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> July 20, 2006 - Hauling Gear from Russiakeila
post Jul 21 2006, 12:19 AM
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Today we hiked 3-4 km to a beach called Russiakeila. Russiakeila means “Russian fan” for the shape of the landform, and for the several small huts used by Russian hunters. The Russians have disputed the ownership of Svalbard for some time and there is a noticeable Russian presence here. Russiakeila is the location of the outlet from our glacial system into the sea. That means that after Linnebreen (glacier) melts into Linnedalen (valley) and fills Linnevatnet (lake), it flows through Linneelva (river) and enters the Arctic Ocean! You can see the color difference between the two waters as they mix out in the gentle surf, with a lighter color coming from the glacial fed river meeting the salty sea. This shoot was just too fun and while we waited for the boat to arrive, a few of us took a few runs through it!

Floating into the Sea!
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We hiked there because a boat was coming from Longyearbyen with our friend Jorgen and a lot of our very heavy gear. We think Jorgen is like James Bond, because he uses a very fast boat and can fix and make anything! He is very talented and has been very helpful to us and our project.

Jorgen is our “James Bond”
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This delivery helped us a lot because we did not have to bring these items on the beautiful boat the Stockholm, and carry it 7 km to Linnevatnet. BUT, this meant that we did have to carry it 3 km to the lake, and that was no joke. Each fuel can weighed about 50 pounds, the red boat weighed several hundred pounds, the outboard motors were bulky and very heavy and there were many other items that needed to be hiked. Thank goodness we get great Norwegian chocolate everyday to help give us energy for such a challenging day!

Starting up the Motor! (only kidding)
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We did finally get to the lake, and were able to put our loads down. Then we turned around and hiked back to Russiakeila for our sack lunch and another load. You might see on that last picture that there are tracks going to the lake. Those have been there a long time, and we are not allowed to use the Isfjord Radio’s tractor to move our gear. This is because when we did ask the Governor of Svalbard, the Sysselmannen, for permission, we were denied. Svalbard cares a great deal for its environment, and he did not want us to impact the land there by using a machine. At the end of this day, we all lay on the beach in the sun and rested. For some, the hike was just too much (ha-ha)!

Just Too Much for Some!
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Tomorrow we will attach two wheels onto the back of our large Zodiac boat that is still at Russiakeila. We will then push/pull that boat over the ridge to the lake. That will be a really great moment, because then our SCIENCE can really begin! We will get in the boat with some of our gear and head to the south (far) end of the lake, towards the melt water stream and the glacier! We are all really excited to get our data loggers in the water and find the data devises that have been there all winter, get them back to the station and see what the last 11 months were like up here. What an incredible day!

Big loads to carry!
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I am including a few pictures below of our living space. We are very luck to use the Isfjord Radio station for our home and to have laundry, hot cooked food, showers and soft beds. What a treat after a long day!

Dining Room
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Living Room
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Questions for the day: How many polar bears do scientists think are alive today? Do they travel alone or with others? What do they like to eat (other than humans)?
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