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Day five: Beach time

Posted on 15 June 2008

German Ambassadors for Change, Greta and Johannes, describe the day's lecture from a scientist from the University of Kiel, Zodiac speedboat exploration of a glacier, seal-spotting - and swimming in the freezing Arctic Ocean!!
When we woke up today in the harbour of Longyearbyen we could already see the sun shining. Our first thought: “This is a great day for a beach trip!”

First of all we had a really detailed lecture about the effects of climate change on marine life in arctic waters by Dr Michael Roleda, a scientist from the University of Kiel, Germany, who came all the way up here only for us. The lecture highlighted the complexity of the problem of climate change by talking about the impacts on algae. He showed us that you have to take other aspects besides climate change into consideration such as the acidification of the sea in order to understand the whole arctic maritime system.

After having a two hour chill, because we really needed a time out from all the science and powwows of the last few days, we put all our warm clothes on and went for a zodiac trip to Ymerbukta, Nw Isfjord. There we had a nice walk in front of a glacier and saw some seals sleeping and enjoying the sun on the pack ice.

On the way back to the beach some of us were already warming up and preparing themselves for a refreshing bath in the Arctic Ocean, which was nearly at its freezing point. With every step we got nearer to the beach some of us were regretting their loud announcements about wanting to take a bath.

But in fact nearly all of the ambassadors and some of the adults were beginning to sing: “It’s getting hot in here. Carbon overload … Hot in here, so hot … I wanna take my clothes off.”

And this is what we did. We stayed in the water for a few seconds but it was long enough to get really cold. With way more adrenalin in our blood than before we went on the Zodiacs and straight into the sauna.

Today’s mission accomplished!

Voyage for the Future participants brave the chill and swim - in the freezing Arctic Ocean.