AMASE 2007: Goodbye for 2007
We are back in Longyearbyen and AMASE 07 has come to a close. The city is gray and filled with concrete and cars. The sun dipped below the horizon for the first time yesterday.
We sailed back from Ebbadalen this morning and arrived in Longyearbyen shortly before noon. The previous night had been quite late and it showed in everyone’s eyes. We packed frantically, first emptying our cabins of personal gear and then deconstructing the labs. It was clear we had learned from last year and packing was amazingly smooth. On the SAM side, it helped that we had brought numerous consumables that now left more space in our boxes. We sorted supplies leaving some things, such as helium tanks, in cold storage for next year. After two years, we now have accumulated enough goods here that future activities will be easier. I cannot express the unnecessary trouble it can be to get pressurized helium tanks ship to far off locations….
The Lance was unloaded by 1pm and we kept a taxi circling until all people and personal gear had been hauled up to the Guesthouse. Once let into our rooms, I enjoyed a several hour nap.
I looked around during dinner, not realizing that this group of people I had become so accustomed to would be disappearing from my life in a few hours. I remember feeling very sad last year during our last night together. I had wanted to talk and laugh and share memories with everyone, almost frantically, knowing that I wouldn’t be in this beautiful place much longer. This year I feel much more at peace with the end of our trip, knowing that it is not the end of my time in Norway and that I will return to Svalbard.
Almost everyone hung out at the Radisson bar until the wee hours of the morning. Slowly people trickled up to the Guesthouse to take a short nap before leaving on the 5am flight. I hung out until the last eight of us finally decided to call it quits and returned to the Guesthouse in time to begin piling luggage into airport taxis. I am one of the few not returning to Oslo on the 5am flight so I said my goodbyes and went to bed. It was strange returning to an empty room after sharing a tiny cabin and being in the constant presence of people for the last three weeks.
I am sad that this year’s trip is ended, but I feel that my adventure is Norway is just beginning. On the last taxi ride up to the Guesthouse, the morning light was dull on the brown mountains around Longyearbyen. The glacier up the valley sat covered in clouds. I realized there is nothing more to say. I am unspeakably happy that I will be staying in Norway this year.
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center