Field Notes: The Polar Field Services Newsletter

Postcard from Norway

Svalbard Archipelago and the Fjord Region 

Roy and Margie Stehle on an ice floe in the northern Arctic Ocean. All photos: Roy Stehle (unless otherwise stated)

Roy Stehle (of SRI, one of the CH2M HILL Polar Services partners) loves to travel, and in his nearly 50-year marriage to Margie Stehle, the pair has explored the globe in abundance.   He once  joked that as long as there was daylight, he and Margie liked to get out there and explore, which could be a tough gig in Scandanavia, the land of the midnight sun.

And that’s just where they’ve been for the last few weeks, first on a car trip through Norway’s jagged and breathtaking fjord region.

The famed road to Lysefjord has 27 switchbacks.

“We’ve been busy driving around southwestern Norway from sea level at the fjords to >1000 meters ASL [above sea level] on the high fjell.  The weather’s been generally good to us.  We put 2205 km on the rental car.”

Some of those kilometers were nearly vertical!

They next flew to Longyearbyen, the largest settlement on the Svalbard Archipelago. After a few days exploring in pleasant weather (“said to be 9C, but it felt like 20C,” Roy noted), the couple boarded the Akademik Ioffe, an ice-strengthened vessel built for the Russian Academy of Sciences. With a 107-guest capacity–and 53 crew and staff–we imagine this 15-day excursion around the archipelago is a cruiser’s dream.

The Akademik Ioffe. Photo: http://www.quarkexpeditions.com

“Today, we had a good time cruising along the edge of the ice pack, which is 90-100% ice coverage.  After lunch, the ship was maneuvered into an area with more open ice.  We ended up getting out of the Zodiaks onto an ice floe.”

Roy and this polar bear exchanged glances.

This bear is having too much fun to pay attention to the humans, apparently.

Limited bandwidth means we’ll wait to see most of Roy’s photos when he returns later this month. Given that Roy mentioned he and Margie had just “watched a pod of minke whales,” we’re betting they’ll be good. 
KR

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