Now back in the UK, after a fascinating trip. The helicopter finally made it to the iceberg on the last afternoon, which meant that the BBC could get the all-important aerial shots for the programme. And so, on a slightly misty, but otherwise clear night we steamed away from the berg, back to Ilulissat to make our way home. This has certainly been an extraordinary experience: a giant iceberg decaying before our very eyes, polar bears at every turn, with mist and fog swirling around adding to the surreal atmosphere.
Polar fieldwork can often be a bit of a lottery, especially when trying something new. Very often you come away with insights you would have never expected. This is definitely one of those occasions. All of the ship-based work was achieved, but very little of the iceberg-based activities came to fruition. Looking back, though, it’s now clear to me that, had we been able to set up camp in the middle of the ice island, we would have missed out on some important observations of the dominant iceberg-ocean interactions. Those observations are now in the process of being turned into hypotheses that can be tested using computer modelling, and possibly future fieldwork.
As for the filming activities, the programme will clearly take on a hue different to that originally planned. But the Series Producer is confident that they have what they need to make a good programme, so both the scientists and programme makers can be happy with the outcome, and we couldn’t have asked for more than that.