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Daily Archives: 30. December 2013 − News & Stories

Spitsbergen-Svalbard.com 2013, 2014: look back and ahead

Most of us have sensed it by now: the year 2013 is almost over. Also for me, for us, for Spitsbergen-Svalbard.com, a lot has happened in 2013 and a lot will happen in 2013. What? Have a look at these 4 posts.

One of many highlights in 2013: the polar bear family in Tempelfjord, early May.

polar bear family in Tempelfjord

Thank you and happy new year!

It is still me, Rolf Stange, who is behind this website, writing the books, leading the polar voyages told about on this site and taking the photos. But none of this would be possible with all these polar enthusiasts who are part of all this. I can not mention everybody here who has been part of one of the trips, who is helping to make the website happen or to get the books on paper and out into the world etc, and some don’t necessarily want to read their name on the internet. By the way, the internet … how did Roald Amundsen organize his polar expeditions without it?

Even the youngest ones are keen to get involved when it comes to my books 😉

Spitsbergen-Svalbard.com-publishing house

And last but not least: everybody who was on board in the far north or deep south, at good humour in any kind of weather. Thank you for being part of it! Without you, we wouldn’t be able to travel the Arctic or Antarctic, and it wouldn’t be half of the fun. Let’s go again – and all the best to you for the new year, anywhere between the poles!


Some of the crew of Antigua, removing a big fishing net that had drifted on to a remote beach in Woodfjord. After a long day’s work, this wouldn’t happen without quite some enthusiasm for the arctic environment. Great! On the left, there is Michelle van Dijk, seasoned Spitsbergen traveller and owner of the campsite in Longyearbyen. On the right, Joachim, well known to many of you as Captain of the Antigua. Thank you!

Heimir from Iceland, Captain of Ópal, and his crew made the Greenland trips in September unforgettable for us. Great – thank you! We are looking forward to 2015!

Heimir auf Ópal, Scoresbysund 2013

2013, 2014: Spitsbergen-Svalbard.com’s look back – the publishing business

The publishing house Spitsbergen-Svalbard.com has been busy in 2013 as much as all the traveling allowed. The fourth revised German edition of the guidebook Spitsbergen-Svalbard is out. Since the first edition came out in 2007, both the German and the English versions have been updated about every second year, that makes one new version each year. In other words, this is quite a long-term project which is binding quite a lot of resources on a regular basis.

In 2013, the fourth revised version of the guidebook Spitzbergen-Svalbard was published.

Guidebook Spitsbergen-Svalbard

Lately this year, our new Spitsbergen calendar for 2014 came out. It won’t be the last one. But maybe, the next polar calendar, for 2015, will be an antarctic one? Let’s see. What do you think?

Der Spitzbergen-Kalender für 2014.

Spitzbergen-Kalender 2014

New book projects are on their way, but considering all the other projects and trips of 2013, there wasn’t enough time to get something finished this year and not in the very near future. But things are on their way. More about it when we are getting there.

This famous photo taken by Herbert Ponting shows Robert F. Scott in the hut at Cape Evans in the Ross Sea, being busy writing something not too long before he started the voyage to the south pole, which was to be his last one. Regarding the writing, I hope I find time for it in 2014.

Robert F. Scott, Cape Evans

2013, 2014: Spitsbergen-Svalbard.com’s look back – photography and the internet

2013 has been a very successful year regarding polar photography. From all those trips to the Arctic and Antarctic, I have brought a wealth of good material back home. Some of it is already published as part of the triplog, photo gallery and slideshow that come with most trips, a few ones are part of the Spitsbergen calendar 2014, and more will be seen in future books and calendars.

The 360 degree navigable panorama images are relatively new territory in photo technique. The collection of polar panoramas on this website is already the largest of its kind on the world wide web, and it has images of places that have never before been photographed this way! There is still unpublished material waiting to go out, as the processing is quite time consuming, and there is definitely still far more work to be done in 2014 and beyond.

It does not matter where I travel in the Arctic or Antarctic: the camera is never far away. In this case, it is inside an old barrel.

camera in the barrel

The results can be seen on Spitsbergen-Svalbard.com. Also beyond the new panorama collection, quite a lot has happened there. The Spitsbergen-Svalbard.com news section has got more than one post per week in 2013, making stories and news from the Arctic accessible in one site in a language that most people can read. In the future, we will increase the frequency of posting and include news from other parts of the Arctic and the Antarctic. By the way, the German part of this website (Spitzbergen.de) was the first polar news blog within the German speaking internet.

Many parts of the website have been updated regarding both contents and advanced technology. As an example, the regional descriptions of Svalbard are now getting photo galleries to illustrate the individual parts of the Spitsbergen archipelago. This is an ongoing process. For example, Bear Island (Bjørnøya), Edgeøya and Barentsøya have already got their galleries, more will follow.

Quite importantly, the English section of this website has got its own domain since early 2013, which is obviously spitsbergen-svalbard.com. Well, you know this, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this. But please don’t forget to update any links. And I am grateful for links anyway! All relevant contents – and pretty much everything is relevant in one or the other way – is published in both English and German.

And finally, Spitsbergen-Svalbard.com has got its own Facebook site since summer 2013, where all posts are made in both English and German. While I am traveling, there are regular stories and photos from the field. These are of course also accessible without being on Facebook, you don’t need to log on to read the stuff posted there.

2013, 2014: Spitsbergen-Svalbard.com’s look back – polar voyages

The core of my polar activities in 2013 has been the direct, unfiltered experience of the Arctic and Antarctic. This has always been and will always be the most important part for me, of my life. And regarding this, 2013 has definitely been a very successful year. Some highlights:

The semi-circumnavigation of Antarctica, including a visit to the Ross Sea, was without any doubt a highlight and something every polar enthusiast will have on his or her wishlist. I am glad that I could be part of it in February 2013. The next voyages of this kind are scheduled for early 2015, and I am already looking forward to it!

One of many unforgettable polar impressions in 2013: Emperor penguins in the Ross Sea, early February.

Emperor penguins, Ross Sea

Several months in Spitsbergen in winter and spring 2013 were definitely a highlight beyond the perspective of 2013. Just have a look at the photo galleries!

On the way to the east coast of Spitsbergen, April 2013.

on the way to the east coast of Spitsbergen

This was followed by several voyages in the arctic on board SV Antigua. Always a highlight, that is fore sure. And this summer was certainly no disappointment. We started in Norway, went to Bear Island and then around Spitsbergen several times. Intense arctic experiences of all kinds, beautiful impressions. This kind of arctic voyage will certainly continue to be a focus for me.

This curious polar bear kept swimming around Antigua for quite a while. Unforgettable for all of us who were there!

polar bear swimming near Antigua

Then followed two trips in Scoresbysund in east Greenland on SV Ópal from Iceland in September. Just great. Beautiful, big Greenland. Good boat, good people. I am looking forward to more of this in 2015.

With SV Ópal in Scoresbysund, east Greenland. Again: Auch hier: Unforgettable for all of us who were there!

Ópal in Scoresbysund, east Greenland

In November I had the opportunity to visit the South Sandwich Islands. Rarely visited, and new land for me. Exciting stuff! This was part of a voyage that went to some of the great places on Earth: the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula.

Saunders Island, South Sandwich Islands. And once more: Unforgettable for all of us who were there!

Saunders Island, South Sandwich Islands

I will continue travelling in polar areas as long as I can, by all means. For sure. I’ll be in Spitsbergen several times next year: soon in the polar night, then during the spring season which is ideal for any kind of winter traveling, and of course during the summer sailing season. I’ll travel on sailing ships of tall ship size (Antigua) and smaller (Arctica II, a true arctic yacht). In July, I’ll spend about a week on Jan Mayen. And I’ll be back to Greenland in 2015 at the latest. 2014 will be too short. As every year.

Course for the Arctic in 2014!

Course for the Arctic!


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