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Matt Willen Matt Willen | Tuesday 26. May 2009

Don´t Take Matt Collecting

I tagged along this afternoon with a class from the Marine and Coastal Management program at the University Center of the Westfjords as they took a field trip out to Flateyri to collect mussels. With great anticipation of mussels for dinner we left around 2:30 in the afternoon for Flateyri, and after two hours of mussel collecting had a grand total of 37 mussels to show for the effort. Given that my last trip to accompany a group collecting a potential meal (to gather guillemot eggs a couple of weeks ago) produced a similar yield, one must certainly come to the conclusion that I am a bad accomplice whenever it comes to collecting stuff for a meal (unless it is to the market I suppose).

The mussel collecting expedition was for a class in marine chemistry (I may have the title incorrect). Students collect mussels and in turn learn to analyse them for compounds such as metals and radioactive materials. While we were out I was speaking with Jón, the instructor, about why mussels. They are a good reflection of the marine environment, he tells me. I also asked if the proximity of the Gulf Stream tends to lead to more human produced materials in the mussels (given that it takes a trip by the likes of the eastern seaboard of the USA). His answer was no. In fact, they tend to find more materials, radioactive in nature, that originate from the north, and come from the North Sea into the Greenland Strait.

In spite of the bad collecting, spending an afternoon wading around in Önandurfjörður in rubber boots does not constitute a bad day in any respect. Now, I am at the Edinborg House in Isafjörður, a good place for a beer and some writing, though I am discovering tonight that the light is not so great for processing images. Anyway, I head back to the states on Thursday to get moving on the next phase of this project. So that said, I may be logging off for a few days, and pass the ball over to Gústí, who prefers to post photographs rather than words. Looks like I´ll be back in July for a week or so. We want to get up north to visit the Hornstrandir, which is not really accessible after August. So if nothing tomorrow, then more next week. Regards, Matt.

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