We have been self-isolating for close to 9 months in an uninsulated 20m2 trappers cabin built in 1930- with no running water or electricity.
We are 140 km from any store, running water, hot pizza, Netflix, fresh fruits and vegetables, our family/friends, a washing machine and comforts of regular life. We have not had a shower for close to 9 months.
We have been entirely self-sufficient when things go wrong, door blown off in the hurricane storm, trapped inside due to snowstorm and snow piled up in front of the door, Boat engine failing, Satellite devices failed, with cold temps down to -34’c.
We have coping tools, survival skills, rifles and experience to not just survive but thrive and we each have high heels and a black dress-we are women after all!
We are the first woman in history to overwinter in Svalbard without a man! Our global network and support has largely come from female leadership around the world!
We are working with international scientists studying climate change, the aurora, the clouds, the ocean, the ice, the snow, phytoplankton, sea ice temperature- we have 7 projects in total that we are collecting data for.
We are ‘rocket citizen scientists’ for NASA having observed and photographed a rocket launch in December 2019 -launched to study the aurora to see if there is a correlation between climate change and its activities.
We have had 35 Polar bear encounters, the closest being 2 metres away. The largest Polar bear was 600 kg! We have seen a 4-month old Polar bear cub- the first to officially document this for researchers.
We have endured the long polar night with 24 hrs of total darkness for over 3 months! Very tough! We have had the toughest winter with hurricane winds and the coldest temperatures on record for the past 15 years, -34 with windchill -45’c.
We have been completely isolated and alone due to extreme ice conditions and inaccessibility We have a zero-carbon footprint- solar and wind for power!
We have 2 lifelines here to connect us to others: a MetOcean-Iridium Satellite device and Lynx Snowmobiles.
We never, ever go outside without a flare gun or rifle due to the Polar bears. Arctic Fox, Reindeer, Seals, Ptarmigans, Polar Bears, Ice, snow and mother nature are our neighbors.
Wood we use has drifted in from Siberia that we have dragged from a distant shore to our location Bamsebu, chopped and used for firewood- our primary heat source!
We have, connected with hundreds of schools and over 5,000 school kids from around the world on subjects that range from Technology, Food, our Ocean, Citizen Science to Climate Change- each with Hilde and Sunniva and an expert on the call. We will continue these hosted calls starting late May until we leave here.
We use our small 20 sqmtr space for training with TA2 bands and a video program 6 days a week- routine and daily habits are a necessity for coping and survival here in this small space.
We have cancelled a May 7-11th pickup voyage that our sponsors, science partners, close friends, family and invited Press/Media were to be on. We are not yet sure how long we will stay here now due to Covid-19….
Mother nature needs her daughters and we have answered the call!
Sunniva and Hide
From Hearts in the ice