Mining companies have commandeered all the helicopters in Greenland. I guess it’s like this every year. Scientists come to town with important schedules all drawn up with detailed plans, and every year weather and mining companies take priority for the helicopter companies. I guess we don’t quite have the same budget or significance. After verifying that my shipment made it here and making some last minute purchases, we’ve mostly had slow days coming up with things to do.
We are staying at the Kangerlussuaq International Science Support (KISS), which despite its acronym is not a quaint romantic getaway or a rock band training camp. It’s actually full of scientists from all over the world, and everyone is on their own Greenlandic adventure. Men and women (OK mostly men) standing around trying to brag about “heading up to the ice sheet,” or “we just need deliver a Ski Doo to our team at South Station.” If these guys are like me, they’ve just spent months trying to brag about going to Greenland to do important climate change research, and it’s hard to realize that there are other bearded outdoorsy science dudes living the same dream. Fortunately for me, we have a probable helicopter tomorrow and so this is likely my last night here.
A few days ago, we hiked to our field site. It’s a not too far from town, about an hours drive and then 6 miles of hiking. The weather has been around freezing so the hiking was very nice and the dry air makes it feel like a spring day skiing in Colorado. The reason for the trip was to check on equipment that had spent the winter under a tarp at Base Camp after being abandoned by the group from the University of Bristol. The equipment was fine though the tarps were badly frayed from the wind. Attached are some pictures from the hike.
Our team consists of three British people, one Polish guy who works in England and me. Wait, I’m sorry- our team consists of two Brits, a Scott, a Polish guy and a Minnesotan. The team is awesome. These guys (and girl) are seriously outdoorsy. Without exception, all are rock climbers and two are ice climbers. I genuinely had to jog to keep up with everyone when we hiked to our field site. I thought I was a decent hiker but these people can hike very fast even through the snow. Today we set up our river crossing, which consists of several climbing ropes, some pulleys and a little boat. As an Eagle Scout I feel like I’m pretty good at knots but these people put me to shame and sadly made me feel like I never was a climber.
It’s been hilarious trying to understand the different accents. Currently, I’m at 75% comprehension with an error of 25% depending on whose talking. More than a few jokes have been said at my expense and have gone completely over my head. I’m missing complete conversations because I don’t get the euphemisms or am slow to put together the different metaphors used. I feel like I’m a trying to understand a foreign language I’m bad at. These are my people though. When the big royal wedding happened last week, they could not have cared less and asking questions regarding it seemed to embarrass them.
Tomorrow we are hopefully heading to the field and updates to this blog will likely be a weekly event. I apologize for the sort of scattered update. The past few days have been quite full with little time to write!