A short video taking a look inside the seed vault that Costa and Electric QT visited at the beginning of the expedition. Enjoy!
is one of my all time favourite questions so of course I compiled a list aboard the Antigua.
What are you reading right now?
How is the new year coming along? What have you been investigating and learning?
This past week, our last three explorers—Costa, Snowball and Electric QT returned to their schools. They were excited to join their new class for the rest of the school year.
Some things we have been up to in Hong Kong after the Arctic trip that you might be interested in if you live here:
1. Museum of Climate Change
3. Reading up on icebergs in Camille Seaman's book Melting Away which you can borrow from the Hong Kong Public Library.
Watch her TED talk below. There's a rolling iceberg at the end!
Anything interesting that you've come across?
If you visit the exhibits, let me know what you think.
day 15+16: Monday June 29 and Tuesday June 30—Snowflake
We arrived in Longyearbyen Monday morning and had one and a half days in town before flying back to Oslo. Upon settling in at Guesthouse 102, explorers did laundry, returned library books, visited/revisited museums, had some alone time, wandered around town, sent last minute mail, caught up on season finales (Did winter come?), connected with Arctic friends on Instagram and FB, checked e-mail...
Remember Snowball and I went to see the eiders before we sailed? We went back to visit them and now there were ducklings galore. We also got a photo of the sled dogs for Stefano who had submitted a question about dogs in the Arctic before we had set off.
Max and I were the last ones to send mail back to our classmates. We can't wait to see them in October!
It was sad to say goodbye to our new Arctic friends/artists/explorers but our adventure doesn't end here. We'll be posting some wise words they shared with us about their journey as artists and explorers as well as our upcoming school visits.
See you again soon,
day 14: Sunday June 28 afternoon—Electric QT
We set off for Skansbukta in the afternoon and whilst having some bonding time with Nemo, encountered sailing winds. More likely, all the sails just needed to breathe some Arctic air and it was good for us to have another go at getting them up. : )
We made a landing just after 4:30pm and had about two hours to explore the old gypsum mine track and walk up and down the coast of the bay. Our last evening together was topped off with a midnight (sun) portrait session with Ashley.
Tomorrow we wake up in Longyearbyen. See you there. —Electric QT
day 14: Sunday June 28 morning—Cayber
Yesterday evening was our last artist sharing session. Following that, we were thrilled to have some of the crew share with us too! Captain Jo, Clara, Laura, Jim and Thomas + Nadia told us about their journey that brought them to the Antigua. I was most intrigued by the box shaped boat that Jim said he began his sailing adventures on. At first I thought he said Optimus, like Optimus Prime : ), but it's actually called an Optimist. I drew what I thought it looked like from his description. It's a small dinghy boat that kids learn how to sail on. Afterwards, I asked him more about the boat and he drew it for us.
At breakfast this morning with Tito, we were discussing last night's sharing and the optimist came up. He also knows about boats and sailing and drew me another diagram of it. I wanted to save it in my journal but it was on my used napkin so I had to photograph it instead.
For our last morning in Pyramiden, Theres said she would take us on a hike up to the mine entrance! Eric, Jisun, Salome, Ashley, Lumans, Carina, Joey, Max, Snowflake and I took her up on her offer. Others took a more gentle hike south of Pyramiden with Sarah or went back to yesterday's safe areas.
We set sail towards Skansbukta after lunch. Electric QT will tell you all about it.
day 13: Saturday June 27—Snowball
I'm getting in touch with my Russian roots. I was asleep when we moored at Pyramiden in the early hours of the morning. Up on deck after breakfast, this was my first view:
Pyramiden was a Russian mining town that was abandoned in 1998. It's now a ghost town but recently, there have been more visitors and tours from Longyearbyen. A small hotel has even opened where you can stay for the night!
Before we disembarked, we had a visit from Sasha the Russian guard at Pyramiden. He's originally from St. Petersburg but now lives in Pyramiden for part of the year. At its largest, he said the town had 1000 people living here. Currently, there are six permanent residents. He shared some of the history with us and then told us which buildings were being opened up to let us explore. We still had to stay within specific areas between the buildings as Pyramiden is not PB safe.
Although I was born in Russia, I left when I was so young I don't remember much of it at all. Being here and looking through things left behind was rather magical, like being transported back in time. It's what I imagine a bit of my parents' Russia might have been like since Pyramiden was abandoned before I was even born!
After lunch on Antigua, we had more time in Pyramiden. I was so excited about everything I saw in the morning I made sure everyone came out...even Max who was getting comfy in the wheelhouse. He sure was glad he did!
Afterwards, some of us hiked up to the bottle house. The walls were all made of glass bottles. If you had to build a house with found materials, what would you use?
We met back up with those who stayed behind to do sound and video work in town and then all headed over to the hotel together for an afternoon break.
I was really fascinated by this tiny glimpse into Russian life in Pyramiden. Glad we have another half day here tomorrow.
likely tomorrow : ) Snowball
day 12: Friday June 26—Emmerson
Just ten days later back at Ymerbukta, I was able to find a lot more plant life.
What new projects are there?
We found interesting and colourful rocks as well so we made some sculptures together.
In the afternoon, there were three options: short hike with time at Esmarkbreen, a long hike, and a silent zodiac trip. We opted for the last one. I really enjoyed the quiet time.
In the late afternoon, the winds were prime for sailing.
That evening, we began our journey towards Pyramiden, an abandoned Russian mining town. Snowball of course was rather excited to be seeing something from her birthplace.
Until tomorrow's adventures!
day 11: Thursday June 25 evening—Max
We believe Moleskine magic brought out the whales. Today turned out to be the longest day after summer solstice. We had been spotting Moleskines popping up around Antigua here and there ranking in abundance with the number of Polaroid cameras on this expedition. After dinner as we were getting ready for our Moleskine Arctic photoshoot on deck and making the announcement to head up, whales appeared and gazing out into the ocean ensued.
At 23:00 we went up to the wheelhouse to interview Captain Jo. One question in and more whales appeared! We ended up spending two hours switching between talking/whalewatching. We spotted a humpback whale from afar!
On what he loves most about being at sea:
On how to become a captain:
On what qualities/characteristics he looks for in his crew:
One item he always has with him:
On the significance of the location of the wheelhouse:
His home on land:
After my quick nap with Nemo, I popped back down below deck and found part two of the portrait party taking place. Salome and Emmerson got theirs drawn by Sarah. Do you recognize the other portraits? Emmerson thought the glitter was a nice touch.
Heading to bed, sun still shining brightly, at 2 am. I reckon breakfast will be rather quiet at 7:30am.
Glad you're joining us here. I'm an artist + educator learning and creating from the amazing things encountered sailing around Svalbard in the high Arctic.