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Van Keulenfjord

Van Keulenfjord turned out to be a treasure chamber of arctic impressions. Of course, it was good to step out on solid ground again. Real arctic soil, permafrost-based tundra. But what followed later will definitely remain a treasured memory well beyond this summer.

Further in, the fjord was still frozen solid. Four polar beas were visible in the distance, a mother with two cubs and a single bear, all resting at times and moving at others, even meeting occasionally. All in a distance that reduced them to little yellow dots for us. Meanwhile, a group of Belugas came into sight, with an exceptional high proportion of young animals, distinguishable by their dark grey colour.

We had the good idea to moor the Antigua at the fast ice edge during the night. That is one of the beauties of travelling with a sailing ship: you are not always in a rush. Sometimes you have time, the most important thing during travelling (and otherwise in life). We do not follow schedules, we take opportunities. The weather was fine, wildlife within view. So we did not save any cost or effort but went out to find a suitable piece of driftwood, which was then put through a hole in the ice with great enthusiasm by Captain Joachim and some helping hands. A rope between the driftwood log and Antigua would keep the ship in position for some hours without wind. The selfmade port was ready, and we could enjoy the evening.

The night was short. Around 4 a.m., the polar bear family decided to visit this strange iceberg which had appeared at the ice edge. The two second year cubs, 1.5 years old, were as curious as polar bears can be. The walked on the ice around the bow of the ship and stood up on their hind legs to get better views of us. They were biting into the ropes, which may have smelled from many sailors’ hands which have handled them over years and many ports where they have fixed Antigua to the pier.

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No need to mention that this was an unforgettable experience ☺

last modification: 2015-06-11 · copyright: Rolf Stange