Wednesday, April 21, 2010

On board the Svalbard Express, Denmark

When planning a two month expedition to the Arctic there are many logistical obstacles that one must overcome (does my down jacket match my hat? Is a 500ml pee bottle big enough? Will I get spots if I eat two mars bars a day? etc. etc.). Throughout the planning process I don't think any one of our 29 strong team had considered volcanic eruption as a potential obstacle. Not even in a footnote. And yet, on 20th April we found ourselves at the Royal Geographical Society in London piling onto a bus (the Svalbard Express) because our flights had been cancelled three days earlier and Eyjafjallajokull was still belching. We bussed down to Dover, ferried to Calais, bussed overnight through France and Belguim, woke up in Germany and carried on bussing (you gotta love that bus). We bussed until we got to Denmark. From Denmark we ferried (picture) to Sweden. Then bussed to Gothenburg where we spent the night with Batman. The following morning and back on the Svalbard Express, straight on to Oslo airport. Most flights were still cancelled and the backlog was huge but, somehow, we were able to get on a flight to Tromso that afternoon. After another few hours of begging at Tromso airport we found ourselves, finally, and only 6 days late, on a late-night flight to Longyearbyen. Next stop Svalbard. Ding ding!

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