Sunday, August 17, 2014


We’re home!  One year and 4 days after leaving on August 12, 2013 for Costa Rica, our year adventure has come to a close.  We will be processing what we’ve learned and the experiences we’ve had for months, if not years.  We still owe a few posts about the Arctic, which are coming.

We are all ready to be home, though not because we’ve grown tired of traveling.  Jamie and Jason are so looking forward to seeing friends, as are we.  But it’s also just time for us to move to the next chapter of our lives.  We never found ourselves wishing for the trip to end sooner than it did, but neither did we want it to continue longer than it has.

Thank you to all who have followed us, there’s likely a few more posts to come over the coming weeks.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Arctic - and some glacier research

We just spent almost two weeks Svalbard, a group of Norwegian islands in the very far north.  We were actually only about 800 miles from the North Pole.  Not only was there no night, but the sun won't go down for any part of the day until the end of August (conversely, in the winter there are almost 4 months of no sun).

We'll be doing some posts about our experiences there, but if you'd like to see our pictures, check out the Svalbard entry (it's the last one) on the Photos page of our blog.

Also, we had dinner with a great group of people on their way to Ny-Ă…lesund, a remote research station on Svalbard.  I connected with Peggy McNeal, a middle-school science teacher from El Cajon, California, who is part of the PolarTREC organization.  PolarTREC is a program in which K-12 teachers spend 3-6 weeks participating in hands-on field research experiences in the polar regions.

Peggy, via PolarTREC, was connected with the Svalbard REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) team, a group of scientists and college students doing research on glaciers in Svalbard.

Dinner with the Svalbard REU team
They are now in the middle of their research.  Check out Peggy's blog, they are doing some really cool stuff and having some amazing experiences, including a very close encounter with a polar bear!  (look at her August 1st and August 2nd entries).

The Clever Dutch and How They Manage Water

This is a post we also did for The Wilderness Classroom.

Have you ever tried to build barriers to protect a sandcastle from waves on an ocean beach? At a much bigger scale, this is the same problem The Netherlands faces (The Netherlands is sometimes called Holland and people from the Netherlands are the Dutch).  Almost half the country is either below sea level or less than 3 feet above sea level.  The three largest cities (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague) are all in these low-lying regions.

Building a sand castle in a flood prone area
While in the Netherlands, we visited the Zuiderzee (pronounced zow-der zay) Museum, to see an exhibit about floods in Dutch history.  We were amazed at the number of serious floods the country has experienced. To protect their country from floods, the Dutch have built many dikes, barriers, and pumps. 

List of serious floods in Dutch history at Zuiderzee Museum