Sunday, 29 May 2016

Tips for Living in Svalbard: Part Two

15. You get static shocks everywhere here! be warned.

16. Do lots of little food shops instead of one big one. You will walk past the shop everyday on the way to UNIS, so do shops on your way home. It's a lot easier to carry home if you do it that way.

17. Snowmobile-wise. Lots of people have brought them so they can go out further to hike/ski but its personal preference. I haven't brought one myself but a lot of people have. It really depends if you like hiking and skiing and want to travel far out of town with friends. (Snowmobiles do tend to break easily as well so be warned, don't cheap out too much if you plan on buying one and if you do it could break down anyway as the conditions here are harsh)

18. If you want to go out on hikes and/or ski or snowboard make sure you get a bag big enough to fit things in, and that has areas for you to attach skis/helmets/snowboards/shovels etc. It makes life so much easier.

19. Sunglasses are a good call for when the midnight sun starts as you will get snowblindness for a month before the snow starts melting

20. If you are planning things like snowmobiling and husky rides, do them while there is still snow. Don't leave it too late and lose all the snow :(

21. Boat trips start in March time but it might be better to wait with them to make sure you can dock, if there is is sea ice you can't dock.

22. Midnight sun is a lot harder to deal with than the constant night time. You might want to invest in eye mask or consider covering your window when this happens to help you sleep.

23. Its only dark here for the first two months really, So if there is aurora go get pictures, once the sun starts coming back you lose all chance of seeing it again, (the twilight ends up lasting later and later into the night until its too bright to see aurora and it happens so slowly you think you'll get to see one more before its too bright and that rarely happens)

24.  If you're on the geophysics course we do one report and one exam for each module The reports are pass/fail and you need to pass to do the exams.

25. You can borrow equipment (and a rifle) from UNIS, but you might not always get the things you ask for as lots of people ask. But its good to use if you want things like for hikes/ice cave walking/ skiing. (also not all the stuff is in good shape, so if you want to be skiing a lot I would suggest bringing them with you)

26. It's better to be over prepared than under prepared

27. There are a tonne of national holidays here, and when they are going on the shops shut, so be aware of when the shops are open and closed so you can have enough food until they open again

28. There are very occasionally blackouts here as the power plant is the only electricity source. We had maybe 3/4 while we were here and they were mostly fixed within a few hours.

29. In terms of finding aurora, the magnetometer is a good indicator, and you can also go on the KHO site and find the allsky camera, (I think they also have it as a phone app) to help you see if there is aurora, although it looks brighter on there due to the time exposure.

30. Lastly, you're only likely to be here once in your life (unless you're really lucky), do all the things you want to do so you don't have any regrets :)


Sushi and Goodbye

A Brit, eating Japanese cuisine, on an archipelago owned partly by Russia, Norway, and Poland. That's multiculturalism!   

Finally I was able to eat at the sushi bar! It was delicious. In the picture above you can see me eagerly (I know, I don't look it) preparing my chopsticks for for the salmon salad. I also ordered the plum wine, which was gorgeous, and I plan on finding it when I'm back in the UK.

Although the food was delicious it was quite expensive, made for a nice farewell meal.

Welp, here it is. My room has been cleared and extra food given away. I'm now just sitting here waiting for the bus to the airport. 

It has been an incredible 5 months and I'm sure I will rub this adventure in the faces of many who I deem less travelled (mwahahaha!)  More emotionally, it will be weird being home, with things growing and the sun setting.
I'll see you when I'm home,

The view from my window

P.S There will probably be two more updates 

If you've stayed this long, I reward you with a shaky video of a walk to the shops in Svalbard.
The music is kinda depressing, so this is a mute warning!

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Revision, Bill Bailey, and the Winter Games!

The Wall of Revision, a sight to behold. Truly, the bane to all the students we shared our kitchen with.

Let's start with the fun stuff! We saw Bill Bailey and he was fantastic. The most northern comedy gig, we had a lot of surprises. having front row seats was both a blessing and a curse (a blessing for me, a curse for Miriam and Lloyd!)

During the revision period we had the Svalbard winter Olympics, which was a good break from revision. In other words, I watched out of my kitchen window instead of focussing on the work that needed to be done! It was a fun event where some students participated. I hope in future years they move it forward so it doesn't clash with exam time... (and also so there's still plenty of snow left.)

Bum sled race

Main sled Race

We also had the opportunity to be in Norway during the Norwegian Constitution Day. This happy occasion was kinda lost on us as it was the day before our final exam :(

But here's a picture of lots of happy people celebrating the day 

Exams are done now though, and that means we're free.

Until next time,


Carrying shopping in the Arctic is hot work, so do it in a t-shirt!

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Headlining all over the world!

Recently we made the front page of our uni's physics magazine. Read through it, I have my own section. Not only that we are getting international  recognition. So much of the footage hasn't been included, all the fun parts!!! So hopefully the spare recordings will be made available.

Pictures can be found here

Until next time,


Tuesday, 26 April 2016

My Trip To Pyramiden

"You tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try" - Homer Simpson

I might be starting off on a bum note, but this is the closest we got to docking. However, the trip there was a lot of fun and incredibly beautiful. We got to see glaciers and wildlife; and I did get to see Pyramiden just not a whole visit. 

Below is a choppy video of some of the footage I got on the trip.
Look at that handsome devil!

We had the chance to see some pretty cool things on the trip there. By cool I mean freezing, this is a glacier. The blue colour is a result of how dense the ice is, stupid ice.

We got close to Pyramiden, but the sea ice that formed was too thick so we couldn't get through to dock. I did get some pictures of the deserted mining town though.

On the way home we got a mini tour

To top it all off we got to see a family of walruses and hangover walrus!

It was a fun trip even if we didn't get to visit the place we set out for. The sites were still astonishing, so much so even the dog had to look.

Until next time,



Thursday, 21 April 2016

It's light work up here

These two videos are part of my work up here in Svalbard. I have taken the all sky camera data and turned them into animations. (The top one can be played in HD *hint hint*)

The project is to discuss the optical instruments at the KHO and explain there uses in general and then more specifically for what I'm looking at. I can use data from other sources, like the magnetometer and ACE. (This post was written on the 25th of March I just had to delay it so I could submit my work)

Also I have just been offered my PhD at Warwick so I'm a very happy bunny, which is extra special cause Easter is just around the corner.

Demonstration of two happy bunnies!

Until next time,


Saturday, 9 April 2016

It's downhill from here

So the Easter break has been and gone. We no longer get darkness. Revision is beginning for the last exams of my university life. So what's the best way to get my work done? A blog post filled with procrastination of course!

Here's a video of what we got up to over the Easter. (Full screen for best effect)

I actually started getting the hang of it, albeit on a snowboard that was too small for me.

The sun being up constantly has started to affect me, I can no longer judge when I should be eating and my sleep cycle is whacky. Hopefully with some training and a routine I might get the hang of it though.

Until next time, 

(P.S. Cute pictures of a fluff ball)