August 8- The journey begins

Wow! After much anticipation, my dream is closer to becoming a reality. I arrived in Kirkenes, Norway on August 6 with Dean Stockwell, a scientist from Fairbanks, Alaska. We were greeted by Rob Rember, our co-chief scientist. Shortly after checking into the waterfront Thon Hotel, we headed to the shipyard warehouse a short distance away.

Moorings are an important part of NABOS research. They allow the scientists to position instruments in the ocean for years at a time.

I was beginning to see and hear so much of what I have researched in preparation for this 57 day ‘cruise’. We ran into Ian Waddington, the team leader for the mooring technicians. He was busy scurrying around on a forklift checking out and rearranging equipment that will be needed on the ship.  The conversation was shop talk about the ship and equipment and included words like- A frame, winches, anchors, cages, welding, mechanical spares, buoys, aft, starboard, cranes….

All of the preparation is for the arrival of the RV Akademik Tryoshnikov, a recently built Russian icebreaker, which will be our home at sea for almost two months. The Akademik Tryoshnikov arrived from Kiel, Germany this evening, August 8. We will start loading tomorrow morning with an anticipated departure later in the evening.

On another note, I was awestruck with how much Kirkenes has changed since I was last here on the Hurtigruten 35 years ago. In 1983, the Hurtigruten was a fleet of smaller boats delivering mail and cargo to coastal towns between Bergen and Kirkenes. Now the Hurtigruten is a fleet of luxurious cruise ships; and Kirkenes is bustling with tourism, hotels, restaurants, and a mall, unlike in 1983 when it was a small mining settlement with not much going on.

I invite you to follow along with this blog so we can learn more about this Arctic Adventure and what is actually going on with all the scientists, crew and other people that are involved in such a huge and exciting undertaking. And, please, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. We look forward to hearing from you!



over north pole

It took 15 hours to get from Fairbanks to Oslo, Norway. Eleven hours of flying time and 4 hours of layovers. The flight itinerary was Fairbanks-Anchorage-Reykjavik-Oslo. The flight time from Oslo to Kirkenes was just over two hours. Question: Reykjavik is the capital of what country? Is this an accurate name? What is the name of the continent to the west/northwest (mostly white) of this country?


It was so nice to be welcomed by rain and 52˚F (11˚C) weather upon my arrival in Kirkenes. Oslo was unusually hot for this time of year, hovering around 86˚F (30˚C) . Question: What does km stand for? What do we use in the United States?

elf in the window

I checked into the Thon Hotel in Kirkenes. Watershed Second Graders look closely to see if you can find my room and who was waiting for me. (Hint: one of the open windows).


The ship has arrived. One more day and I’ll be on it instead of posing from shore.

rob, ian and dean

NABOS scientists stand in the gear yard discussing plans for the expedition, “shop talk.”


The 55-day expedition requires 8 conex shipping containers full of gear.


The expedition needs buoys for deploying scientific instruments in the Arctic Ocean.


A scientist assembles a mooring buoy release. These are what hold the mooring (scientific instruments) to the bottom of the ocean. Scientists send the release a signal and the mooring with the scientific data return to the surface of the ocean to be picked up.


Scientific instruments boxed and ready to load on the ship.


This giant machine is a winch for pulling scientific moorings from the water.


NABOS scientists can be artists and story tellers too. Here they write their musings on a conex wall.


Last meals on land. The NABOS crew bonds over good food in Kirkenes.