Bearing witness to a change of seasons is a most beautiful thing. You don’t hide from it. You observe, you experience it and you work to understand its many movements. Harsh weather and winters’ blanket are sneaking up on us. Here at Bamsebu in the Van Keulen fjord the water is starting to shape the months to come.
We have had 2 days of ice lining the shore, a solid symmetrical white band. The open water is starting to form into a slush as it crashes ashore. With the changing tides every 6 hours, the challenges for us are imminent. Our yellow boat is onshore and our red one is tethered to the buoy about 20 metres out. One of our daily tasks has to be making sure the lines are not frozen, the engines work and that we have carved out a path in the ice for the boat to come in and out. Why do we need a boat you ask? It is the only way we are currently collecting data for our fjordphyto/salt water samples for Alison at Scripps and it is currently our only mode of transport to meet the Bring cargo ship if and when it comes to bring us supplies.
We are vulnerable out here, but we are very capable and fully awake.
Food, water and wood preoccupy our daily thoughts. We have the supply of food we think we need until May but we could easily run out of key staples so we keep a close watch on anything that could spoil. This makes Sunniva think of the many times she have filled her fridge at home in Squamish only to have to travel the next week and in the process, some food spoils and some she can give away to neighbors. With it getting progressively colder outside, it’s harder to keep root vegetables ( beets, cabbage, onions, garlic, potatoes) from ‘turning’ so we rotate them and keep a close watch. All of the fresh water that is stored outside in large containers is now frozen so we make sure we have a barrel inside that can thaw. We are continually collecting, cutting and chopping wood. We have a Nordica oven made in Italy that is both our baking oven and heat source. Can we just tell you how wonderful it is to be outside for a few hours, fingers cold to the bone, only to come back inside the hut where it exudes warmth from the stove – bliss!
We even made our first home baked pizza a few nights back. Life’s little pleasures become our greatest!
October and April are two of Hilde’s favorite months. It’s during these months that she is never seen without her camera as she fills herself with its luminescence. After all of these years of living up here in Svalbard, the idea to overwinter and experience these magical shifts in light and color are a dream come true.
Sunniva is in a continual state of amazement over the changing light, the shadows on the distant white peaks, the many folds on the mountains that are Svalbard and the colors that are almost indescribable- hues of pastel, pinks, blues and lilac. Colors that warm your cold eyeballs and shower you with such magic.
This time of year is also when both Hurtigruten and Polar Latitudes (our employers) start their Antarctic season. We will live vicariously through both shipboard and home office teams as they ready for what we hope is a flawless, safe and successful season in the south.
Both of us are living in a profound state of gratitude. Our resting pulse rate is lower than it has been for years – there is no stress here, just that which we bring forward. We think of the many choices we all have over how we live, what we take, what we give. To choose to live here until May will have its challenges for certain. We hope that our simple lifestyle, our observations and our willingness to better understand the natural cycles of earth encourage you – the reader – to make small adjustments towards the simple, more curious parts of why you are here.
With the ice forming around us we cannot help but get excited about starting up our BRP/ Lynx snowmobiles that wait patiently for us. When there is no boat, there is a snowmobile!
With the full moon rising on us a soft band of northern lights brushes the lower atmosphere and we are in it! Embraced by the northern lights!
All the best from the Bamsebu babes!
Thank you for letting us in on your journey! Great reading ?
So happy to hear you are “settling in”. What a magical place… the description of the changes makes me wish I could have stayed as a fly on the wall. Enjoy the calm… peace… and beauty. Your gratitude is contagious. We love you… and think of you ( and Ettra) daily! ♥️??♥️
Awesome! So look forward to every blog report to see how things are going, what challenges have been faced, what the day-to-day activities encompass and how you both are dealing with the darkness! Continued success and enjoyment, virtual hugs sent to you both from Canada’s capital!! ??? ??
The landscape and stark treeless mountains against the void was so dramatic it took my breath away. I so wish I could witness the forming ice and eerie light from the overly long and now overly short days. Like a dream or a mirage, the otherworldliness transfixed me. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to step into this world for just a quick glimpse. Blessings Bumsebu babes. ?❤️?❤️?❤️?❤️?❤️?
Sounds amazing and challenging, things you both will no doubt conquer! Saw the Crocheted suit shot, you rocked it! Xo
Such poignancy in the descriptive telling of your daily lives, the challenges and of course, the encircling awareness you speak of. Awareness of your surroundings, your new abode ( home sweet home ) and your being aware of your very own beings, present for each awe inspiring moment.
Wether capturing a shifting hue of colours mounting their display of mighty mother natures knack for wild and free brush strokes of genius amid the skies of Bambesu.
Your unfaltering devotion and eye for the prize is simply outstanding in an era filled with the pursuit of self and blind ignorance towards what truths reveal themselves both there remotely and here, in our inner cities.
Our planet is suffering immense pains both geologically and climatically in multitudes of ways that mostly gets lost in the shuffle of News Stories and sound bits and bytes.
Please carry on for all of us who can not be there with you in this effort to raise awareness and create meaningful dialogues, strategies and action steps as a result of these initiatives and others like it.
We are now deciding the future of our lives and this gift of a planet we all share in one BIOSPHERE of organic nature.
Time to stand up against The Machine ( see Oink Floyd lyrics for guidance ) lol :))))
Thank you for sharing your experiences in daily life there. We love and miss you.