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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.



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last modification: 2015-06-01 · copyright: Rolf Stange