When you live for half a year out of one bag without missing anything, you ask yourself upon returning: Why do I have all this stuff in my home?
It is already August, we are since March on our way, time to clear some facts. Why a polar bear is never just a polar bear, and why a pixelbear rarely becomes a problembear, but sometimes creates problemguests, for example.
Now I have left the SV Antigua, after a last, wonderful voyage. For the first time the Antigua went to Kvitøya, the mystic white island in the far east of Spitsbergen. A dream has come true! And then, we sighted 39 polar bears! 23 of it at one sight. What a trip!
Beachcleaning with artists – a whole new experience! The last two weeks we have been on a trip with a group of artists, young people from all over the world, who come with the organisation „The Farm“ to the SV Antigua. They took part in our plastic project for the Alfred-Wegener-Institute with big enthusiasm, and very different than all other groups we ever had!
We have fought. And won. It took us four long hours to bring down an orange coloured sea monster, laying on a beach in Spitsbergen. We did that for our Plastic Monitoring Project for the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research. Afterwards we were tired, dirty, and smelled like a monster ourselves. But we had it on board. Monster 0, Antigua 1!!!
The first voyages with SV Antigua are over, we sailed from the Netherlands to Spitsbergen, from Harlingen to Longyearbyen. On the way we started our plastic project for the AWI, the Alfred-Wegener-Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Germany.We have found lots of garbage on land and at sea. It was clear before, we would find more than we could ever collect and weigh, but how much it was in the end, was still surprising.
I am going again! I am happy, proud and very, very thrilled: I have the great honour and pleasure to support Felicity Aston (the fantastic lady who crossed Antarctica solo) with her Women´s Expedition to the North Pole in 2017! This will be an exciting project: The participating women come from Europe and the Middle East – the goal is to build role models for girls and women in all these countries and to foster greater dialogue and understanding between women of those cultures. And of course: to go to the North Pole, from Barneo.
The way to the North will this time be even more interesting for me: When I went with Thomas Ulrich from Barneo to the North Pole in 2010 and 2011, Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen was the gate to the Pole.
Now everything seems, that this route is history: Due to some trouble with norwegian authorities, the Barneo Team has decided to establish a new route from Russia. It looks like it will go via Murmansk and Nagurskoye on Alexandra Land in Franz Joseph Land.
This means more work when realizing the project, more excitement – and the prospect, to meet many russian friends again!
I am looking a lot forward to all these exciting experiences!
While I am currently sailing on the SV Antigua along the norwegian coast, on the way up to Spitsbergen, my thoughts have started to wander more and more to the Northeast. . .
Go, girls, go! 🙂
Tot ziens, Franeker! Today the SV Antigua leaves Franeker in direction to Harlingen, and on Sunday we start sailing towards Spitsbergen. In that season we realize an exciting project on board of SV Antigua, which I have initiated together with the Alfred-Wegener-Institute for Polar and Marine Research: We will survey the plastic pollution of sea and coastlines on our way – together with our guests.
East Greenland. Next Information. Stand-by. Delayed. Cancelled. These are words you need to get used to, when traveling in East Greenland. It is more likely, that things do not work out instead of them working out, at the time you want them to. Plans are made to change them. Plans are better not made at all. Here you are thrown back onto yourself, over and over again. You want, but what you want, simply does not happen. Make something out of this, out of the Not-Happening, the Waiting, with the everything over shining Non-Availability, with the everlasting presence of absence of almost everything you are used to.
One of my favourite winter jackets is made of fleece. Unfortunately, that is bad. I learned that, when I updated my lecture about plastic pollution which I hold on ships. I once again realized, how often we contribute to the pollution and intoxication of our planet, without even being aware of it. The Alfred-Wegener-Institut for Polar- and Marine Research gave me some material, in which I found the following: With every washing of a fleece-sweater, about 1900 fibres are washed out. The fibres get into the wastewater, and many sewage plants cannot filter them. As a result, they become part of the micro plastic-problem. These particles enter our food chain. Either because a fish eats them, or because the softeners of the plastic go into the water, or both. There are many variations, how plastic finds his way back to us. Sure is only: It comes back.
A study in Spitsbergen has now shown, that Fleece-Sweaters are not at all a small part of the problem.