Showing posts from 2016

Video from Tromsø

I threw together a video from my GoPro clips I took when I was working in Tromsø earlier this month.

Tagging herring in Kaldfjord, Norway from Justine Diaz on Vimeo.

Happy Holidays

A belated Merry Christmas from us! Here are some pictures taken over the holidays. We are currently at the cabin, and will drive back to Bergen on New Year's Day.

Long drive, but made it!

Last night we drove from Bergen to Oslo. The drive usually takes about 8 hours, but due to the weather we got stuck waiting in line for the plow to lead our convoy over Hardangervidda (the plateau). We sat waiting for 3 hours!

It wasn't all bad though. We saw people letting their dogs out, and let Pancho join the fun. There was another Spanish water dog too! So we were glad they got to play before continuing driving another 5 hours.

We got to Oslo around 2:35AM (we left Bergen at 4pm). The house looks great! Full of Christmas decorations and Tron did a great job on the lights!

No snow here, but at least it isn't pouring rain like it is in Bergen.

Miss you all xoxo

Some extras from the tokt

Pardon any wild yelling in the whale video. It was just way too cool!

Day 8 | Packing up in the snow and a whale safari

The past few days have been all dependent on the weather. If the winds came from the west/northwest, then the platform we worked from would be too unstable to work on. Another delay was if the fishing vessel did not find us any herring to tag. The weather in northern Norway changes very quickly and we just had to roll with it. So we had a day of only a few hours to work, and the following day we tried to work since the wind was coming from the south. The platform was then pretty stable, but the wind was gusting snow and rain into our faces. It was a rough night, in my opinion.

This morning we packed up most of the gear. The weather was just too unpredictable and unstable to guarantee work today and the fishing boat wanted to get headed south again. We had to fill up more water and diesel in the sailboat after loading up the fishing boat with some of our equipment. I managed to shower (only the second time since I have been on board) while we filled the water tank. When I was finished…

Day 4 | Wild night, a day off and a whale sighting

Last night was rough! Yesterday we managed to tag 1047 herring. A new record number for this tokt! When we take breaks and the end of the day we release the herring we have in the nets. Somehow during that process I jammed my thumb, and it's now swollen and painful. Black and blue.

After dinner the winds picked up. We knew this would happen so we moved the boat over to the docks connected to land after releasing the herring and before dinner. Then the winds began gusting!

I'm sleeping in the bow of the boat. The sail came loose and had to be tied in again. Without the use of my left thumb, I'm incapable of helping and thus a pretty useless sailor again. I've been so accident prone on this tokt. The guys and our skipper (a tiny woman from Switzerland) got the rigging secured and now the boat is a little bit better.

The winds continued howling all night, and I was glad we did not tag herring today, although we had a few hours of ok weather. Light breeze and a little rai…

Day 2 | Much better day

Today I woke up for breakfast a little before 7:30 and felt much better. No headache. I was glad to not have to worry about going to the hospital to check on my head
! We were told that the fishermen needed to fill their quota first and then they could deliver fish to us. In the meantime, we took the sailboat to another dock to fill up our water tank. None of us have had a shower since Wednesday! Definitely like camping on board, but pretty cool and different.

Since the sky was clear it started to get light by 9AM. We had daylight until 2:30PM. We did not see any whales today, but I have seen some weak northern lights. I'm hoping that they will get stronger.

My primary task this cruise has been releasing the fish after they were tagged. All the tasks are equally monotonous, but not bad. The fish are held in a net pen until we are finished tagging for the day. This is so that if any don't survive the tagging process we can pluck them out and reuse the tag.

It's quite hard …

Herring Tagging Trip: day 1

Pancho did much better than expected on the plane from Bergen to Oslo! He got out of his crate and was so happy, and I was glad to not find puke in his crate. When we got to the Engebrethsen's house he had so much energy, and we finally got to bed around 11:30.

At 5:45 my alarm went off. Rigmor was dropping me off at the bus stop for the airport bus at 6:15. I landed at Tromsø a little before 10AM. There was light in the sky, but the clouds make it quite dark and gloomy. I was picked up by a girl working for the yachting company we are renting the sailboat from, and we drove about 25 minutes outside of Tromsø to an area called Kaldfjord. She and I waited by the dock for probably at least an hour while the fishermen brought some herring over to our nets for marking. And we spotted a lone killer whale. He hung around for a couple of minutes, and not long enough for me to get out my camera.

We are sleeping on a 50 foot sailboat for this tokt/excursion. It's tight, but quite neat…

The next 10 days...

Tonight Pancho and I are flying to Oslo. Pancho will stay with Rigmor while I work in Tromsø tagging herring. Fingers crossed that he is ok this time around on the plane!

I have been in touch with my colleagues a bit about this "tokt" because I have never tagged fish before, and I have been told that it is very different working conditions from a normal survey ("tokt").

We are sleeping on a 50 ft. sailboat that is attached to a floating platform where we will work from. Out in the elements! It is around freezing temperatures with a little wind, rain and snow; so, I've been well informed to bring lots of wool.

Four of my colleagues have been up there since November 21st, and as of a couple of days ago they just had their first shower. One of them said that it is pretty cool the first night, but from day to onward it is pretty tight in the boat and comparable to camping. It isn't possible to wash clothes, but at the same time I was told not to bring too much…

Work lately

I will be heading back out on survey ("tokt") on December 1st working from a floating dock near Tromsø to mark herring. But since my last excursion I've been at the office learning how to age fish using otoliths or scales. Right now I'm being taught about Norwegian Spring Spawning herring (the most economically valuable fish that we study). Thought I'd share some pictures.

What my friends from around the world are saying about the election

I have made friends from all over the world, and their voices on facebook were that of fear, despair and shock. I thought I'd share here what they all said this morning when we woke up to the disturbing news.

..Norwegians are just telling me to look forward to Christmas and just stay in Norway a little longer haha!

New Zealand
Disappointed and gutted.... feel like getting into a huddle, In need a pep talk

2016 -The year where people made decisions and woke up to regret them the next day.

Oh shit America...

I can't sit by silently. I'm devastated, like so many of my colleagues. That in this day and age: lying, corruption, sexism, racism and so many other things can be seen as okay. Its 2016 for heavens sake!

This election thing is getting scary very quickly.

It's times like these, we can truely appreciate living in little New Zealand. The nightmare is becoming reality......

Well when he ignores Climate Change Florida will be first to go.

Am thinking there may be a busin…


At the end of August, we bid on a house and "won" it after only being inside for all of 5 minutes. In reality, we probably paid mainly for the location, but we truly have the best spot in Bergen (in our opinion). The house was built in 1923 and needs a bit of love, but we have decided to take on little-by-little.

While Marius was preparing the apartment for sale, I took on the first project myself. Our foyer was a nice shade of yellow, but I painted it white. I finally figured out why Scandinavians paint their interiors white.. With so little daylight in the winters, it is necessary to have the indoors be as bright as possible to combat the long dark days from November to March.

We've also started freshening up the living room. Before it was a shade of beige, and now it will be...white.

I touched up the kitchen by getting rid of the flower wallpaper and painting it white. We plan to paint the cupboards and drawers under the counter top a different color...but we aren…

A weekend in Iceland

This past weekend we revisited Iceland three years after my first visit. This time the reason was to visit Katrine who has been studying there this month.

I really enjoy the relaxed vibe of Reykjavik. No one is in a hurry, and it's very quiet considering it is the largest city in Iceland.

We got in very late on Friday night - rented a car and drove it to our AirBnB. We finally got to bed at 2:30AM local time (4:30AM Norwegian time), and had 6 hours to sleep before we were expected to be at Katrine's place for breakfast. When our alarms went off we threw on our hiking clothes and packed our bags for our daytrip. We were greeted with a great breakfast (including Skyr!! - Icelandic style yoghurt - my favorite).

Saturday's itinerary was the Golden Circle. Without stopping it takes a little over three hours to drive the route. We started around 10 and got back by 6-ish. The highlights of the drive are Þingvellir, Gullfoss and Geysir.
Þingvellir(or Thingvellir) - "The Parli…