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Monthly Archives: February 2015 − News & Stories


Night flight across Lon­gye­ar­by­en

A vir­tu­al Spits­ber­gen expe­ri­ence of a spe­cial kind can be enjoy­ed in a video recent­ly publis­hed by Hein­rich Eggen­fell­ner:

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Night flight across Lon­gye­ar­by­en

Equip­ped with a came­ra he sends his remo­te-con­trol­led qua­dro­co­p­ter on a mid­ni­ght flight across the icy cen­ter of Lon­gye­ar­by­en. The jour­ney starts in upper Lon­gye­arda­len at the con­nec­ting road bet­ween Nyby­en and Huset and takes us across the town, to the coast of Advent­fjor­den. On the other side of the fjord the full moon is stan­ding abo­ve the moun­tains of Hiort­fjel­let. In front of the uni­ver­si­ty buil­ding of UNIS the aeri­al dro­ne stops and turns to the left, catching the view to the air­port and to Isfjor­den. Then it returns to its star­ting point on the same rou­te. On our way back we can see a group of snow­mo­bi­les com­ing down the Lon­gyear­breen gla­cier.
Very impres­si­ve images!

The ‘came­ra­man’ Hein­rich Eggen­fell­ner lives in Lon­gye­ar­by­en and some of the Spits­ber­gen tra­velers might know him as skipper/owner of the Arc­ti­ca II, a boat which Spitsbergen-Svalbard.com uses for sai­ling tours sin­ce 2014.

Spitsbergen’s fjords are free­zing over

In recent years, the fjords in Spits­ber­gen did not have as much of a reli­able ice cover as they used to have ear­lier on. But the cur­rent sea­son is deve­lo­ping well: Tem­pel­fjord is fro­zen and the sai­ling boat Noor­der­licht has taken her posi­ti­on as the “boat in the ice”, alrea­dy wel­co­m­ing visi­tors. Alrea­dy now, the fast ice in Tem­pel­fjord is wider than in pre­vious years: should it get strong enough, then it would be pos­si­ble to take a fast and direct rou­te from De Geerda­len to the boat in the ice or even into Bill­efjord or at least to Gips­da­len, making the win­ter rou­te to Pyra­mi­den much fas­ter. We will see if this actual­ly hap­pens, but any­way: it is loo­king good.

After a disap­poin­ting fjord ice situa­ti­on in 2014, which did not even allow Noor­der­licht to beco­me fro­zen in, both locals and tou­rists are now loo­king for­ward to a good win­ter tou­ring sea­son. Only a few days ago, a hea­vy storm bro­ke a lot of ice up, but both water and air are cold enough now to turn the bro­ken floes into a con­ti­nuous ice cover again qui­te quick­ly.

Also Grønfjord near Bar­ents­burg and the fjords on the nort­hern side of Isfjord are to a good degree fro­zen over now. It remains to be seen if Advent­fjord near Lon­gye­ar­by­en will free­ze over, as it used to in the past. A thin, young ice cover was dri­ven out by the storm on Sunday.

Ice chart from Wed­nes­day (25th Febru­a­ry), © Nor­we­gi­an Ice Ser­vice.

Ice chart

Why not 2 pic­tures for one ent­ry?

The Noor­der­licht as “boat in the ice” with some local visi­tors.”

Noorderlicht as boat in the ice, Tempelfjord, with polar bears

Solar eclip­se in March attracts visi­tors to Spits­ber­gen

Tho­se who stay in Spits­ber­gen on March 20th will have the rare oppor­tu­ni­ty to enjoy the event of a total solar eclip­se. At 10:11 a.m. and 51 seconds in the sky abo­ve Lon­gye­ar­by­en the moon starts to move in a posi­ti­on bet­ween sun and earth. Almost one hour later the sky will turn dark for 2 minu­tes and 27 seconds as the moon obscu­res the image of the sun com­ple­te­ly. All in all the event lasts a litt­le lon­ger than 2 hours. On March 20th the moon´s shadow will move over the North Atlan­tic in a cur­ve bet­ween Ice­land and Nor­way over the Faroe Islands to Spits­ber­gen and fur­ther towards the North Pole.

A total eclip­se of the sun is an extre­me­ly rare natu­ral phe­no­me­non. In 2008 it occur­red abo­ve the remo­te island of Kvi­tøya, north-east of Spits­ber­gen and the next one abo­ve Spits­ber­gen will be in 2061.

Mean­while Lon­gye­ar­by­en pre­pa­res for a par­ti­cu­lar­ly high num­ber of visi­tors, wis­hing to wit­ness the specta­cle in March. Spits­ber­gen Tra­vel, the big­gest hotel ope­ra­tor in Lon­gye­ar­by­en, did alrea­dy in 2006 make reser­va­tions for their who­le con­tin­gent of 528 beds with only a sin­gle tour ope­ra­tor. Altog­e­ther 820 beds at hotels and guest­houses are avail­ab­le. In addi­ti­on the­re are apart­ments and cabins which are ren­ted pri­va­te­ly – and then the­re will still be the cam­ping ground…

Due to the high demand the­re are by now pri­va­te apart­ments offe­red for extra­or­di­na­ry high pri­ces up to 100.000 kro­ner (ca. 11.560 Euro) for 5 days. Ano­t­her bot­t­len­eck is the num­ber of flights. On the days befo­re the solar eclip­se 6 addi­tio­nal flights to Lon­gye­ar­by­en were estab­lis­hed.

Solar eclip­se in Spitz­ber­gen in 2008.

Solar eclipse Spitsbergen

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