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HomeArctic blog: Jan Mayen, Spitsbergen → Ryke Yse­øya­ne

Ryke Yseøyane

Some pla­ces have got fasci­na­ting names, they keep just sound­ing in my mind, vibra­ting, genera­ting a drawing power almost like a magnet. May­be it hel­ps to spend evenings with maps ins­tead of books some­ti­mes, to get a per­spec­ti­ve on the remo­teness of some of the­se pla­ces. Or to hike around in Spits­ber­gen. It takes four days on foot from Lon­gye­ar­by­en to the east coast. So that is the end of the world. From this end of the world, you can see Edgeøya on the hori­zon. Sit­ting the­re, on a morai­ne hill on the east coast, with tired legs, loo­king across Storfjord to Edgeøya, makes you dream of get­ting the­re one day. You know it will pro­bab­ly never be in reach, but who knows. Then, it means some­thing dif­fe­rent to you, it is some­thing very spe­cial to get the­re one day, com­pa­red to just being the­re sud­den­ly, ano­t­her place on a crui­se whe­re you are sud­den­ly to go and see some ani­mals, without ever having heard the name of the place befo­re, without remem­be­ring it bey­ond the evening of the same day. Any­way … I am drif­ting away. So, ima­gi­ne the east coast is the end of your world at some sta­ge, and from the­re, you can see Edgeøya. And you know, the­re are still some small, very lonely islands behind it. Ryke Yse­øya­ne, the Ryke Yse Islands.

In short words, they are far away from ever­ything.

Dark, bleak basalt islands, rough and wild. And as men­tio­ned, this name: Ryke Yse! Nobo­dy could think of a name like that. Ryke Yse was pro­bab­ly a Dut­ch wha­ling cap­tain, 17th cen­tu­ry. Thank God his name was not, say, Fred Cle­ver. I don’t think I would be inte­res­ted in going to the Fred Cle­ver Islands. But so … wild place. Only two dar­ed to win­ter the­re. Only one sur­vi­ved. A rough land­s­cape. Edgy doleri­te rock, fal­ling apart into sharp blocks, cove­r­ed with lichens, steep cliffs, a home for Black guil­lemots.

And we even made it on 2 out of the­se 3 litt­le islands!

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

Time to get on, then. Many kilo­me­tres of gla­cier front on our port side during the later after­noon. A wall of marb­le, all shades of blue and grey you can think of, sea, ice, sky. Hard to belie­ve this is the same island that has such a colour­ful, friend­ly tun­dra on the other side. But well, it is bey­ond the end of the world. What do you expect.

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: 2014-08-15 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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