Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Great to be back in Zackenberg

After a long sledge trip to the airport Nerlerit Inaat where we waited in Kap Hope under way for the snow to stop and a gorgeous evening in Hurry Inlet with huge amounts of seals enjoying the sun I finally arrived on the night to Tuesday. My colleagues were supposed to arrive from Iceland and pick me up the next day but due to an ambulance flight further north the plane was postponed till Wednesday. When it came we were first preparing to stay overnight due to fog at Zackenberg but suddenly it was decided that the plane should return and that it was probably better that we joined. The next couple of days the weather did not improve so we spent the time enjoying the open air hot swimming pool and the good food in Akureyri, Iceland and some even went sight seeing. Personally, I was trying to rest remyself after a strenuous holiday. Saturday we finally made it and Charlotte, Jørgen and Martin could start their journey home.
It has only been a few days, but much has already happened. Yesterday the snow on the heath got really wet and the melting water started to drain off seriously today - just as I could start the greenness measurement transects - meaning that I will have to follow straight lines on skis - also if they go through knee high ice water with slush ice and a crusty ice surface! I was actually supposed to have done it yesterday but there was a technical problem that I did not manage to solve until late last night. Instead I took advantage of the low water level in the river and went to the other side to check a few fox dens and the ice cover on a few lakes. I enjoyed my lunch at the old trapping station and found a can of beer in the snow - left over from the Sirius dog sledge patrol spring home coming BBQ last week. At one of the fox dens I found the remains of a gyr falcon. At the station we have had daily visits by an adult arctic fox, in the state of changing from winter to summer coat. It looks quite funny as it only has its thick and fluffy fur on the rear part and the tail. Also, the station has been frequented by a very relaxed arctic hare. Today I slowly crawled in to about 3 m to photograph it. Later it was scared by the mobbing calls of a few long-tailed skuas chasing the fox. The hare rose to stand on its hind legs - to better view the danger - then it jumped in my direction still on the hind legs only to pass me at a few meters. It sure feels great to be back.
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