(31st July – 01st August 2015) – The day started nice and sunny, but soon it turned out to be quite windy, which is not particularly helpful on the rather unprotected shores of Storfjord. Against expectation, we managed a landing on Edgeøya, enjoyed the lovely tundra, the wide landscape, a group of walrusses sunbathing near an old trapper hut, not far from a walrus graveyard where hundreds of their grandgrandparents were slaughtered by whalers and hunters for their ivory, blubber and skin. Now, walrusses are again enjoying their life near the old, bleaching bones. Nature is taking her space again, even if it takes time.
Assuming that completing a circumnavigation of Spitsbergen would only be a matter of sailing down Storfjord and around the south cape, we set course that way. But the ice field that was shown on the latest ice chart as a rather thin belt of open drift between southern Edgeøya and the east coast of Spitsbergen turned out to be solid, dense pack ice, pushed together by the strong northerly wind. Now we have been trying for more than 12 hours to find a gap in that ice field, and if we don’t find it soon, then we have to turn around and head northwards again, back through Heleysund and Hinlopen Strait … not a very pleasant thought at all, but nature rules. A kingdom for an accurate, up-to-date ice chart and a good weather forecast!