Barba.no is an expedition sailing vessel based in Stavanger, Norway, and captained by Andreas B. Heide. In summer 2021, Barba set sail on its longest expedition yet, Arctic Sense. Starting from Stavanger, the Barba crew sailed up the Norwegian coast, circumnavigated Svalbard, crossed the Norwegian sea to Jan Mayen and finally sailed south to London, before returning to Stavanger.
We previously collaborated with Barba to collect blow samples in Iceland, 2019, and this was another golden opportunity for data collection. We were especially interested in Svalbard, a key feeding ground for baleen whales. As Arctic sea ice melts, large-scale vessel traffic is predicted to increase dramatically in the region, following the so-called ‘Polar Silk Road’. In collaboration with Andreas and Prof. Marianne Rasmussen from the University of Iceland, we planned a programme of whale research for Arctic Sense. In the field, this was coordinated by Giulia Ercoletti. Despite a whole host of challenges and limited time, the Barba crew collected three data sets that we can use for research purposes.
Over the next few months, we’ll start data analysis – stay tuned for further updates!