Welcome... Velkommen


This is my, Oliver Grant's, re-vamped Blog, which I originally created for my trip to the Arctic way back in 2011 (hence the name).

Since then I have graduated from the University of Reading, entered the world of work with Hertfordshire County Council, and then rejected real life to go back to University!

I am now about to embark on a Master's course at the University of Bergen, Norway! Studying Quaternary Geology and Palaeoclimatology, and hope to share some experiences here.

Ha Det!

Some Photographs from the Field...

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Last Day on Svalbard!

So the time has finally come to be departing this incredible place! Can't believe 5 months have passed so quickly, despite the last two with no daylight! I still can't believe how lucky we have been to experience the Arctic, and to study here is still unreal! Thank you UNIS, Tusen Takk Svalbard, and thanks to all you who have read this blog!

But the adventure is not yet over, We may be back to civilisation tomorrow, but that means we can enjoy what Norway has to offer... Bring on Oslo and Bergen! (and the sun, and trees... and fresh fruit and vegetables)

Then just to get the beard through security... wish me luck!

Ha Det!
p.s. Merry Christmas y'all! God Jul Til Alle!

Monday, 5 December 2011

Cabin Fever!

So in two weeks time we'll be waking up to daylight in Oslo, or Bergen... or maybe still in Sir David Attenborough approved Longyearbyen (if Katla erupts!) And now our time is coming to an end on Svalbard we have managed to get out and about, partly in procrastination from revision, and also thanks to the freedom from Term Projects!Last week we celebrated the end of term projects in style (beer... lots of beer, and free pizza!) and then our class hit the Student Cabin for yet more beer! the results can be seen in this photo...
I think the dark is finally getting to us! but at least we still have our singing voice!

We also managed to visit one of the Moraine/Ice caves nearby this week, it was pretty 127 hours-ey! but luckily we all made it out of the small entrance! some of the pictures are in the slideshow :) but here is me admiring some Ice crystals...

Other exciting adventures this week included cross country skiing around town! The Norwegians were terrified of "Brits on Skis" but no one got hurt... badly... anyway here is a great "action" shot (snaked from Alice) note the crazy 80's ski instructor in the middle...
So just two exams and we are done! heres hoping for some more epic procrastination adventures! Enjoy December!
Ha Det!

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Work work work...

So I realised I haven't updated this for a while, but I promise there is a good reason... with two term projects and presentations due in the next two weeks it's been a pretty busy time!
But there is still some time for fun! last week for example we spent friday evening in the UNIS sauna... (and possibly broke the fire alarm)... apparently Europeans love being in a hot room on uncomfortable benches sitting innapropriately close to sweaty naked people, but if you cant beat them, join them!

This week is the "legendary" kitchen to kitchen party... like a bar crawl through the student barracks! but with these deadlines looming it looks like it might be a pretty tame affair, but still an excuse to dress up!

In other news I have bought a coat (see photo)! which is definitely the most extravagant purchase of my life, but so worth it! can go out in just a t-shirt in -12! might be a bit much for the british "winter" though!

Hope you all enjoyed "corduroy" day yesterday (11/11/11)?


Saturday, 22 October 2011

Ice Ice Breaker...

Wagwan? So it's been a pretty busy few weeks, with the fleamarket followed by last weekends epic IceBreaker party! which was organised by Team Reading! with help from some Russians! (all the stereotypes about Russians and Vodka are true it seems).

As it was organised by Reading people it was no suprise that it was so late in the term, but I think ice was successfully broken still, it was great to see so many creative efforts at shipwrecked/underwater themed costumes. Unfortunately I couldn't be bothered to take any photos of the party, and it seems that even a week on there are very few on facebook, but I'll post one here... here's it is...

(Thanks Fran for the photo)

Unfortunately from this photo you can't see my fabulous homeless-Jesus-esque shipwreck victim outfit. What you can see though is a lot of crazy (messy) Europeans! and a ship made of cardboard! which provided us with a pretty long job cleaning up the next day!

Other than that its been getting dark! today we had just 4 hours of sunlight, but it seems to help with productivity, especially as the work (and evil dissertation progress report) is starting to pile up... much like the snow :D.

Tonight is "THE BIGGEST DUB-STEP party on Svalbard EVER!!!"... which should be an experience, and quite a contrast to the Dark Season Blues festival which is going on at the moment, I'll keep you posted.

Ha Det!

Monday, 10 October 2011


'Sup? so as "leader" of the student environmental group at UNIS (which is us guys from Reading) we were told about two weeks ago that we were responsible for running a fleamarket to raise money for charity (TV-Aksjonen - a bit like Norwegian children in need, but they clear landmines rather than give money to corrupt governments). And so this weekend just gone we raised 38,509.00 Krone... £4299.85 by selling other peoples old crap! (and some coffee and cake) so yeah Team Reading! We also bagged ourselves some retro gems as you can see (pictures below).
In other news... it's getting pretty cold, this week the maximum temperature has been -4.7! but that means snow... and a frosty beard! We only have about two weeks left of sunlight now so had better make the most of it! The Icebreaker party next week will be a great way to see in the winter!
So... Peace out y'all!
Ha Det!

As you can see I am a very adaptable model...

Saturday, 1 October 2011


So I guess it's not really a suprise considering I'm in the Arctic but still... It's snowing!Gotta be the first time I've ever had a snowball fight in October!

Hope you are all enjoying the Indian summer?

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Brew, Banana, Bread...

Yo! So it's been a while since my last post, But it has been pretty exciting since the AG-211 field trip! Last weekend we went on a hike trying to reach an abandoned Russian mining town of Colesbukta, but ended up being stranded (due to the tide) at a different abandoned Russian mining town, which could only be described as a horror movie set! With no tents we were pretty much forced to sleep in a decrepit old hut (don't tell Sysselmann!) on saturday (17th) night! and then treck back (all the way uphill somehow!) on sunday trying to avoid a potential snow storm!Last week we chilled in the lab wearing white coats and weighing beakers, which is far more fun than it sounds. Me, Mike and Oscar are also brewing our own cider, which is due any day now... I'll update y'all on the success of Frosty-Nips Arctic Cider, hopefully not from the confines of the bathroom...
Talking of yeast... I made bread! and also banana bread, see the pictures!
Other than that this weekend was a bit of a write-off after friday... so yeah time to catch up on some sleep!
Ha Det!
Frosty-Nips Arctic Cider (with "Ghetto Air-lock")
White Bread!
Banana "Bread"

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Ahoy! Land-ho!

Hey hey! So finally back on solid ground after an epic 11 days aboard (thats a nautical term) the Helmer Hanssen research ship for our AG-211 field trip! The majority of time was spent eating and sleeping... a very welcome routine! And I managed to keep most of it down...mostly.
We did do some work/learning whilst being the most expensive students in the world (around £120,000 for the 11 days... cheers Norwegian government). Gravity coring (thats a geological term) and box coring (also a geological term) were what we spent our days doing/picking apart and looking at lots of mud! We were also responsible for making sure the swaffle bathymetry data (thats a made up term) was collected properly, which essentially meant sitting in an important looking chair surrounded by important looking screens showing important looking information... and then just clicking the mouse occasionally!
No P-Bears this time, but lots of food and errr...
we also looked at Foraminifera down a microscope... ermm....
Check out the photos! I'll post some here! maybe even a panorama or two... we did see some stunning sunsets, well at least one, but also a crazy light beam thing that is yet unexplained... something like a distant sunset.
So ja, enjoy! I now have to work off the svalbelly...
Ha Det!

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Winter's coming...

'Sup?! So its been a pretty quiet week recovering from the epic AG-210 fieldtrip... by quiet I mean drinking, eating free (very good) pizza, and err more drinking!We have managed to squeeze some work in between sleep and drink... presenting our field report to a very tired class! And also preparing for the AG-211 cruise! 9 days on a luxury(ish) research boat heading to unchartered waters... Cant wait!
Also the beard is coming along quite nicely, should be ready for the looming winter, especially as the nights are drawing in, well two hours of sort-of darkness...
Ha Det!

Monday, 29 August 2011

Field-trip and Polar Bear!

So earlier today we got back from an incredible week of field-tripping (lots of tripping on Alice's part) in which we:
  • Saw a POLAR BEAR!... the only field trip group this year and the first time in 5 years for our lecturer!
  • Saw Walruses!
  • Spotted loads of Puffins
  • Had a pod of 8/9 White Whales swim past our camp
  • Sent postcards from the worlds most northerly post office (Ne Alesund)
  • Drank a beer (or two... maybe three...) in the most northern pub!
  • Visited the abandoned and very creepy Russian mining town of Pyramiden
  • Drove around loads in Zodiacs (inflatable boats) which meant donning the very fetching survival suits
  • Casually soaked in a hot tub while anchored by a Glacier
  • Took hundreds of photographs
  • ... oh and I guess a bit of work here and there... mostly digging and looking... proudly
  • Plus loads more!
So yeah a pretty exhausting week being cut-off from civilisation (probably for the best having seen the scores from the weeked) but an unforgettable one! please enjoy the photos! heres the Polar Bear (whimpering off into the distance after a good bare-handed wrestle)...
Ha Det!

Saturday, 20 August 2011

So the Heatwave Continues!

Hey! Now into our third week we have been treated to the warmest period since 1998! with temperatures hitting 17.1degC! it's even made the national news! Who'd have thought we'd be in shorts and t-shirts in the arctic?... especially as only a week ago we had snow! In other news after another successful friday gathering the moon was visible for the first time in the two weeks we've been here... even though it was still broad daylight and 4am...

So on monday we are off on the Quaternary History of Svalbard field trip for a week which involves 3 days on a boat and 4 days camping... which means Polar Bear watch with huskies (or tamed Wolves as I like to think of them)! but also some serious work, it appears the term projects will not write themselves, so best be off to read!
Ha Det!

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

First Days of School!

So, after spending nearly two weeks chilling out and exploring Longyearbyen we have finally started lectures! The lecturer has already invited us out for beer and pizza so not the average first school day! In other news we are still struggling to get hold of a rifle so are yet to really get out of Longyearbyen... although it's all good anyway! We've been able to watch football, hit the gym and start an explosive fire (having to dodge exploding rocks (extreme geology!)). Best get reading!
Ha Det!

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Flexing the Guns...

So we are now into week 2! and are ready to face a Polar Bear thanks to our rifle training! although I hope my contact lense doesn't fall out in a real situation. After firing 20 rounds it was time to don the fetching life-suits and jump in the Arctic ocean... shame they were as holey as the shooting targets.
So after shooting and freezing we celebrated Oscars 21st in er... style on thursday, beer pong and Minttu shots are a bad combination, especially when you have to get up at 7:30 for first aid training the next day! (Thanks to the birthday boy for waking me). So a long day yesterday, the recovery position was definitely needed. After some camp set-up and trip wire training we were then whisked off to the supermarket to buy supplies for the Friday gathering! So today might well be a write-off, thank god for the start of the football season!

Also we had our first real snow! here is Mike loving it... either that or providing a moving target on the shooting range...
...and some snow capped mountains...

Ha Det!

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Day 5... Getting Stuff Done!

Wagwan? So after watching Get Rich Or Die Trying (with FiddyC) we have decided to form our own gang, the likes of which the streets of Svalbard have never seen before! This is the tip of a very productive iceberg! We have been on a 5 mile hike (casually strolling accross two glaciers as you do(pictures above)), been on an epic shop, and an even more epic walk home! Went for a run this morning having seriously overestimated my fitness/ability to put one leg in front of the other! and have finally signed up for the library and access cards! now to drink Minttu and some sweet Aass... stay safe out there.Ha Det!

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Day 3... Finally have the internet working!

Hey! so after arriving in the arctic on thursday night (if you can call it that!) the last two days have flown by! After surviving a polar bear attack (from the comfort of our halls and a distance of 25 miles) we have so far:
  • Posed as residents of a 5 star hotel to get a free breakfast
  • Been very confused by the midnight sun
  • Walked into town and bought a sandwich (definitely worth a mention)
  • Been suitably shocked at how expensive everything is!
  • Cooked a whale bolognese... quarried over the ethics, but it's cheap protein... and cheap won out!
  • Finally connected to the internet
  • Met loads of cool people from all over the world!
  • Attended the infamous "friday gathering" at the uni, drinking 10 Krone (£1.20) beers
  • Paid 46 Krone (£5.48) for a Carlsberg at a bar
  • Slept loads
  • Climbed up to an abandoned coal mine and explored
  • Took lots of pictures
There is still so much to do... so best catch up on my sleep, 6 hour hike in the mountains tomorrow!
Ha det!

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Test Test Testes Test

Woo new Blog! lets hope I actually remember/bother to update it!