Another day, another sampling

Today was a rather relaxed day. And a sunny day. Very sunny indeed. Janne, Josef and Daniel went out to the field site for some light measurements at local sun-noon (which in our calculation is around 12:40 Norwegian time). While preparing for another 48h deployment of the sediment traps, we got a curious furry yellow visitor. As it was approaching in a rather good speed, there was no time to get all the gear on the sledges again, so we decided on option B: make it go away. A noisy two-stroke Viking scooter engine and two flares did the trick. Good old Vikings, one more time. Mr (or Mrs., it did not get close enough to tell the difference) Bear did not lose interest, but was obviously not very fund of these noises, disturbing the perfect silence of sunny afternoon on the ice. It decided to watch these funny creatures, that so obviously not were seals, even though they were hanging around something that looked like a gigantic seal breathing hole, from a safe distance. Pleased by this lack of interest in a closer inspection of us seal-lookalike-humans, we continued to deploy the sediment traps – this time with a radically simplified rope construction. It went well. Sort of. Minor problems, but nothing compared to our previous rope experiences.
On the way back to camp (for once we were an hour early instead of several hours late) we spotted another bear, some 2-3 km from camp.
In the meantime, the camp team had been busy with their projects. Miriam had been filtrating half of the fjord, while Malin counted countless Calanus and (in all secrecy) baked a cake for the big tomorrow (why? What for? Well, you’ll have to come back tomorrow to find out). Einar continued in his endless amazing efforts to improve the camp by fixing bits and pieces everywhere, the most remarkable one to install the old cabin oven and two benches in the scooter garage, now turning into the worlds northernmost sauna. By the end of the day, it had reached an amazing 20 C, which was only about 15 C less than in Sukkerbiten and 10 less than in Bjørnehiet. More improvements are scheduled for tomorrow. Under Einars dedicated craftsmanship, the camp is more and more turning into something that could be a permanent settlement. In CLEOPATRA III we plan to bring a dishwasher, washing machine, microwave and a shower.
A looong afternoon coffee break in our market place/parking lot was used for sun bathing and group pictures, and later on we all continued in camp – counting, filtrating, measuring, fixing, mailing, baking, you name it…
After the dinner work in the lab tent continued with filtration and counting of Calanus female eggs after the end of the incubation experiment. Soon Janne will post the first really scientific blog entry with results of the pan-Svalbardic Calanus egg production experiment, coordinated from the remote Rijpfjorden research office, thanks to our good friends at Iridium satellite communication services.
Good news: The GoPro camera functions even after taking a bath in salt water! Apparently the battery pack extension collected all the water, so the camera stayed mostly dry. It is working fine again now.
For the technology nerds: We have swapped the VHF radios for satellite phones – for some funny reason it is absolutely impossible to communicate over more than 2 km distance with VHFs here, so camp-to-field communication is done by phone. Strange to be at the end of the world and still have phones ringing and text messages coming in every now and then.
Now it is bed time. 3 more days, then we will start de-mobilisation of the camp again. Time flies…

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