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The way back

Some of us deci­ded after com­ing back down from Bee­ren­berg to return to Kval­ross­buk­ta the very same evening. As far as I was con­cer­ned, I was not keen on ano­t­her 18 km for today and the­re is so much to see on the way that I felt some rest would be more than appro­pria­te first.

Of cour­se, the wind was picking up as soon as we were lying in our slee­ping bags on the black sand, which found its way any­whe­re. Tho­se who are respon­si­ble that we may not set up a pro­per camp out­side from Kval­ross­buk­ta should be hap­py they were not around tonight. Nevertheless, for me it was the best sleep sin­ce we had left Ice­land. I guess I was just tired enough.

After some hours bre­ak­fast and a bre­ak­fast of some kind of green con­cre­te, based on pies, the four remai­ning ones of us squee­zed ever­ything into the ruck­sacks and went off. A short detour up a litt­le cra­ter pro­vi­ded some very nice views of fresh­ly appearing vol­ca­nic land­s­capes, which must have been acti­ve later than ca. 1820 (Scoresby’s visit).

Most of us did not have the right com­bi­na­ti­on of ener­gy and moti­va­ti­on left to make any unavo­ida­ble detours, so it was a very small group that first went to Elds­te Met­ten. Remains of Jan Mayen’s oldest wea­ther sta­ti­on, from the days when the island was still no man’s land. Bar­ren rocks and wild surf on a black sand beach under a blue sky.

A second excur­si­on took us into Jøs­sing­da­len and the nort­hern lagoon, whe­re meteo­ro­lo­gi­cal sta­ti­on and gar­ri­son were sta­tio­ned during and after the Second World War. Cer­tain­ly one of the more sce­nic pla­ces of the island, one could easi­ly spend more time the­re, hike to the water­fall in Desem­ber­da­len and up onto one of the many hills … so many beau­ti­ful litt­le pla­ces, so many his­to­ri­cal sites.

The local air for­ce in shape of a Gre­at skua atta­cked us in Wilc­z­ek­da­len to defend a nest. In Maria Musch­buk­ta, we saw the remains of the Aus­tri­an sta­ti­on from 1882-83 with the gra­ve of the sailor Vis­co­vich-Stur­la. All the­se old sto­ries.

Then the curtain clo­sed. But the timing could hard­ly have been bet­ter. We had just packed the came­ras away, when the wind came up and the clouds down. Many good memo­ries from times when only the wea­ther kept us from lan­ding whe­re­ver we wan­ted, but not the law. The pho­to archi­ve is now fil­led with many images far bet­ter than what I had from befo­re.

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlar­ged ver­si­on of the spe­ci­fic pho­to.

We could well have done without the remai­ning bit. A bus would have been qui­te nice. But the­re was no bus, all we had were our feet and still qui­te a few kilo­me­tres along that dus­ty road. The ruck­sacks were get­ting noti­ce­ab­ly hea­vier and the feet made them­sel­ves felt qui­te easi­ly, but in the end we reached the camp in Kval­ross­buk­ta. How good it felt to drop the ruck­sacks final­ly after 32 kilo­me­tres! And the­re was inde­ed still some lamb stew left … life can be good on Jan May­en!

By the way, my new book is in print and it can now be orde­red 🙂 it is a pho­to book with the tit­le “Nor­we­gens ark­ti­scher Nor­den (1): Spitz­ber­gen – vom Polar­licht bis zur Mit­ter­nachts­son­ne”, with Ger­man text Click here for fur­ther details!

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last modification: 2014-07-15 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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