Today we are aching! Our mega-hike yesterday has left us a little worse for wear, so today we take the opportunity to catalogue our sample haul and later investigate nearby thermal springs in preparation for sampling tomorrow. These springs are very understudied with regards to their microbiology, and whilst not particularly ‘hot’ (around 13 °C), they are radioactive which makes them an interesting target. Our afternoon hike takes place under full sunshine, making it surprisingly warm – the only thing reminding us of our polar location are the ice bergs floating by along the coast. However, with the heat come the mosquitoes, and by the evening we have a collection of 39 bites between us. The views around the spring site are fantastic, and the mozzies, annoying as they are, don’t detract from how amazing Disko Island looks on a good day.
Our trip so far has been peppered with a variety of interesting people. On our journey from Ilulissat we met an American English language professor from California who was writing a book on Greenland, and whilst at Arctic Station we have met all types of scientists, from a bug man based at Stirling University (UK) collecting Greenlandic Seed Bugs, to a bunch of people researching permafrost, and a pair from Nottingham University (UK) searching for biomarkers in arctic lake sediments. During these summer months, the arctic environment becomes a hive of academic activity, demonstrating the importance of these localities to understanding polar environments and processes.