Expedition Logbook

Expedition Logbook

  • September 4, 2018

    Expedition complete! Nanuq arrives in Tromsø

    After crossing the Barents Sea, Polarquest2018 crew enjoyed the wonderful coast of northern Norway. Sailing through endless fjords, the team welcomed the end of the mission exploring the wilderness, lighting fires on the beach and admiring auroras. The voyage has now ended, Nanuq being at anchor in Tromsø harbour.

  • August 30, 2018

    Crossing the Barents Sea

    “Abbiamo terminato ieri sera la traversata del Mare di Barents. È stata una navigazione piuttosto impegnativa, anche per le condizioni del mare, non proprio gentilissime. Nanuq ha passato la notte all’ancora presso Tufjord, piccola baia a Nord della Norvegia. Ne abbiamo approfittato per una breve passeggiata a terra. Riprendiamo ora la navigazione verso dei fiordi […]

  • August 23, 2018

    Exploring an abandoned Russian town

    Nanuq docked at Pyramiden today, a Russian settlement and former coal-mining town on the archipelago of Svalbard, Norway. Since coal-mining activities ceased in 1998, its has remained largely abandoned with most of its infrastructure and buildings still in place.

  • August 22, 2018

    Nanuq completes circumnavigation of Svalbard!

    On 22 August 2018, 21:30 local time, Polarquest2018’s sailboat Nanuq successfully completed the circumnavigation of the Svalbard archipelago. It closed the loop in Isfjord, just outside Longyearbyen, where the Svalbard leg of the expedition started on 4 August. Read the press statement: Polarquest2018: mission accomplished! (English, Italian)

  • August 21, 2018

    Arrival at Magical Hornsund

    The PolarQuest team docked at the Polish Polar research station at Hornsund, where they received a warm welcome from the research team there! After wonderful conversation, the team went on to explore the area – spotting 3 polar bears and a whale! Read about the full encounter in Paola Catapano’s latest dispatch.

  • August 20, 2018

    Encounter with Albedo – a rowboat circumnavigating Svalbard!

    You never know what – or who! – you will encounter in the Svalbard. While returning to Longyearbyen, the PolarQuest team met with Albedo, a special rowboat from Sweden which had just completed the circumnavigation of Svalbard! Glenn and Soren, the two Swedes on board, are biologists and expert kayakers. They were carrying out this […]

  • August 16, 2018

    Search for bouy leads to polar bear encounter!

    The team went in search of RINGO today, a buoy deployed right on the geographical North Pole in April 2016 by Frederic Vivier. The search by foot came to an abrupt halt, however, when the team encountered… a polar bear! Paola Catapano describes: “Once again, a polar bear encounter is in the way of RINGO! […]

  • August 15, 2018

    AURORA teams create 3D model of Alpiniøya island

    While exploring Alpiniøya island by drone, PolarQuest2018 team members Mike Struik (PolarQuest 2018 Technical Coordinator) and Gianluca Casagrande (Italian Geographical Society and European University of Rome) performed an expeditive aero-photogrammetric survey of Alpiniøya. Read their full project update here, or our recent update about the AURORA project (in Italian) here.

  • August 14, 2018

    Following the Red Tent

    In search of the lost Airship ITALIA, Nanuq followed the exact trajectory of the Red Tent drift, adjusted to its distance from the lost airship envelope collecting data from the sea bottom all along for over 5 hours – as long as the sea conditions allowed and the team could keep the engine on a […]

  • August 13, 2018

    Northern-most microplastics measurement taken!

    Team member Safiria Buono took a microplastics measurement using the Mantanet at 82°7 N! She sent this short message about the sad experience: “Though my hands are frozen, my greatest fear was to catch a piece of ice in the Mantanet, which would have broken it… It was so sad to find a piece of […]

  • August 13, 2018

    Crew says prayer for Airship ITALIA

    The PolarQuest team have arrived at the crash area of the Airship ITALIA: 81°14N 25°25 E. These were the coordinates sent out by ITALIA’s survivors in their first SOS message, 24 hrs after the crash. It was an emotional moment, as the team said a prayer at the site, and left behind flowers and a […]

  • August 11, 2018

    Found! Signs of the “Albertini group”

    While exploring Kapp Rubin and Nordkapp, the PolarQuest team discovered cairns built by the “Albertini group” of survivors of Airship ITALIA! PolarQuest project leader, Paola Catapano, describes the search and expedition in her latest dispatch: “Today we explored on land and by drone Kapp Rubin and Nordkapp, where Italian alpine rescue teams set their base camps to […]

  • August 10, 2018

    Nanuq reaches 80°N!

    The Polarquest team reached a new milestone today: 80°N! Despite now being so far from “civilisation”, the Nanuq crew is still finding signs of human impact on the planet… plastic and other garbage litters the coastline.

  • August 8, 2018

    Dispatch from Nanuq: unsustainable tourism

    Every hour on Nanuq is a day’s worth of experiences. Project leader Paola Catapano sent in her second dispatch of 8 August, describing the contrasts Nanuq is witnessing in the Arctic. On the one hand, undisturbed nature – on the other, unsustainable tourism: “We left in the full sun, and the shining beauty of the […]

  • August 8, 2018

    Dispatch from Nanuq: On the heels of a polar bear

    Paola Catapano sends the first dispatch from Nanuq’s excursion into Northern Svalbard. The adventure features signs of royals, polar bears and polluting fishermen – and it is just day one! “Peter gave me the honour of the helm for this first sail out of Ny Alesund and it was great to slalom among ice blocks […]

  • August 6, 2018

    The Arctic Adventure begins!

    Nanuq set off from Ny Alesund this afternoon, beginning the next truly adventurous leg of its journey North. The Polarquest team will be at sea for two weeks, carrying out scientific exploration of the northermost part of svalbard and searching for the Airship ITALIA. Their departure came after a 2 day rest in Ny Alesund, […]

  • August 6, 2018

    Dispatch from Nanuq: (Mis)Adventures in Svalbard

    We have seen many arctic animals on our expedition so far. Polar bears, reindeers, walruses… but ones who surprised us most were the belugas spotted at the Recherche Fjord. Their enchanting and distracting dance preluded Nanuq being stranded for 12 hours… with its daggerboard cut in two!

  • August 5, 2018

    Arrival in Ny Alesund

    The PolarQuest2018 team arrived in Ny Alesund today, 5 August at 16.00. Their trip from Longyearbyen was extremely smooth, allowing Scientific Coordinator Frédéric Gillet and Safiria Buono to use the Mantanet to collect microplastic samples. Tomorrow, 6 August, Frédéric will head into the fjords outside Ny Alesund to deposit PCB sensors in the ice. These […]

  • August 4, 2018

    Next stop: Ny Alesund!

    After 4 days in Longyearbyen, on 4 August at 23:00 Nanuq cast off for Ny Alesund. The sailboat will arrive there tomorrow, 5 August, and join descendants of the Airship ITALIA for a special commemoration ceremony. Cast off! #Nanuq has set sail for Ny Alesund. pic.twitter.com/uWbasVeLBG — PolarQuest2018 (@Polarquest2018) August 4, 2018

  • August 2, 2018

    Dispatch from Nanuq: “We felt a big shock under the boat”

    The boat had just been stranded. The right daggerboard, the one on which we were supposed to put the sonar, was broken, stuck, but still attached to the boat.

  • August 1, 2018

    Nanuq arrives in Longyearbyen

    After crossing the Greenland Sea for 10 days and exploring the southernmost part of the Svalbard archipelago, Polarquest2018’s self-sustaining sailboat Nanuq has arrived in Longyearbyen, the capital of Spitzbergen, according to plan. The crossing conditions were “almost optimal, except for some fog and lack of wind on the approach to the South coast of Spitzbergen” […]

  • July 30, 2018

    Dispatch From Nanuq: arctic pollution

    Another dispatch from Safiria Buono! Safiria is working on the microplastics project on board Nanuq and describes how pervasive the material is in the Arctic environment: “Unfortunately, plastic is all too common out here. We have seen, during our shifts, a bit less than 10 big pieces of floating plastic in 7 days. The probability of […]

  • July 30, 2018

    Land – at last!

    Nanuq has just arrived at Svalbard, two days ahead of schedule! The team will be exploring the southern part of the archipelago before travelling to Longyearbyen.

  • July 27, 2018

    Dispatch from Nanuq: last sunset

    Mantanet operator Safiria Buono sent her first dispatch from Nanuq, describing life onboard and the progress of the microplastics project. “Time is different on the boat,” she describes. “No night, no day, no meal hours. Everything is at the rhythm of our shifts. Everything also takes longer: getting dressed, cooking, everything. You enjoy the little […]

  • July 26, 2018

    Reaching the 72nd parallel North

    Nanuq crossed into the 72nd parallel north - a circle of latitude in the Arctic where the sun is visible for 24 hours!

  • July 25, 2018

    Nanuq departs from Greenland

    After spending the night in Greenland, Nanuq left the port on the morning of 25 July at 5am CET and it is now heading towards Svalbard. Fog was heavy during the start of the day, so while they sailed past the biggest fjord in the world – they could not see it! Fortunately the weather […]

  • July 24, 2018

    Nanuq arrives at Illoqortormiut

    Illoqortormiut, Greenland, is one of the hardest to reach settlements in the world – only accessible by helicopter and (rarely) by boat. Known as the town “at the edge of the world” it has only 450 inhabitants… or, with the Nanuq crew, 460!

  • July 24, 2018

    Towards the 69th Parallel

    On their second day of navigation, Nanuq is now approaching the coast of Greenland on the 69th parallel.

  • July 23, 2018

    Encountering the first Iceberg

    Nanuq encounters its first big icebergs

  • July 23, 2018

    Crossing the Polar Circle

    Nanuq crosses the polar circle, continuing on its 10-day journey to the Svalbard archipelago.

  • July 22, 2018

    Nanuq departs from Iceland

    At 18.35 local time in Iceland, Nanuq cast off! The crew embarks on the first leg of the PolarQuest mission: a ten-day trip on rough seas to Longyearbyen, Svalbard archipelago.