We had never been so far north into the high Arctic before, nor in such a remote place. Villum research station is managed by Jørgen Skafte from the University of Aarhus and it is integrated in the military Station Nord, operated by a crew of five members that enroll voluntarily for two years. The surroundings are a peaceful desert flanked by ice covered sea on one side and a giant glacier on the other side. An unusual amount of snow this year kept the landscape dressed in white. Vegetation was scarce but flowering was strikingly rapid as melt occurred. Temperatures were not harsh, they oscillated between -2◦C and 10◦C and visibility was good most of the time, although fog established quickly some of the days. We had a wonderful stay in Villum. Digging on the frozen soil was challenging and because of the snow we had to use snowshoes to reach the sampling spots. Nevertheless we completed the planned work successfully and were provided with all additional materials we needed from the scientific station. During the meals and after work we had the opportunity to spend time with the Station Nord crew and also with the other scientists staying in the station. Through their enriching experiences we learn a lot about doing research and living in the north: from the logistic complications of preparing expeditions to encounters with wildlife, or how to operate machines in complete darkness at -50°C. I am heartily grateful to the SPI for their financial support to our research in this amazing environment. We am looking forward to coming back next year!
By Carla Perez Mon, Polar Access Fund grantee 2018