The 12 members of the Longyearbyen Eclipse 2015–The Solar Wind Sherpas–met up at the Oslo airport in Norway on Sunday March 15th, 2015. Several team members met up in Munich, Germany before heading to Oslo. Two of our members arrived directly from Aberystwyth. We had a long layover in Oslo, during which time the weather in Longyearbyen got really bad. Due to 60 knot winds at the airport, our flight was cancelled. Thankfully, we were given rooms at the Radisson Blu (right by the airport) so we could sleep comfortably before starting our adventure anew.
On Monday March 16th, we finally took off for Longyearbyen, and three hours later, landed in a snow and ice covered town. We got our rental cars, loaded up all of our equipment, and headed to the two guest houses where the team was staying: UNIS and Spitzbergen. We were barely settled when we got the call to send a few members for Polar bear safety training. Naty, Joe, Scott, and Martina went with Paul, our contact and a post doc at UNIS, for a three hour training. After the three hours, Frede had trained them all on how to half load a shotgun, load and shoot from two different positions, how to use a signal gun, and the process needed to go through should a polar bear be encountered. They all passed the certification process and officially became the team polar bear guards.
That evening, the team was only able to have dinner at the Coal Miner’s restaurant due to other food places being booked. The Coal Miner’s restaurant is a new burger joint with a nice ambiance and good food, though a bit limited in its menu. It was nice to finally sit down and enjoy a meal as a team!