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Bear Island

29th/30th May 2015 – The­re is not­hing much to say about the cros­sing. Wind and waves made it an expe­ri­ence of limi­ted plea­su­re, and pre­sence during meals was visi­b­ly redu­ced. Well, it was not dra­ma­tic, but not real­ly popu­lar eit­her. No sightin­gs of wha­les, only small groups of dol­phins every now and then. The bet­ter that we made good speed, so we reached Bear Island alrea­dy mid-day of the 29th. We kept on the sou­the­as­tern side, as this side offe­red the best shel­ter avail­ab­le from wind and waves, and soon we had found a sui­ta­ble lan­ding site.

From the distance, Bear Island may seem a grey, empty rock in the oce­an, but a clo­ser look reve­als all the tre­a­su­res of natu­re you can ima­gi­ne of a remo­te, small island in the Arc­tic. An impres­si­ve coas­tal land­s­cape with bird cliffs, various geo­mor­pho­lo­gi­cal phe­no­me­na inclu­ding frost-pat­ter­ned ground and karst springs and so on. The fee­ling of remo­teness and expo­sure is amongst the best parts of the Bear Island expe­ri­ence, espe­cial­ly in quiet moments when all you hear is the wind. We spend a rather long after­noon on the island, roa­ming around from the river mouth in Ærfuglvi­ka to the sea­b­ird colo­ny at Kapp Ruth, pas­sing some small, most­ly still fro­zen lakes in flat tun­dra towards the river Jor­dbru­el­va, which we fol­lo­wed bet­ween steep snow-cove­r­ed river banks, until we retur­ned to Kapp Maria with its impres­si­ve rock cave Kvalk­jef­ten (wha­le jaw) and a huge hole in the rocky ground, through which you see the surf 15 m lower down.

A calm night at anchor in the shel­ter of the island was cer­tain­ly amongst the high­lights of the day for many.

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

Next morning, we crui­sed around the sou­thern end of Bear Island, whe­re natu­re has crea­ted some of the most impres­si­ve cliffs in the north Atlan­tic. The seas and winds being too high for any Zodiac ope­ra­ti­ons, we enjoy­ed the views from the ship, in the pre­sence of count­less Nort­hern ful­mars, befo­re we con­ti­nued nor­thwards, cour­se for Spits­ber­gen.

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: 2015-06-01 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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