see some Walruses again (fig 5 and 6)!!
Figure 4 - Observing Eider group photo
Figure 5 - Luci and the Walrus
Figure 6 - Sleepy WALRUS 
The last weekend was the weekend of the 17th - which is the Norwegian national day so there was a parade in town and lots going on in the main town hall for the children and everyone else. We had a champagne breakfast and as the day was beautiful and sunny a group of us sat out on the barrack roof with a few beers just enjoying life with friends and being in such a stunning place. The next day I made my final snowmobile trip (as it is all now melting here) and I made it to the east coast - which in itself is just amazing. What made it the perfect last (relaxed) weekend was that after almost 9 months in the land of the polar bear I eventually was privaliged e to see the beast - it is real (fig 7 & 8)!!!
Fig 7 - The Mythical beast!

Fig 8 - Polar bear in the Arctic!

So I am very happy about my last real weekend here and feel I have made the most of this opportunity this year! As for now it is all revision for the final exam next Monday followed my a swift packing as I then leave on the Tuesday! It is absolutely mad how fast time has flown this year - and I cannot explain to anyone really what its been like here, other than to other people who have spent any amount of time here! All I can say is that if you are given the opportunity to visit - jump on it, this place is truly incredible.
I am going to be very sad to be leaving here it has been one hell of an experience and I have loved every minute, made some life long friends, seen amazing sites and done it as part of a degree (how lucky am I?)! Goodbye on Tuesday is not going to be fun but I have an exciting summer to look forward to and I am also looking forward to seeing all the people at SAMS in September again! 

This is obviously my last blog - but for those who are planning to go to the Arctic next year I hope it has been a little inspirational and enjoyable! Any questions at all just either Facebook me or email me on if you want to know anything about what to take etc! Big thanks to all those at SAMS involved in getting us here and the support with funding - I can not thank you guys enough!
I hope everyone has amazing summers wherever you are in the world - see you in September :D

Lucianne Marshall

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