There is nothing like waking up to these special arctic light conditions, going outside to do your morning routine while checking the horizon for any larger animals like grizzlies, musk oxen or caribous.
On the way back in for breakfast you stop by the generator to refuel, grab one of these big plastic canisters of drinking water that are sold in Canada and step back inside, just to find fresh pancakes being made for breakfast by one of your colleagues that you might have heard snoring just minutes earlier in the other end of your shared bedroom.
Even though it might not sound like the classic morning for a young scientist, it is one of the most amazing ways to start your day. The best thing is, even if you spend a long day working in the field, discussing your ideas or first results with your colleagues and spending your whole day running around carrying heavy stuff, seeing no computer or smartphone but lemmings, beluga whales’ ore cranes you feel incredibly happy when crawling into your sleeping bag. And only by being back home, you can truly appreciate it.
This year on Herschel Island, almost no morning was as expected the day before. The first group of our expedition had trouble with remaining sea ice, during our second leg we had a flooded camp leading to extra trouble for the third part of our expedition to even come to the Island. We had a lot of fog coming in from almost every side, brining sudden ends to field days, we had pouring rain, which meant cold water running down on the inside of our sauna’s walls.But we also had amazing sunshine, leading to spontaneous BBQs in the evenings with the rangers on the Island or long scientific discussions with colleagues from opposite topics.
We all managed to gain a large bundle of results and on top, all our samples got back home to Germany as frozen or cooled as needed and can be analyzed now.
So while diving deep into my field data, I am already looking forward for my next unique chance going for fieldwork in the “great north”. Though it might be rough, as there is a lot of hard work to do and you have to cut short on some things (like diversity of food, contact with the “outside world” or long showers), there is nothing like these unique kind of people (locals as well as researchers) and that special type of sunlight, that I find so hard to describe but tend to love so much.
For me, I must truly confess, I have caught the “Arctic Fever”.