Monday, February 19, 2007

Clear sign of life from Jan Mayen!

Believe it or not, I just received a kind comment on my most recent posting about Jan Mayen! Elise Anonby Olsvik from Jan Mayen Metereological Station made my day by writing these friendly words:
Hello Paul and thank you for your e-mail. I will try to address some of your questions about life at Jan Mayen. As you might have seen we are 18 people living here, where 14 are employed by the Norwegian army. The 4 others are employed by the Norwegian meteorological institute, where I also work as a meteorological officer. The climate here is very special as it is almost always cold (usually between -5 to +5), but because of the almost constant winds it can get severely cold. Nevertheless outdoor activities are among our greatest hobbies, and as we have several cabins spread around the island, we can go for longer trips and stay overnight. The scenery is breathtaking and you never grow tired of walking outside. The ocean contrasts to the barren black mountains, which in summertime are covered by green moss. There is not much wildlife here except for thousands of birds. They keep up in small mountain posts but they are much less reserved than other birds as they have not learned to fear us. You can almost touch them when walking in the mountains. However, there are sometimes whales that come close to the shores here, and you can sometimes spot seals as well. It is difficult to describe living on this magnificent island, because I find it hard to know where to begin. It is a very special experience that changes the lives of the people coming here. This is a known phenomenon called the Arctic bug. The Arctic life enters your heart and will be there for ever. I have never regretted coming here, and it is highly likely that I will return at a later point. Six months here have flown passed, and I know that when I'm back at the main land I will miss this place. Ok, I think that's all I can say right now. Keep up your nice page :)
Greetings from Elise at Jan Mayen Meteorological Station.

Elise - you are one of the coolest, friendliest and most beautiful people of Jan Mayen - that's for sure! OK, I know there are not that many people living there, but nevertheless: thanks a million - your answer is highly appreciated! It's great to hear from your personal experiences and thanks for sharing them with me and with fellow bloggers from all over the globe. Now I really would like to walk on an island like Jan Mayen one day and get infected with this Arctic bug! You give us so many things to think about - like your information about birds that are not afraid of human beings. That sure sounds like a piece of paradise to me!
Making a weather forecast in a constant cold climate like that, shouldn't have to be so hard, I suppose - so you must have enough time to have some fun too. But I'm sure there's a lot more to working at a Meteorological Station than I expect...
Thanks again for your kind answers. Now I can't wait to hop to my next far away island in March. Stay tuned, everybody! Source pics

UPDATE: I also found a great site about a Norwegian / Dutch climbing expedition to Beerenberg on Jan Mayen with some cool pics. Check this out!


Carolanne said...

Wow! That's really cool - in more ways than one. :)
I'm not sure I'd want the artic bug. As much as it would be nice to perhaps visit the island, to have to go back again and again might turn into frustration when I couldn't afford to. LOL
Elise sounded like a lovely person!
Looking forward to the next island tour you conduct!

Vicki said...

How fascinating! That was so sweet of Elise to reply and to provide so much information.

The birds in the photo resemble puffins, which we saw in abundance in Alaska.

I think I can sort of understand the "Arctic Bug" to which Elise referred. When we visited Alaska, I found myself almost ready to move there for a year - even willing to live in a cabin where you spend your entire summer laying in supplies for the long, cold, dark winter. It's still hovering in the back of my mind...(but the practical, realistic side of me admits that I'll never do that now...maybe when I was much younger...).

This has been a great adventure! Thank you so much for sharing it with us!

little david said...

What a wonderful response from Elise! Paul, this is a truly exciting quest you have taken up. I'm afraid I would never be bitten by the Arctic bug (since you have to go there first!) because when I think of islands, I remember Hawaii and Fiji. Ah, warm sand and refreshing oceans swims!

Art said...

That's so cool. And that first pic is awesome!