Kinnvika 2007 Summer Expedition

 

The Kinnvika station and RV Horyzont II_Magnus Tannerfeldt.jpgThe Kinnvika station and RV Horyzont II with Hinlopen and Spitsbergen in the fond. Main house to the left and the old geophysical observatory in the centre (photo by Magnus Tannerfeldt).

 

The summer leg of the IPY-KINNVIKA expeditions started with course work and seminars series under the themes Field Work in the Arctic and KINNVIKA - Change and Variability of the Arctic Systems generously sponsored by the Nordic Council of Ministers and by the Polish Academy of Sciences. We are also deeply grateful to the excellent support by the personnel of RV Horyzont II during the cruise.

With the expedition, the Swedish TV4 also visited Kinnvika in August.

Read kinnvika Expedition diary comprimising the events in August   here   (PDF).

 

Kinnvika Expedition diary comprising the events between 24 – 30 July, 2007

The first summer expedition of IPY-KINNVIKA started 24 July, 2007 in Longyearbyen with a course program regarding field work on Svalbard and an overall orientation of the KINNVIKA project. All participants met in the morning at Spitsbergen Guesthouse, excluding the Polish contingent which was on its way to Longyearbyen on a ship from the Polish station Hornsund in the south of Spitsbergen. On the course programme was a rifle exercise and polar bear drill delivered by Håvard from the Norwegian Polar Institute, with support of the two logistical assistants from the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat included in our group. We learnt how to handle our rifles and how to behave if we were approached by curious or hungry polar bears.

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At the shooting range – an approaching hungry bear should reconsider (photo by Veijo Pohjola). The curious polar bear is photographed by Carl Egede Bøggild.

To tell the difference between these quite opposite modes of the bear you must pay attention to the position of the bear; a curious bear (which is the default mode) slowly progresses and often stands up on the rear legs to get better sense of the surroundings. A hungry bear ready to find an opportunity to attack normally sneaks forward with a low profile to the terrain.

The next day we met with representatives for the office of the Governor of Svalbard (Sysselmannen). We were given a general presentation of Svalbard and the work of Sysselmannen. We were also told about the special regulations for field work and visits in the restricted nature reserve in north-eastern Svalbard where the Kinnvika station is situated. In the end our journalists were given an opportunity to interview the Sysselmannen personnel regarding all the issues that make Svalbard a very unique place on Earth. (Thanks a lot Torun, Halvard and Tor for a very informative and friendly meeting!).

We were also given an opportunity to ask questions regarding the permissions we had been given for each of the research groups, to make sure that we act according to the regulations in any given situation. The day ended with a seminar within the group held at UNIS (the University Center in Svalbard) about the background and the general goals of IPY-KINNVIKA.

Research Vessel Horyzont II_Magnus Tannerfeldt.jpgThe Polish Research Vessel Horyzont II, owned by Akademia Morska, Gdynia (photo by Magnus Tannerfeldt).

On the 26 July the Polish ship RV Horyzont II came into the Longyearbyen harbour with our Polish colleagues and all the cargo that we had shipped to Gdynia in advance for further transport to Kinnvika. The ship was laying for anchor and we embarked the rest of our equipment using RIB boats. The heavier equipment, such as snowmobiles and machinery for ice core drilling that we will use on the next trip to Kinnvika in April 2008, had to be loaded from a quay, which was available after supper. We also had an ATV (terrain vehicle) with a trailer with us, for shipping water to the Kinnvika station from a nearby fresh water lake.

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Embarking equipment at the shores of Longyearbyen (photo by Veijo Pohjola).

With all the goods loaded onboard and all expedition members at the railing with their cameras, we left Longyearbyen at 20.00 hrs the same evening. With us we had not only the Kinnvikers (the expedition members) but also about ten metrical tons of equipment, provisions, machinery and fuel. 

 

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Approximate sail route by RV Horyzont to Kinnvika.

After picking up two Polish geologists in Tempelfjorden north of Longyearbyen, we cruised at 10 knots out of Isfjorden and then northward along the west coast of Spitsbergen towards the island Nordaustlandet. The waters were unusually calm and at parts the sea was like a mirror – which is not default in these usually wind troubled waters. We were lucky that the usual Greenland Sea swell wasn’t beating us. The hull of Horyzont II was originally intended for a sailing ship, so the deep keel of the vessel works as a pendulum in sideways swell, which usually upsets the stomachs of non-hardened land-lubbers. Over the sea puffins, auks and eiders were in flight, while gulls, terns and skuas enjoyed gliding in the air turbulence provided by the ship. Not that we had much time to observe the scenery, since we spent a large part of the trip in the lecture room of the ship. We had to work out a detailed logistical plan for the expedition, and an order of procedures regarding the landing and debarkation at Kinnvika.

orders for landings_Pohjola.jpgThe orders for the landings in Kinnvika (photo by Veijo Pohjola).

Further, in order to establish the true multi-disciplinary and multi-national climate among the individual Kinnvikers we launched a series of science seminars. Each working group presented background, objective and methods of their individual project in a power-point frame. It was given ample time after each presentation for questions and to find new angles of the common ground between the different projects. This would also bring an opportunity to further coordination between the projects for this particular expedition, and for future endeavours. Despite all the pre-expedition exchange of information between the working groups, it was obvious during these sessions that an actual meeting between individuals is the best way to promote multi-disciplinary work.

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Veli-Pekka brings a lecture in glacial sedimentology of Nordaustlandet, with a focused auditorium onboard Horyzont II (photo by Veijo Pohjola).

One conclusion of the seminars onboard was that we shall have a post-expedition meeting to wrap up the experiences and knowledge from this expedition, and to start the planning for the expeditions in 2008. We decided to have the meeting in Uppsala, some of the days between 24 and 28 October this year.

We arrived and anchored offshore Kinnvika at 3 am on 28 July. The expedition leaders, the logistical personnel and one camera man from each film crew went ashore with a RIB at 6.00 to scout the station. A polar bear had been sighted from the bridge of the ship a few hours earlier along a peninsula close-by so we had to be careful when approaching the buildings of Kinnvika. At the landing we loaded our rifles and quickly marched towards the station. The buildings were in good shape and exactly as we had left them after our previous expedition in May. The only difference was that the 1-2 m snow cover around the buildings was gone, and the opening of the doors and windows was easier to find than three months ago.

During the scouting we made a general plan of how to use the houses of the station. The large Pyramid shaped house (originally used as an atmospheric observatory) was in best condition and therefore chosen as dormitory. The main house had mould problems in its interior part, while its main rooms were in good shape thanks to a renovation by the Sysselmannen office and by a donation from the Norwegian Svalbard Society a year ago. We decided to use the main house as kitchen and for storage of provisions and equipment. The old garage was decided to be re-used as a garage and as a maintenance area.

Back onboard we had breakfast and a briefing with all personnel. At 9.30 we started to first debark personnel to be posted at the different stations, and then followed the cargo, starting with the ATV for transportation of the units of goods to the houses for further storage. The beach was calm. The almost wind-less air and shining sun felt like a good omen for the landings, since swell would have made any attempts to land heavy goods most difficult.

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Debarkation, landing with the landing craft and transportation of goods with the ATV (photos by Veijo Pohjola and Magnus Tannerfeldt).

The landings proceeded well, and thanks to the calm water we managed to land most of the goods well before supper. After accomplishment it felt strange that we had managed to land and haul 10 tons of cargo in less than six hours. As expedition leader I can only thank the professionalism of the crew of the Horyzont and the spirit of the Kinnvikers for the great success of this difficult operation.

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The polar bears held themselves away during the busy landings, but a small family of reindeers watched the operations from a nearby ridge (photo by Magnus Tannerfeldt).

To end a busy day we sent a small group to scout the waters and the land along Snaddvika, a small inlet of the Murchison Bay, to find a safe route for the ship and good grounds for a satellite camp for the Helsinki group, which was to be called Camp Pekka. On the way back to the ship we felt a cool breeze picking up in the bow of the RIB boat, and surely we had been extremely lucky with the weather conditions so far. But the skies told that times were a changing. Back on the ship at midnight, and after downing a warm cup of tea, the bunk was a good price after a long day of toil.

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Barnacle geese in flight over the “Sauna Lake” at Camp Pekka (photo by Veijo Pohjola).

The wind picked up during the night, and we had a gale stirring up breakers at the beach on the 29 July. We managed to get the expedition members ashore, but the ice cold breakers spilled over the free-boards of the RIB, and the landing was not pleasant. Their baggage had to wait onboard until the seas calmed.

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RIBing ashore (photo by Veijo Pohjola).

The wind conditions seemed to be slowly calming and to save time we sailed Horyzont into Murchison Bay to debark the Helsinki team to their camp in Snaddvika. The five members of the group should stay at Camp Pekka to do sedimentological studies of the glacial terrain in front of the ice cap Vestfonna. By the supper we were back in Kinnvika, and the expedition members ashore came onboard for a last night before finally leaving the ship.

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Anu and Veli-Pekka await transport to Camp Pekka (Blues Brothers goes Arctic) (photo by Veijo Pohjola).

The next morning the winds have calmed so much that we could finalize the debarkation. We all went ashore and inspected the depots and the cleaning of the station the Kinnvika based group made the day before. They had mounted solar panels and a wind generator on the main house to bring a supply of green power to the station. On the old flag pole they have raised a repeater for VHF-radio traffic.

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The Kinnvika power station (photo by Veijo Pohjola).

We inspected the status of the eight snowmobiles we stored at the station for the coming work in spring 2008, and we finally collected old garbage, and waste products of oil for further transport and destruction in Poland, that had been accumulated on the station by the various expeditions there since 1957.

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Old fuel barrels and an old beer can from the 1957 expedition (photos by Magnus Tannerfeldt and Veijo Pohjola).

Finding the station was in perfect order for the coming weeks we members of the ship-bound logistics said good-bye to the Kinnvika expedition and left them with knowledge that they were properly supplied for the rest of their stay at the station. After all, this was not an over-wintering project as it was 50 years ago; the last of the expedition will sail back with the boat MS Farm to Longyearbyen in the end of August.

Personnel and people active during the course work and on the later research expeditions:

Veijo Pohjola, Uppsala university, Sweden; Expedition and course leader IPY-KINNVIKA
Paula Kankaanpää, University of Lapland, Finland; Vice-leader IPY-KINNVIKA
Piotr Głowacki, Polish Academy of Sciences; Senior scientist on RV Horyzont II
Magnus Tannerfeldt, Swedish Polar Research Secretariat; Logistical coordinator at Kinnvika

Jan Erik Johansson, Swedish Polar Research Secretariat; Station manager of Kinnvika
Anders Gejer, Swedish Polar Research Secretariat; Logistical assistant at Kinnvika
Mika Kalakoski, Finnish Institute of Marine Research; Manager of Camp Pekka

Veli-Pekka Salonen, Helsinki University, Finland; Senior scientist at Camp Pekka (sedimentology)
Anu Kaakinen, Helsinki University, Finland; Scientist at Camp Pekka (sedimentology)
Frauke Kubitshta, Helsinki University, Finland; Junior scientist at Camp Pekka (sedimentology)
Olli-Pekka Mattila, Helsinki University, Finland; Scientist at Camp Pekka (glaciology)


Leszek Kolondra , University of Silesia, Poland; Scientist at Kinnvika (geodesy)
Bartek Luks, Polish Academy of Sciences; Scientist at Kinnvika (environmental pollution)
Ulf Jonsell, Uppsala university, Sweden; Scientist at Kinnvika (glaciology)
Carl Egede Bøggild, UNIS, Norway; Scientist at Kinnvika (glaciology)
Andy Hodson, University of Sheffield, UK; Scientist at Kinnvika (glaciology)
Elisabeth Cooper, UNIS, Norway; Scientist at Kinnvika (biology)
Steve Coulson, UNIS, Norway; Scientist at Kinnvika (biology)
Alison Bailey, UNIS, Norway; Junior scientist at Kinnvika (biology)
Maria Jiménez, UNIS, Norway; Junior scientist at Kinnvika (biology)

Krzysztof Krajewski, Polish Academy of Sciences; Scientist onboard RV Horyzont (geology)
Marcin Klisz, Polish Academy of Sciences; Field-assistant onboard RV Horyzont II (geology)

Elisabeth Frerot Södergren, TV 4, Sweden; Journalist onboard RV Horyzont (Outreach)
Ulf Jacobsson, TV 4, Sweden; Journalist onboard RV Horyzont (Outreach)
Petteri Saarinen, Wildfin, Finland; Journalist onboard RV Horyzont II (Outreach)
Jan Olof Henriksson, Wildfin, Finland; Journalist onboard RV Horyzont (Outreach)

Tommy Siikavuopio, Vehicle engineer, Longyearbyen.

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We acknowledge the crew of RV Horyzont II and Academia Morska for excellent service onboard and we are grateful to our main sponsors for this expedition; The Nordic Council of Ministers, The Swedish Polar Research Secretariat, The Arctic Centre of University of Lapland, The Polish Academy of Sciences, UNIS and Uppsala university.  We are grateful to Frank Bakken and Tommy Siikavuopio  at Ing.G.Paulsen AS at Longyearbyen for techical support.