spitzbergen-3
fb  Spitsbergen Panoramas - 360-degree panoramas  de  en  nb  Spitsbergen Shop  
pfeil THE Spitsbergen guidebook pfeil
Marker
Home → August, 2014

Monthly Archives: August 2014 − Travelblog


Hiorth­fjel­let

My ori­gi­nal plan was to be lazy. Spen­ding the day with the news­pa­per, fri­ends, and han­ging out in Frue­ne – the best Café in town. And pret­ty much the only one. No mat­ter how beau­tiful and exci­ting it is to sail around Lon­gye­ar­by­en, it is also quite ener­gy-deman­ding. Espe­ci­al­ly on such a small boat, wit­hout a col­le­ague who could occa­sio­nal­ly take over. Well, no com­plains, but a day to relax sound­ed like a gre­at thing.

But the time of the mid­night sun ends in such a grand way that doing not­hing was sim­ply not an opti­on. To start with, the camp­si­te pan­ora­ma pro­ject was num­ber one on the to-do-list. Direct­ly fol­lo­wed by Hiorth­fjel­let. The pro­blem with this moun­tain is that you need a boat to get the­re in sum­mer, some­thing that is not always at hand, but available today. Ano­ther good reason to do that today. Get­ting up to the pla­teau on top, vie­w­ing across Advent­fjord to Lon­gye­ar­by­en. The other way around is an ever­y­day thing. 900 met­res up over loo­se scree, yee­ha! Two steps up, one down. But the view is worth every sin­gle step. You have Advent­fjord to your feet, from Advent­da­len in the east, Lon­gye­ar­by­en with the well-known moun­ta­ins and gla­ciers around it, Pla­tå­berg and Hotell­ne­set with the air­port and camp­si­te and final­ly the wes­tern half of Isfjord.

And a good part of Nor­dens­ki­öld Land is stret­ching far, far into most direc­tions. Count­less brown pla­teau-shaped moun­ta­ins, rid­ges and peaks, small gla­ciers and val­leys. This is the part of Spits­ber­gen that I got to know first, at times when Edgeøya was a far dream, as easy to get to as the moon.

Visi­ting the old coal mine of Hior­th­hamn on the way back added a com­ple­te­ly dif­fe­rent, but com­pa­ra­b­ly inte­res­t­ing aspect to the excur­si­on. The mine is more than 600 met­res high on a rather steep slo­pe. Not far from it, the­re was Ørne­re­det, the eagle nest, whe­re 40-50 workers had accom­mo­da­ti­on, and they had to stay the­re during the polar night, as the steep slo­pe down was dee­med too dan­ge­rous in the dark time. Dark­ness insi­de the moun­tain, dark­ness out­side.

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

Dark­ness is loo­ming just around the cor­ner here the­se days, too. Today will be the first sun­set this sum­mer. A day of four months is coming to an end.

Advent­fjord

Fri­day, 22nd August (still) – High­lights until the last minu­te. After it had been blo­wing quite a bit off the west coast, it was nice to be back in Isfjord whe­re the water was flat calm and the sun was shi­ning again. We met a wha­le brief­ly in Advent­fjord, just off the cam­ping site. And on the shore under Hiorth­fjel­let, just oppo­si­te Lon­gye­ar­by­en, the­re was even ano­ther polar bear wal­king around, would you belie­ve it? That doesn’t hap­pen every day. Hein­rich wasn’t too hap­py as he has got a hut in that area, one of the win­dows was dama­ged so the bear may have been insi­de and in that case, it might need more than just a litt­le bit of clea­ning to make it a cosy place again.

We finish the day and the trip with a nice last evening and a good meal on board. More than 1100 nau­tic­la miles around Spits­ber­gen are behind us now, with about 26 landings in many pos­si­ble and some impos­si­ble places. Not to men­ti­on all the land­scapes and the wild­life we have seen from the boat. The pho­tos will tell the sto­ry, soon the­re will be a gal­lery online tog­e­ther with the trip report.

e-a9m_Adventfjord_21Aug14_24

The­re is more to Spits­ber­gen than „just“ polar bears and wild land­scapes, the­re are also good peo­p­le living here. See­ing some of them will be among­st my next tasks.

Eidem­buk­ta

Last night we sai­led down For­lands­und, hea­ding for Prins Karls For­land, but the wind was so strong that the anchor didn’t real­ly hold, so we deci­ded to go for Eidem­buk­ta ins­tead, hoping for bet­ter shel­ter the­re. Which work­ed well. After all the­se miles and maneou­vres, I went to sleep after 5 am. It may have to do with that if I am a bit tired now. Almost a bit sad, or melan­cho­lic. West Coast Blues. The trip is coming to an end, the­re is no way around it. Ever­y­bo­dy has grown into a tight group now, kno­wing each other, the rou­ti­nes are all working well, we could so easi­ly con­ti­nue for ano­ther week or two. But zivi­li­sa­ti­on is not far any­mo­re. Dates, flights, busi­ness, fami­ly … are all deman­ding their rights.

But we are not the­re yet. First, we spend a pre­cious cou­ple of hours on the west coast tun­dra again. After all the ice and cold of the far north, the rocky land­scapes of the nor­thwest and the migh­ty gla­ciers of Kross­fjord, you might almost feel at home here. This land­scape is not so harsh, not so inhos­pi­ta­ble, almost invi­ting. Well, in com­pa­ri­son.

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

I have been in Eidem­buk­ta just a few weeks ago, in ear­ly June. It feels like ages ago! Back then, we had snow down to sea level. Almost the who­le, wide-open coas­tal tun­dra plain was white, whe­re autumn colours are stret­ching now bet­ween the sea and the moun­ta­ins and gla­ciers. No trace of snow any­mo­re today. Back then, almost every snow-free tun­dra patch was occu­p­ied by geese, now the­re is just a group of fema­le com­mon eiders paddling in the bay, the stress of the bree­ding sea­son is alre­a­dy histo­ry for them. The world has chan­ged incre­di­bly quick­ly, within less than 7 weeks! The arc­tic sum­mer is coming and going so quick­ly.

Kross­fjord

I don’t mind repea­ting this again: A day taken direct­ly from an arc­tic fairy tale. The sun remain­ed with us, and with this kind of wea­ther, Kross­fjord is unbeat­a­b­ly beau­tiful. Blue­green water, migh­ty gla­ciers, dark, wild moun­ta­ins, green slo­pes. I know, I have alre­a­dy writ­ten simi­lar sen­ten­ces simi­lar else­whe­re. I can’t help it, I am sim­ply not a gre­at wri­ter, I have never pre­ten­ded any­thing dif­fe­rent. But natu­re can ever­y­thing up here, and it’s that what counts.

The gla­cier hike today has best chan­ces to be very high on the list of the grea­test hikes this sum­mer. The pho­tos will tell it all, I hope, as soon as they are online in a cou­ple of days from now.

To add icing on the cake, we were wel­co­med with a BBQ on the beach. How good can life be!

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

We could hap­pi­ly have cal­led it a gre­at day, but the­re is always some­thing exci­ting going on here as long as you can keep your eyes open. Ano­ther fjord ano­ther gla­cier, ano­ther world. Per­fect mir­ror images on the water. A polar bear on the shore, with the sun from behind, sur­roun­ded by pie­ces of gla­cier ice shi­ning like dia­monds. An arc­tic won­der­land.

Dan­s­køya & The Seven Ice­bergs

A day taken direct­ly from an arc­tic fairy tale. Well, it was about time to get to see the sun again, and we got a lot of it today. Who would then mind the end­less rocks over which we stumb­led while hiking across Dan­s­køya, when you can enjoy this ama­zing view over the moun­ta­ins and gla­ciers of nor­thwes­tern Spits­ber­gen at the same time? The dra­ma sto­ries from past times from Dan­s­køya can’t dimi­nish our plea­su­re, they just add some fla­vour.

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

Almost hard to grasp on such a day that the wha­lers had such a respect for that wild coast which the cal­led „The Seven Ice­bergs“, refer­ring to seven lar­ge gla­ciers, of cour­se. The coast is still just as wild, but the wea­ther is sim­ply love­ly today and it seems to be a pure plea­su­re place, an arc­tic Rivie­ra. Ama­zing colours, dark green slo­pes near bird cliffs bet­ween shi­ning white gla­ciers with blue crev­as­ses, and all this under a blue sky. Pure plea­su­re, wit­hout any hard­ships. Extre­me­ly enjoya­ble.

Raud­fjord

Time for some exer­cise, which we got while hiking a good 10 kilo­me­t­res along lagoons and a big lake in a silent val­ley. Later, the world dis­ap­peared lar­ge­ly behind a grey curtain, which wasn’t too bad, some rest was nee­ded by most on board. Having been on watch last night may have play­ed a role here.

Nevert­hel­ess, sit­ting out­side on deck around the BBQ, spot­ting a polar bear fami­ly in the fog … again, one of the­se days!

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

The high north

Actual­ly I thought I shouldn’t wri­te any­thing. The pic­tures tell the sto­ry, don’t they?

But I can’t real­ly keep my fin­gers off it. This love­ly litt­le bay at North Cape (not the one you are thin­king of) was com­ple­te­ly unknown and unchar­ted. It was a mas­ter­pie­ce of navi­ga­ti­on by Hein­rich to take the Arc­ti­ca II in the­re, fin­ding a safe ancho­ra­ge for the night. And it was even more of a mas­ter­pie­ce to get her (and us) out of the­re again next mor­ning, after the ice had sett­led down in the ent­rance.

Who would have thought 2 weeks ago that we would make it to Sjuøya­ne, the fur­thest north up here in the far north? The arc­tic, here at least, is real­ly arc­tic this year, with a lot of ice. Out of reach. This is how it should be. But our cal­cu­la­ti­on, to start the trip going south, get­ting later to the north to give the ice more time to loo­sen up a bit, was quite right. Per­fect timing! It was just the right day for a dash up to Sjuøya­ne, which pre­sen­ted them­sel­ves real­ly the arc­tic way, with snow and ice-cold wind. The last win­ter hasn’t real­ly left, the next one is alre­a­dy well on its way. A place for­got­ten by the sum­mer.

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

A free ice cream who can tell me whe­re Nord­lysøya­ne are wit­hout a look at the map (the ice cream is to be picked up on Nord­lysøya­ne, just in case). I can tell you that the­re is a rather curious sub-adult polar bear the­re.

Nor­thwes­tern Nord­aus­t­land

Ama­zing what kind of ide­as you can have while wal­king around bet­ween the old buil­dings in Kinn­vi­ka in den­se fog: I have to have auto­mats with my books at popu­lar landing sites in Spits­ber­gen! If they don’t want to sell them on the ships here – some of the com­pa­nies even pre­tend their guests don’t read. What do they think of their cli­ents?! – then I have to meet them some­whe­re else. So I need auto­ma­ted sel­ling points with auto­ma­tic refill. I could see mys­elf being con­tent with one each at Grav­ne­set in Mag­da­le­nefjord and in the har­bours of Lon­gye­ar­by­en and Ny Åle­sund.

That’s the kind of thoughts that can cross your mind when you are wal­king around in fog. Cra­zy, of cour­se, but fun­ny.

We couldn’t see much of the low shore­li­nes around Lady Fran­k­lin­sund eit­her. A bit of a shame, as you don’t get the­re too often. It is very shal­low and com­ple­te­ly unchar­ted. Hein­rich is one of the few skip­pers who are taking their small boats through the­re.

All this doesn’t bother you if you are a wal­rus. Then, almost not­hing will bother you. This beca­me pret­ty clear with this migh­ty fel­low on an ice floe in Lady Fran­k­lin­fjord.

The names are inte­res­t­ing: Bren­ne­vins­fjord, trans­la­tes as boo­ze bay or some­thing simi­lar. I guess that cen­tu­ries ago some wha­lers had a wild par­ty the­re, but nobo­dy knows for sure. Bar­ren rocks, a wild, rough coun­try. Not the fri­end­ly tun­dra of the west coast, whe­re it is love­ly to hike for hours, whe­re you have the fee­ling to be in a living coun­try. Here, you are a guest for a short while, no more. If you stay too long, like Schrö­der-Stranz in 1912, the land may take you. Who knows. But any­way, we dare to go ashore in Boo­ze bay for a few hours.

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

You usual­ly don’t see tabu­lar ice­bergs in the Arc­tic. They just don’t do them here. Only in Ant­ar­c­ti­ca, the­re they are very com­mon. Nevert­hel­ess, we saw one today, not the big­gest one, but nice. Pro­ba­b­ly from the Rus­si­an Arc­tic, the­re are a few ice shel­ves the­re. As a con­se­quence: Rus­sia is Spitsbergen’s Ant­ar­c­ti­ca.

Sou­thwes­tern Nord­aus­t­land

(Thurs­day and Fri­day, 14th and 15th August 2014) – How often do we see gla­ciers from the boat or from the tun­dra? Every day. How often do we view down from gla­ciers to fjord and coast? Exact­ly.

This trip was meant to be an oppor­tu­ni­ty to do things that you don’t nor­mal­ly do on ship-based trips here. Even more so than other­wi­se on the trips that I do. One of the things that you would not nor­mal­ly get to do on a Spits­ber­gen crui­se is a gla­cier hike. The­re is this nice litt­le gla­cier in Augus­t­abuk­ta, they cal­led it Marie­breen in 1868. It is actual­ly part of the ice cap Vega­fon­na, which again is con­nec­ted to Aus­t­fon­na, more than 8400 squa­re kilo­me­t­res lar­ge and Europe’s lar­gest ice cap. Dive into this weird icy world of gla­ciers for a few hours. Mean­de­ring melt­wa­ter rivers with blue water, shi­ning white ice under a hea­vy grey sky that is mer­ging seem­less­ly into the ice cap on the hori­zon. A step out of the world of lea­ving things. The­re is not­hing ali­ve here. Ice and water, some stones, that’s it.

Crossing some­thing has always some­thing fasci­na­ting about it. It does not have to be an inland ice of con­ti­nen­tal sca­le. A pen­in­su­la can be enough. You are drop­ped off and you see your boat sai­ling away. That makes you feel a bit like Nan­sen, who was drop­ped off at the East Green­land coast in 1888. His choice was simp­le: reach the west coast of die. The rest is histo­ry.

Of cour­se, it isn’t quite like that in the 21st cen­tu­ry any­mo­re. In case of any unex­pec­ted real dif­fi­cul­ties, you grab the radio or the sat pho­ne and ask the boat to return. But still, it is an exci­ting thing.

21 kilo­me­t­res of tun­dra and polar desert, rid­ges of basalt rocks and fos­sils older than the hills, frost pat­ter­ned ground and melt­wa­ter rivers. A day long enough to real­ly get lost in this ama­zing coun­try, men­tal­ly, I mean. Lis­tening to the water run­ning in rivers and to the wind (the­re was more than enough of the lat­ter, to be honest. It was free­zing old at times.

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

At the end of the hike, on the shore of Pal­an­der­buk­ta, the­re was an old trap­per hut, whe­re the wind was blo­wing through holes that were doors and win­dows many years ago. Weird sto­ry. The two trap­pers who built the hut pro­ba­b­ly mana­ged to blow them­sel­ves up in Janu­ary 1934. One of them was hit while he was in for serious busi­ness in the out­house. Not a nice place to die. He was found the­re months later, still sit­ting, fro­zen solid. Weird sto­ry. They never found out in details what had real­ly hap­pen­ed.

But for us, the day had a very hap­py end when we came back to the boat and sal­mon was almost rea­dy 🙂

Barent­søya

The sou­the­as­tern islands are real­ly polar bear coun­try. Bears ever­y­whe­re, it can be dif­fi­cult to find a place whe­re you can go for a walk. In Free­man­sund, ever­y­thing is occu­p­ied by the­se cre­a­my-white polar sheep. And of cour­se, you might ask, why. The ques­ti­on „what are they doing here? The­re isn’t any­thing they can eat?“ is one that I hear about 100 times every day. One easy, but nevert­hel­ess true, ans­wer is becau­se it is their home, after all. They are living here. They want to be here. They could go some­whe­re else, if they wan­ted to, inclu­ding the pack ice in the north. They would be the­re within a few days, but they stay here.

But of cour­se it remains a valid ques­ti­on what they find to eat. Some bears here are quite fat, the blub­ber has to come from some­whe­re.

I’d quite like to find out, so I have deve­lo­ped a habit that might help me to learn more about it: I have star­ted to take pic­tures of polar bear shit. Every time I find some drop­pings on the tun­dra, I grab the came­ra and press the but­ton. Unli­kely that this coll­ec­tion turns into a pho­to book some day. You may find it stran­ge that I walk around here pho­to­gra­phing shit. As you wish, I don’t care. I find it inte­res­t­ing. You just have to take a clo­se look. This mor­ning, I found smas­hed reinde­er bones in one pile of shit. Tee­th in ano­ther, also reinde­er. Many times, I see fea­thers, and vege­ta­ti­on remains are very com­mon. Here you are, that’s an ans­wer get­ting shape, isn’t it? So I am more than hap­py to keep going with this shit pho­to­gra­phy busi­ness, when­ever the oppor­tu­ni­ty ari­ses.

Chan­ge of sub­ject (anyo­ne still with me?). Today has been the col­dest day of the sum­mer up here so far, just 2 or 3 degrees. Quite cold, when you include the fresh eas­ter­ly bree­ze. Whe­re is the sum­mer? The flowers loo­se their colours, the lea­ves of the polar wil­low chan­ge their colours on lar­ge are­as now.

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

The tun­dra over which we are wal­king is a real wha­le ceme­ta­ry. Seve­ral thou­sands of years ago, when this used to be the coast, dozens of wha­le car­cas­ses must have drifted ashore here.

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.

Edgeøya

(Sun­day and Mon­day, 10th and 11th August 2014) – Time is fly­ing. It feels as if I have not writ­ten any­thing in a week, but has been 2 days only. But the­se were quite busy.

Going ashore on »unknown« islands is one of the grea­test plea­su­res of a polar tra­vel­ler. Ama­zing how much you will almost always find, espe­ci­al­ly on tho­se small islands around sou­thern Edgeøya. Hun­ters have been the­re for cen­tu­ries, they have left their traces and some­ti­mes their own remains in the now autumn-colou­red tun­dra.

Sou­thern Edgeøya was the main area of the polar bear hun­ters deca­des ago. The back­yard of the polar bear king’s palace is now occu­p­ied by wal­rus­ses. Their curiou­si­ty equ­als ours. Man and beast – who is more exci­ted about the other one?

A wal­rus was play­ing a minor, but important rule then on Halv­må­neøya. Some hap­py polar bears were the focus of the atten­ti­on of some hap­py humans. No zoo could arran­ge a more impres­si­ve fee­ding event. And this is not a zoo, this is the real thing. Wit­hout luck, you won’t see any­thing. With luck, ever­y­thing is pos­si­ble.

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

A visit to the legen­da­ry trap­per sta­ti­on Bjør­ne­borg com­ple­tes an exci­ting visit to the realm of polar bears, wal­rus­ses and their human stal­kers in the old adven­tur­ous days. Good sto­ries. Good they came to an abso­lu­te end in 1973.

Kval­vå­gen

Lea­ving our ancho­ra­ge under sails and sun, pas­sing lar­ge ice­bergs, that meant start­ing the day in a love­ly way.

I wasn’t quite sure if we were able to keep it like that; this gent­le swell on the rocky, expo­sed east coast might be trou­ble. But going the­re and having a look is always the best thing to do. It tur­ned out to be sur­pri­sin­gly easy.

An excur­si­on to Juras­sic Park, or rather Creta­ce­ous Park. I have heard that the­re is even a report about the famous dino­saur tracks in the latest edi­ti­on of Sval­bard­pos­ten, from last week. Good timing. Now we want to see the real thing. Big foot­prints of big, evil, meat-eating dino­saurs, who left the marks of their big, sharp claws in the mud­dy sand more than 100 mil­li­on years ago (some­ti­mes, exc­tinc­tion of spe­ci­es isn’t such a bad thing at all …). The­re are quite a few of the­se tracks here, but most of them quite wea­the­red. But one or two are still well visi­ble. It took us some time, but we found them in the end.

But this rocky coast, the love­ly flowers and the view over the wild east coast would be worth a day alo­ne! You have to take such an oppor­tu­ni­ty. How often do you get to a place like this, on such a sun­ny day? Even on a calm day like today, the surf on the shal­lows is quite impres­si­ve.

And the per­spec­ti­ve from 250 met­res doesn’t lea­ve any­thing to be desi­red. Also the spor­ti­ve aspect was final­ly satis­fied. Vie­w­ing over almost the who­le of Storfjord, to Edgeøya and the east coast far to the south, and Nor­we­gi­an cho­co­la­te. What a place, what a life!

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

Later, time to relax while we cross Storfjord over to Edgeøya. The sies­ta is inter­rupt­ed by some Fin­wha­les and dol­phins.

Isbuk­ta

Some­ti­mes, 200 met­res are more than enough to have the world below you. And if this world is Sør­kapp Land with its wide gla­ciers and some of Spitsbergen’s finest moun­ta­ins, under a blue sky and a bright sun, then it is one of life’s bet­ter moments.

Stel­ling­fjel­let has one of the archipelago’s lar­gest guil­l­emot colo­nies, high up on the cliffs. Ten thou­sands of them. It would rival famous Alkef­jel­let in Hin­lo­pen Strait, but the first flo­or is unin­ha­bi­ted and the visitor’s lounge a bit more distant.

High surf on the beach. A polar bear is roa­ming around, loo­king for birds that have fal­len down from the colo­ny. Our first bear.

The­re is one gla­cier after the other on the east coast, sepa­ra­ted by steep, dark cliffs. Inhos­pi­ta­ble and wild.

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

We find a silent ancho­ra­ge in a bay that does not even exist. Vir­gin land, which appeared just very recent­ly under the retrea­ting gla­ciers. We don’t miss the chan­ge to explo­re it a bit just befo­re mid­night, fin­ding ammo­ni­tes and polar bear tracks with sur­pri­sin­gly lar­ge ice­bergs in beau­tiful evening light in the back­ground.

Horn­sund, Süd­kap

Last night, we sai­led the west coast down to Hyt­te­vi­ka, just north of Horn­sund. A calm ancho­ra­ge, what else would you want?

Trap­per legends like Wan­ny Wold­stad and Odd Ivar Ruud all had their good reasons to make Hyt­te­vi­ka their home for their arc­tic hun­ter lives. On a nice day like today, it is an arc­tic para­di­se. A cosy hut, hid­den behind quar­zi­te rocks. Reinde­er on mos­sy tun­dra, screa­ming Litt­le auks high up on the slo­pes.

Horn­sund, howe­ver, was not in good shape today. Win­dy and most­ly grey and rai­ny. Not a place to be today. So we left quick­ly from the­re, hoping for more luck on the outer coast. Still, win­dy. But our fearless skip­per Hein­rich took Arc­ti­ca II through Mesund, bet­ween the islands off the sou­thern tip of Spits­ber­gen, saving us from many uncom­for­ta­ble miles.

e-a6q_Hyttevika_07Aug14_001

A calm ancho­ra­ge was all we wan­ted at the end of the day, and we found it in Isbuk­ta. Mid­night reinde­er stew roun­ded the day nice­ly off.

Back

News-Listing live generated at 2024/June/22 at 03:28:20 Uhr (GMT+1)
css.php