Monday, March 9, 2015

2015 west Greenland cruise with ice sheet climatologist Prof. Jason Box

map illustrating the planned 2015 tour
I'm returning to the 'world's smallest continent'; Greenland for my 21st year of 'climateering'. I'm returning with Hurtigruten and its ice-strengthened ship Fram for the 2nd time. My first Fram tour was an unforgettable, from Iceland to Canada via Greenland, 'in the wake of the Vikings'. I'm especially interested in the current 2015 tour because it includes not only several of my favorite west Greenland, destinations but at least two of my scientific sites, meteorological stations on small islands set in the Uummannaq fjord in front of the western ice sheet's 2nd most productive glacier in terms of ice discharge into the sea.

I sketch below the planned day by day here in advance...

Day 1 - 23 June, 2015
charter flight arrival in Kangerlussuaq, west Greenland. Once outside the settlement, see one of my favorite Greenland landscapes.
Participants are provided transport to the margin of the Greenland ice sheet. En route on Greenland's longest road are views of an arid landscape with possible muskoxen, reindeer, Arctic fox, ptarmigan, large ravens, falcons, Arctic buntings, bees, and flies signings.
After boarding MS Fram, the sea voyage begins with a passage down the world’s longest fjord, exquisite beauty.

Day 2 - 24 June
visit to Sisimiut, Greenland’s second largest settlement, many handicraft vendors are in shops on shore. The Sisimiut museum and book store are much worth a visit.
That evening, I will present: Ice, nature’s thermometer.
En route, it is not unlikely to see humpback wales.

Day 3 - 25 June
Qeqertarsuaq, Greenland's largest sorrounding island, visit to the Godhavn (good harbor) settlement. This place has been on my visit list for more than a decade.
Qasiguiannguit - visit to an historic former whaling village, original destination of F. Nansen’s first crossing of Greenland.
presentation by Prof. Box - On the glaciology of the Uummannaq district
unpacking climate station equipment in the
Uummannaq fjord June 2012

Day 4 - 26 June
Uummannaq - with its heart-shaped mountain, dry climate, sunshine, large icebergs, relaxed pace, is arguably my favorite Greenland settlement.
I have spent more than a month here in visits spanning 2007-2012
I have good friends here I hope to see.

Day 4/5 - 26/27 June, eastern Uummanaq fjord
We aim to visit 2 scientific sites, climate stations positioned in the vicinity of Store and Lille Glaciers. Part of this tour includes an optional visit to the quaint Ikarasak - settlement.

Day 5 - 27 June
We aim to hike to service time lapse camera station overlooking Store Gletscher.
2 h strenuous hike up
2 h on site, likely see iceberge calvings from the front of this massive glacier.
2 h return hike down

Day 6 - 28 June
one of two Uummannaq fjord climate stations
with the peak beside the Ikerasak settlement in the distance
visit to the small Ukkusissat settlement.

masterpiece documentary by Prof. Frederick Lewis film part 1 with introduction by Prof. Box - on artist, explorer, architect, social activist Rockwell Kent - part 1.

Day 7 - 29 June
Around the most jagged Upernavik Island, not to be confused with Upernavik settlement we plan to visit later.
Visit to Illorsuit where Rockwell Kent spent a winter, painting and living with Greenlanders. Illorsuit is another place long on my list.

Day 8 - 30 June
visit to the Upernavik settlement,
a furthest north for the expedition: 72.7869° N. One of the things that stands out here are old whaling relics and an airport runway built between two mountain tops.

Store glacier seen in May 2008 discharging from the inland ice sheet. The sea ice has not yet disintegrated. By the time we visit, the waters should be much more open.
Day 9 - 1 July
visit to the now abandoned mining Qullissat settlement on Disko Island. The site, like all others, is in a unique and dramatic setting.

Day 10 - 2 July
Eqip Sermia glacier, another amazing site. I imagine we will be stationed here long enough for passengers to get a good view of iceberg calving from the front of this tall glacier.
Here is quite some history with French explorer Paul Emil Victor who organized several Greenland and Antarctic expeditions.
visit to Ilulissat (the word means 'icebergs'). From the settlement are often wonderful views of a town framed by icebergs. Views across Disko bay in the evening toward Greenland's largest island can be unforgettable. This is Greenland's 2nd or 3rd largest settlement, with a nice museum and lots of activities including a microbrewery.

Day 11 - 3 July
visit to Itilleq at the mouth of the longest fjord in the world. A past Hurtigruten blog tells us that "Itilleq means “the hollow” and was first founded in 1847 on another island, but was later moved one kilometer east to its present location. Around 130 people live here, who are mainly engaged in hunting and fishing. The church here built in north Greenland in 1930 was moved to Itilleq in 1963.
The village, surrounded by high mountains and glaciers, can truthfully be called the Arctic Circle Village as the Arctic Circle is indeed found only 200 m to the south.
In Itilleq you will be invited for a “kaffemik” which means that you are welcome to visit a local home, talk with the host, and have a piece of cake and a coffee. It is expected to remove your shoes before entering a home. Arts and crafts are for sale in the village (cash only). Visit the library and the school. When conditions permit, we might set up an optional kayak excursion for those interested in exploring the Arctic Circle area from the seaside.
Watch out for a soccer game- Itilleq vs. MS Fram! We need players- and supporters!

Day 12 - 4 July
a second chance to view the longest fjord in the world Kangerlussuaq. The tour re-joins charter planes that return passengers to North America and Europe. My wife and daughter will return to Copenhagen. I plan to stay another 10 days to begin a camp that is to run all summer and monitor the evolution of ice reflectivity along the western ice sheet.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Ålesund - Rebuilt in the Art Nouveau Style

Leveled by a massive fire in 1904, Ålesund was then completely rebuilt in the Art Nouveau style. Conveying beautiful intricate detail and design throughout the city.

Photo: Jennifer Rosen

Thursday, May 19, 2011

High Scores for Hurtigruten on Environmental Awareness

Environmental awareness on expedition cruises to Spitsbergen and the Svalbard Archipelago is extremely high according to a recent study commissioned by The International Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO). Hurtigruten’s MS Fram was one of four ships followed by research teams during the study.

The study, carried out by an independent Norwegian company, found that crew, expedition team and guests on MS Fram and the three other ships in the study displayed high environmental awareness. It found that ship’s officers were up to date on the latest legislation and regulations pertaining to the environmental protection of the Svalbard Archipelago and that this was a constant focus. According to the study, emissions from the expedition ships would have a relatively minor impact on the Arctic marine environment, provided that all international and national legislation was complied with.

MS Fram has an ice classed hull which reduces risk of grounding and runs on distillate only Marine Gasoil (MGO) - these two combined factors ensure it gives as little emission as possible.

Hurtigruten operates its voyages with the philosophy – "Take nothing but pictures – leave nothing but footprints." The study found that passengers were given the appropriate instruction on how to conduct themselves when in these precious environments from well-trained expedition teams.

To ensure we do our part to protect the environment in every way possible in Svalbard, Hurtigruten guests take part in a program called 'Clean up Svalbard' which helps to keep the coasts clean. Unfortunately, there are beaches that are littered with plastic, empty oil drums, fishnets and other waste that washes up on the coast. Hurtigruten guests, under the guidance of the ships expedition team, are invited to volunteer in helping collect the rubbish that is then disposed of in refuse sacks provided by the ship, so they can experience the wilderness of Svalbard as they wish to see it – pure and untouched.

Click here to learn more about Hurtigruten's voyages to Spitsbergen, Svalbard, contact your travel agent or call 800-323-7436.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The 17th of May - Norway's National Day

May 17th is Norway’s Constitution Day and is celebrated with children’s parades and festivities. These colorful processions of children with their banners, flags and bands take center stage on this day of celebration.

After being part of the Danish autocracy for 400 years, Norway got its own constitution in 1814 and joined into a loose union with Sweden that lasted until 1905.

A limited and hereditary monarchy was introduced, whereby the king would exercise his authority through a government, while Parliament (Storting) would allocate monies and make laws. The Norwegian constitution was the most modern in Europe at the time.

Norway's Constitution, which declared the country to be an independent nation, was signed at Eidsvoll on May 17, 1814, and despite full independence having had to wait until 1905, this date remains Norway's official National Day.

The day is celebrated with as much enthusiasm in Norwegian villages as in the capital city of Oslo, where tens of thousands line Karl Johans Gate, Oslo’s main thoroughfare, every year to watch the parade.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Glaciers & Icebergs Voyage - Special Guest Lecturer Bud Ward

As a special treat for guests traveling on the June 12th Glaciers & Icebergs voyage through Greenland, in addition to our already stellar lecturers and naturalists onboard, special guest Bud Ward will be lecturing on climate change.

Bud Ward is founder and editor of The Yale Forum on Climate Change & The Media. Ward started his environmental journalism career in 1974 and later served as Assistant Director of a Congressional Clean Air Act Study Commission before founding The Environmental Forum policy magazine in 1982.

A co-founder of the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) in 1989, he has written two books on environmental regulatory issues and has authored more than 1,000 bylined articles on environmental issues and on journalism. He twice served as a frequent environmental analyst and commentator for National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" and "Morning Edition." He also founded and managed the Central European Environmental Journalism Program. Ward is Advisory Editor for the Oxford University Second Edition of Encyclopedia of Climate and Weather (2007); and an adviser to the 2007/2008 United Nations Development Program's Human Development Report, Climate Change and Human Development. Ward administers the Grantham Prize for Excellence in Reporting on the Environment, at $75,000 the richest prize in journalism. George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communications in 2009 named Ward its “Climate Change Communicator of the Year.” A member of the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) and the National Association of Science Writers (NASW), he is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and a member of the American Geophysical Union (AGU)

Hurtigruten is very proud and excited to have Bud join us onboard the exquisite MS Fram on the June 12th Greenland voyage. We hope to see you there.

Check out this special Greenland video for a sneak peak at some of the awe-inspiring scenery Greenland has to offer.

Click here for additional voyage information, or to book now, please contact your travel agent, book online or call 800-323-7436.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Hurtigruten Offering 12-day Antarctic Discovery

Hurtigruten’s very popular 12-day “Antarctic Discovery” allows the many North Americans whose vacation times are limited to two or three weeks per year the opportunity to visit one of the world’s most remote destinations.

The deluxe expedition ship MS Fram sails round trip from Buenos Aires on three 2012 departures, traveling through the famous Drake Passage and making stops in several stunning ports on the “White Continent” as well as Ushuaia, the world’s most southerly port. The mesmerizing effect of Antarctica’s endless landscapes of glaciers and icebergs is only broken when colonies of thousands of penguins come into view, one of several exotic animal highlights. A selection of optional excursions – including pre- or post-cruise packages visiting Machu Picchu or the Iguazu Falls, allows guests to customize their adventures. Early booking prices for the Jan. 3, 12 and Feb. 14 departures start at $6,190 per person, but must be booked by May 31, 2011. Plus 1893 Ambassador Loyalty Program members receive an additional 5% discount!

For more information, contact your travel agent or call 800-323-7436. Click here for Antarctica itinerary details.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Norway rated Best for Moms

Not news to Norwegians, but maybe news to us, according to a new study, the best place in the world to be a mom is Norway!

According to the Save the Children's 12th annual Mother's Index released on May 3rd, maternal and child mortality rates are low, women's life expectancy and years in school are high, and the average maternity leave is about one year - and paid to boot! Plus, a typical Norwegian woman lives to be 83 years old!

The United States meanwhile places 31st while Afghanistan comes in last.

Released every year in the days before Mother's Day, the international nonprofit group's ranking analyzes the maternal and child indicators and other published information of 164 countries.

So not only is Norway an amazing place to visit with stunning scenery and activities, but also a wonderful place to live.