Measurement equipment is let down into the sea at the end of the Adventfjorden for testing. The sun is setting very slowly.
At the top of the plateau above the airport you can see the satellite domes. You can follow the ship through the Über marinetraffic site.
Adventfjorden is left behind and we go out to the sea through Isfjorden. The ship lulls us gently to sleep with pitch and roll movements.
We leave for the ship after an additional ice safety course at UNIS in the morning. A great piece of brand new technology, a bit confusing. The important information: There are three stairs, all ending on deck 5. The rear one goes up, the middle and front ones go down.
The facilities are very comfortable compared to some older research vessels. Our two-person cabin is at the front of the portside, the only one with only one porthole. There is a private shower, internet, desk and a flat screen with live ship data.
You are not just a passenger but part of the ship. Everything is full of marine technology, winches, cranes. Equipped with safety shoes and helmet, I carefully explore the ship, trying to locate our equipment on deck.
At noon, the pier is needed for another ship. Everything is moving, a slight little discomfort. The ship virtually drops anchor next to the German research icebreaker Maria S. Merian at Longyearbyen.
There is an introduction to the ship with a tour in the afternoon. Everybody crawls into the rescue sub. There is a short outline of the program of the next days. Then there is the safety exercise and dinner.
Our aircraft, net and sandbags have reached the helicopter hangar.
We very carefully get closer to the idea of flying our aircraft from here. The edge of the helideck is approached only cautios. It is spooky to look over the folding railing to the deep, dark sea.
The SUMO aircraft received fiberglass reinforcements around the wing tips and ABS plastic covers over the servo links. That should protect them during landings.
The object of desire arrived overnight at the coal port of Longyearbyen: The research icebreaker RV Kronprins Haakon. We will spend twelve days on it in the Arctic Sea. The LIDAR and Radiowave instruments are getting installed on the ship. In the evening we meet other participants of the measuring campaign at the Kroa.
Spitsbergen in early September, the island is not covered by snow. Structures, details and colors come to light everywhere. A completely different experience, so nice not to have to leave the house packed with clothes.
We prepare by hardening the aircraft and filling sandbags.
On last nights flight a faint white-greenish whiff of impossible-to-photograph polar lights showed up in the north-eastern sky when we passed Bodø. Around Bear Island they lost against the the midnight sun that was acting below the horizon. The southern tip of Spitsbergen was then clearly recognizable.