Sunday, 7 February 2016

Caves of Iceness

Tip of the day: Don't buy salopettes from Mountain Warehouse.

It's nearly a week since the last post and about the most interesting thing to have happened in the period up to last Friday was the news that we had Friday off: LIE IN!!!! And you can bet that we all made the most of it; waking up at 11:30 am has never felt so good.

However, a day off doesn't always mean a day to be lazy here in Longyearbyen, for a lot of us a day off means a chance to go and explore some more / do something interesting. I think that's perhaps the largest difference that I have noticed between living at home and living here; people crave going out and doing something interesting and I have to admit that the feeling has spread to me too. As a disclaimer I wouldn't say that I'm not someone that appreciates the outside but after the last semester in Aber it felt like I'd never see anything outside of 4 walls again.

So! We went to revisit an area that we've already been but did so in the complete darkness, the final part of the safety training; a spot between Nybyen and Longyearbreen glacier. There isn't a huge amount there but a few spots to scramble up and enjoy, including some fun spots to "bum-shovel" down. And of course take a picture:

After a bit of waddling around we headed back and watched the Rugby whilst pre-drinking for the infamous Friday Gathering. Unfortunately for Noel he had class till 4pm which meant that he wasn't able to partake in the frivolities but did however get a head start on Friday Gathering, he wasn't too chuffed at how late we were... On the plus side though there was a lovely bonfire afterwards followed by an awesome meal at a place called "Barentz" which served gorgeous burgers and fries. If you ever come here I would recommend! The night was closed when me and Noel fell asleep on each other and attracted some confused looks by the rest of the bar; home time indeed.

Saturday looked to be a great day. Noel, Heather, and myself took a small hike up to Longyearbreen glacier to re-familiarize myself with skiing. Unfortunately no one had informed any of us that the ski's supplied by student equipment hadn't been adjusted to the requested boots which means, obviously, no skiing for me. I did however play camera man for the afternoon and got some clips for the upcoming videos, so it wasn't all a loss and the other two got some skiing in anyway.

Sunday, however, now that was one heck of a day. We'd had our sights set on the ice-caves for a while now and with the ever growing amount of light around noon we figured today would be a good day to take a look. So in this short video you get to see some of the walk up and the exploration within the cave. On and there's pictures too of course!

Whilst the pictures really don't do it justice, I hope you get a feel for what it was like being in such an awesome place with such evident geology surrounding you. Noel had a bit of an issue keeping his excitement in but really, who could blame him.

Other than that, the only really big thing to happen this week was some awesome aurora right outside our windows. I promised some pictures so, here you go:

It is worth a footnote, however, that we're finally home and settled in Barrack 11, sadly leaving Barrack 3 behind and all the awesome people there too. But on the plus side, Barrack 11 was where we obtained the aurora pictures so, it's not all bad.

Time for a cuppah I think.

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