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AMASE 2007: Collecting Samples
I woke up in a panic this morning thinking I was still in DC an hour before my flight to Oslo with my bags still unpacked. Phew! I was relieved to wake up any find myself already here. Heh.

The weather here in Wahlenberg Fjord is still snowy, windy and cold. It looked like a clear beautiful day when I first woke up but now, an hour later, the clouds have moved in and I can hardly see the shore. Marilyn has asked me to go collect "green goo" samples (plants) that she spotted yesterday up a steep slope under a bird colony.

Our collection party was great company, consisting of me, Ivar, and Steve. A polar bear (the third one this year!) had been spotted on the shore earlier this morning so the collection party was kept small to increase defense against possible bears and move quickly around the steep slope. Our hike up was very slippery as snow continued to fall on the flat basalt and sandstone slope. Per Marilyn's directions, we collected plant and soil samples in a transect across the gully below the bird colony. We had taken nearly all our samples when we realized that we had misgauged which gully was actually below the birds and discovered the next gully over was even greener. We had extra samples bags and so decided to continue along the slope collecting essentially twice as many samples. After the first gully we had stopped for hot tea and lunch sandwiches. During this time the snow stopped falling and the clouds began to clear. By the time we finished collecting and started hiking down the hill, the skies cleared and we had a gorgeous view over Wahlenberg Fjord; light dancing off snow covered mountains, glaciers and all.

After we returned to the ship, the Lance pulled up anchor and sailed to the other side of the fjord. We are meeting up with a group of geologists from the Polar Institute who have been camping on the shore for the last three weeks. Hans, Steelie, Torbjørn, and Ivar went over to greet them at their camp. The sun is out and it is warm and bright enough to wear sunglasses and blog from the deck. Only my fingers are starting to get a bit numb.

The four geologists came on board for a while and got a tour of the AMASE operations on Lance. They stayed for dinner and then returned to their camp. We were pretty surprised when they declined showers and an evening in the hot tub. Their hesitation didn't stop us, however, as we crammed 21 people into our little tub and watched their little cluster of tents on shore through billows of steam.

Kirsten Fristad
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center