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NASA AMASE 2008: Day 2: home wet from the wet glacier and the all night Troll Patrol returns

Status Report From: AMASE 2008
Posted: Monday, August 11, 2008

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August 5, 2008 / Written by: Jason Feldman

We waited up late through Tuesday night for the teams in the field..the snow and a bitter cold wind from the North, bringing cold air from its journey blowing over the polar ice cap, kept us worried and checking in via radio with them to make sure they were all right. Their reports back were all fine, but still we waited for them. The Glacier team (Jen, Liane, Claus, Henrik, Tor Bjorn, and Pablo) returned at 2 am soaking wet from head to foot. Bjarne came to pick them up in the small boat, a hard shelled zodiac, but he had a hard time bring the boat onto the beach and still keeping it aligned bow in because the heavy waves so he had to jump into the water (note all ship's always wear full dry survival suits when handling the small craft - which are all unsinkable). He was a bit surprised that it was chest deep - but he worked like hell anyway to push the boat to maintain its position while being terribly buffeted by the surf. He succeeded in getting gthe boat maneuvered so that the bow was up on the beach in position for the glacier team to climb in, they all run to the boat, throw in their backpacks, and clamber aboard. This takes a few minutes, and Bjarne had to come help them get aboard, necessitating letting go of the boat. By the time everyone was aboard the boat was parallel to the shore, on the beach, and breaking waves filled the boat with water leaving maybe afoot of freeboard - making the boat much too heavy to be put afloat again - so everyone had to climb back on the beach through the surf with the now soaked backpacks. Bjarne instructed the team to move to a better section at the next beach to try again - so they all hiked with their gear over there.where, no longer caring about getting wet as they were completely soaked, all got aboard and headed back to the ship..the small boat in motion is self bailing so they had a good ride back to the Lance. On the way back Bjarne several times exclaimed: "dette gjoer ae fan ikkje alene flere ganger" Those of us forming the welcoming committee lined up with stiff shots of Aquavit for all, which warmed them up. We stood around on deck laughing with the glacierites who were just happy to be warm and back on board.

Most of us went off to sleep, with Hans staying awake, on deck or in the bridge checking in with the Troll team via radio. At 6 am they reported they were heading back, at they arrived at 9:30 am after working hard in the cold and snow and wind - in the field all night long.

Most of us woke up nice and late Wednesday... Andrea has already accumulated many fans of his truly superb Italian Espresso, made in the ship's galley, including Marianne, a warm and delightful member of the ship's crew - with always a smile for us AMASErs. Today we have a team going out to do geology, following through on the groundwork set yesterday. Arrangement has been made by Hans for the two missing SAM boxes to be delivered to Lance here in Bockfjorden by sailboat from Longyearbyen. Lance's Chief Officer - Eilif, a marvelous and very hard working man with the greatest smile - to be depended on for anything - is part owner of the steel sailboat Libra and his partners will sail her to us to bring the critical SAM equipment to us in time for our analytical program. Eilif gave us our safety lessons in donning dry safety suits, fire response, and such on the first day. He stressed our isolation by telling us that we only have ourselves to rely on to put out fires and deal with other emergencies - that it is everybody's job. As for a doctor, Eilif informed us he would be our doctor until a helicopter arrived (weather permitting) - and that he had theoretical knowledge of this but no practice, nonetheless would be happy to try his best. The first field day was a resounding success.

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