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28 July, 2001

Tromso, Norway

I arrived in Tromso, Norway yesterday afternoon. Tromso is the port town that the icebreaker will leave from on Tuesday. I am alone here waiting for some of the scientists to arrive.

Tromso is at higher latitude than any town in Alaska, so guess what the weather is like? If you guessed cold, you are right. Add to that rain and fog and you have a good picture of a common summer day here. The temperature today is 41 F --quite a contrast to the 98 F that I left behind in Martinsburg, WV.

I had a shock last night when I woke up in the middle of the night and it was light out. I thought at first that my clock battery had died, but then I remembered that I am in the "Land of the Midnight Sun". It will be light 24 hours a day through the summer here, but that will change as winter approaches and there is 24 hours of darkness. It's a bit strange! I hope to get used to it.

When morning arrived and got up, I decided to walk around Tromso. Although I don't speak Norwegian, most people do speak English and are very helpful. I found Tromso's Polar Museum and spent several hours there learning about the history and importance of the Polar region. Its main importance has been for hunting-reindeer, fox, whales, seals, musk-ox, walrus, and polar bears. Today hunting is heavily restricted.

After the museum, I explored the town some more and was surprised at the contrast between colorful summer flowers and snow on the hills. It is quite beautiful here! I hope to learn much more about the town over the next 3 days as I await the arrival of the USCGC Healy-the icebreaker that I will board and call home for the next 2 months!

There are hundreds of ships in the port town of Tromso, so fish is on = every menu! If you're not a fan of fish, maybe you would prefer smoked = moose or reindeer, seal, or whale!

The Polar Museum in Tromso-- this picture shows an Arctic trapper's hut. = Most trappers lived in small huts constructred of driftwood. Moss = stuffed between the wood hepled to keep out the cold. =20

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