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Home* Triplogs with photo galleriesArctic blog: Jan Mayen, Spitsbergen → Walrus-madness on Moffen – 19th September 2015

Walrus-madness on Moffen – 19th September 2015

Moffen is this small, forbidden island north of Spitsbergen. Not much more than a gravel bank, a beach atoll around a lagoon where whalers used to anchor in their days. The entrance to the lagoon does not exist anymore today.

Moffen is known and protected because of its walrus colony, each summer it is forbidden to land there until mid september. Good for those last mohicans who are still around in the late season. Especially when the weather is as cooperative as today. Calm air, calm water, the landing on the exposed island is a piece of cake. Soon, we get a visit from some curious walrusses, and that is how a good part of the morning goes. A group of them is swimming up and down the beach close to us, sometimes busy with themselves, sometimes focussing their attention on us, curiously coming out of the water and approaching us to an amazingly close distance. Another big group, surely around a hundred animals, is resting on shore near the southern tip of the island. Nearby, there is a walrus graveyard, where they were slaughtered in huge numbers in earlier centuries for their ivory tusks, the blubber and the strong skin.

Photo Walrus-madness on Moffen – 19th September 2015 – 1/2


As we leave Moffen, there are several big bags of plastic garbage less on the island than before. Amongst others, we have found an electrical cooling box, maybe from the English yacht that went on rocks north of Ytre Norskøya (maybe it was nearby Fuglesangen, doesn’t matter) and went down? The two sailors survived, but it was quite close. And unnecessary, the shallows there are well charted.

Photo Walrus-madness on Moffen – 19th September 2015 – 2/2


Some hours later, we have reached Liefdefjord. To our great pleasure, we find a polar bear that is resting on the tundra on a small island, just occasionally lifting its head, standing up once just to lay down again soon. Captain Joachim maneouvres the Antigua amazingly close to the shore. A beautiful encounter, and as we leave, the bear is lying and resting the very same way as when we came.

Photo Andoyane – 19th September 2015


We take the time for a little late afternoon stroll on one of the neighbouring islands, and then we sail to a nice, protected bay to anchor for the night.

last modification: 2016-09-22 · copyright: Rolf Stange