The Arctic…first impressions

First thought that came to my mind after landing on Ny-Ålesund was “Such place could not exist”. Somehow it reminded me of the desert; just the color and the temperature were different. The clear air and the big size of the mountains around make it difficult for non-professional to judge the distance between objects.  For example, it appeared for me that Conwaybreen glacier is no more than 3 km away, but it turned out to be about 13 km actually.

A shooting course is necessary for each newcomer to Ny-Ålesund. It includes polar bear behavior, shooting with a signal pistol, and shooting with a rifle from different positions.

Another unusual feeling was to locate the Polar star almost on top of my head. When the weather is calm, the silence is disturbed once in a while, by the distant thunder from the calving ice.

The inhabitants of Ny-Ålesund are ready to welcome everyone arrived in the station. It is amazing how they perform their duties, and have fun at the same time. This picture (Photo by Goulven Largouёt) shows testing on survival suits, obligatory for all boat passengers. It was conducted in front of the Marine lab. Since voluntaries were needed, Ireen and I (the only people working in the lab these days) joined for the cause of safety.

Walking to the cabins around guarantees unforgettable experience! We went to “Corbel” – a French station which is 5 km east. The hosts welcomed us with a French wine and real Fondue. The hours spent in their barrack will remain forever into my heart! It is incredible how such a warm atmosphere could be generated by international community in the middle of the Arctic.

All these feelings and impressions created a magnificent image of the Arctic environment in me. Image, which would never fade away and would keep me willing to return to Ny-Ålesund.

Jordan Nechev, Ny-Ålesund, 20.10.2012


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