Bear Island

In the beginning of this year I made a crazy decision. I decided to move to Bear Island to work as a meteorologist for six months. The island is located in the Barents Sea in between Spitsbergen and mainland Norway. There is no people on the island except for the crew consisting of nine people. The crew is replaced every six months. It used to be longer but not everyone could handle the isolation so the Norwegian Meteorological Institute decided to make it a six-month long commitment instead.

So in June, me and the Summer 2017 crew jumped on a plane to Longyear, Svalbard, and then on a Coast Guard ship to Bear Island. The entire trip took about two days, so its a little bit of a mission to get there. The crew consisted of three meteorologists, two chefs, one chief, one technican, one radiosonde manager and the operations manager. A few of the crew had been there before but it was my first time. So I was very excited and a little nervous.

The station was huge and had everything we could possibly need. Fresh fruit and veggies might get sparse after a while but luckily we never had to wait for long. The longest we went was six weeks but usually about every four weeks. We also had three dogs on the island. They are mainly there as polar bear guard dogs but not having seen a polar bear for five years they do an excellent job as hiking buddies.

My favorite place on the island was down in the south. The area down here is much greener and the mountains shoot straight up from the ocean. During summertime, the wildlife here goes off. Birds from everywhere come to the steep mountain sides to hatch. It's also the time of year where the polar fox can eat as much as possible from eggs, chicks to grown birds.

But every good thing must come to an end. On a windy Monday morning in the beginning of December, the Coast Guard came and picked us up. Due to bad weather our trip home was six days long with a few days outside the coast of Spitsbergen before we came to Tromsø.

My six-month long stay on Bear Island was amazing and I'm so happy and blessed to have been given the opportunity to explore this wonderful island.

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