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Tonight she becomes a TV celebrity

Kirsti Lund Vik grew up in Longyearbyen. Here she is by the cottage at Kapp Levin together with her collegues, Tomas Eilsen and Mikael Greaker, and Nanuk the dog. FOTO: Mikael Greaker

Tonight she becomes a TV celebrity

Kirsti Lund Vik lived in Longyearbyen during much of her childhood. Last winter she was on Bjørnøya and was filmed with her colleagues by NRK.

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11.11.2014 kl 08:24

In December of last year, nine people departed for the meteorological station on Bjørnøya for a six-month-long adventure. One of them was Kirsti Lund Vik, 34, daughter of former Directorate of Mining Hans Johannes Vik.

"I have lived in Svalbard previously and have long been wanting to experience the Arctic sea," she said. "And then I really wanted to be outdoors a lot, and out and about. That's what I though there was a great opportunity for at Bjørnøya. I would try to stay on a deserted island, having a good time, just thinking about myself and the job I was going to do. I went for experience's sake."

It was also particularly good timing, she added.

"I had just submitted my doctoral thesis and had six months before I would defend it," she said.

A bit tiring with TV
Vik lived in Longyearbyen during much of the 1980s.

"I moved up when I was six months old and moved down when I was 13 years old, but we did not stay in Longyearbyen continuously," she said. "We moved between Oslo and Svalbard."
In addition, the 34-year-old worked a few seasons in Svalbard after she became an adult. The most recent was in 2009 when she worked as a guide on the Polarstar during the summer and had several odd jobs until Christmas including, among others, at the pub in the Radisson Blu Polar Hotel.

She returned to the archipelago last December and on Tuesday NRK will begin a television series about the meteorological station on Bjørnøya that will last for six weeks. It follows the crew of nine for six months.

What was it like having a television crew around while experiencing Bjørnøya?

"I have nothing to compare it with, but it was a mixed blessing," Vik said. "They were very nice people, but occasionally it was a bit tiring to be filmed. If the battery was not inserted in the camera, something I feel happened often, we had to make the recording again. I felt that it was often artificial when you had to repeat things."

When NRK had been there for three to four weeks, as they were at a time, it was good when they left. But then the crew would miss them.

"They created a bit of hustle and bustle," said Vik, adding she is both looking forward to and dreading seeing the series.

"I think they've got lots of nice pictures and they are getting to show off Bjørnøya in a nice way," she said. "I hope a lot of the focus is on nature and the island, and not so much on us."

Lots of nature
The 34-year-old summarizes her time on Bjørnøya as amazing.

"I was out on many incredibly fine walks," she said. "The island is so small that one has the opportunity to make themselves familiar with all of it, while at the same time it has lots of magnificent scenery in a small area. And then it was very pleasant socially. We were a very great bunch that was there. It was like a little bubble, all of the focus and thinking concentrated on the small world. The only concern we had was which cabin we were going to visit the next time we had free."

Vik was hired as meteorological agent, but had no previous weather forecasting experience.

"I was very happy in the job, and thought it was interesting to observe and assess the clouds, and to report to the weather bureau in Tromsø," she said. "There were many exciting weather discussions around the dinner table."

Four sweaters
Before arriving on the island she had been planning, among other things, to prepare for the defense of her thesis.

"Such things I had no time for, although I really had all the time in the world," she said. "I got four sweaters knitted, but as for the reading the thesis, I had to do that when I came down."

Vik is now back in Dovrefjell where she lives. She successfully defended her thesis and her doctorate in health science is in the clear. On Monday, she begins working for the Cancer Registry of Norway.

Is she tempted to go to one of the outposts again?

"Yes, it is very tempting, but I'm not going to do it," she said. "I had a boyfriend on the mainland when I went and it was a long time to be away. One should never say never, but the way it looks now it will not happen again for me. Not for a while at least."

"It's encouraging NRK really wanted to portray a unique place in Norway that everyone, perhaps without knowing it, has a dependent relationship with."

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