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Home → September, 2015

Monthly Archives: September 2015 − News & Stories

Memory card lost in Spitsbergen in 2009 now found

Photos can survive for a long time in the ice. In 1930, film material from the Swedish Andrée expedition was found on Kvitøya, where the three members had got marooned and died in 1897. A sensation after 33 years.

A bit less sensational, but nevertheless remarkable is the story of a digital memory card that was found in Spitsbergen in August this year. It contains more than 1200 photos, taken with an Olympus camera. The files seem to be fine after 6 years in the arctic. The photos were taken during a trip with the sailing boat Noorderlicht in early July 2009.

But the story still needs a happy end, as the memory card has not yet found its way back to the owner. He or she is possibly on the photo that is shown below. Who knows this woman? We would like to help to get the card back to the owner. Please let us know in case you know anything of interest (click here to get in touch).

Likely the owner of a memory card that was lost in Spitsbergen in 2009 and found now in August.

Memory card owner Noorderlicht 2009

The Swede Andrée in late July 1897 in the ice. His expedition got lost, the remains including photos (Kodak film material) were found on Kvitøya only in 1930.

Andrée in ice, 1897

Ittoqqortoormiit – 08th September 2015

Iceland’s first autumn storm has sent a bit of rushed air up to Scoresbysund. As we are south of Jameson Land, an easterly wind is picking up, and the sails are going up – good stuff, and there may be one or the other on board who discovers his or her love for sailing. So we forget about the idea of going to Kap Hope – not a bad exchange, after all, for us.

Ittoqqortoormiit, or Scoresbysund village, whatever you want to call it, comes accordingly a bit grey and windy. An arctic late summer day. Memories from my longer stay there in 2006 come to mind again (my God, 10 years ago!), the bay frozen over, dog sleds going over the ice where Ópal is drifting now, in the position where I got the Greenland shark … old stories, fond memories. The village has lost some inhabitants, both humans (a few) and dogs (quite a lot) since then.

Gallery Ittoqqortoormiit – 08th September 2015

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

A nice farewell to Greenland, with a dinner at a private home in good atmosphere.

Bjørne Øerne & Charcot Havn – 07th September 2015

Jyttes Havn in Bjørne Øerne (Bear Islands) is one of the most beautiful natural harbours in Scoresbysund. Grundtvigskirke and other mountains around eastern Øfjord, almost 2000 metres high, have perfect mirror images on the calm water in the morning sun. The hike up the rocky hills is a bit demanding, but easy for strong hikers and the views are extremely rewarding.

Further south, Charcot Havn is the only useful bay on the eastern side of Milne Land. In contrast to the very old crystalline bedrock that makes up most of inner Scoresbysund, there is some sediment rock on the southern side of the bay, a western outlier of the Jameson Land Basin, and some fossils would be interesting for a change. The slope does not look too promising, the lower part covered with moraine remnants, all crystalline basement rock, where no Mesozoic frutti di mare would have got lost. Further up, there are coarse sandstone blocks. And they have got it all: bivalves, brachiopods, coral fragments, belemnites, the whole lot. Jurassic wadden sea, preserved in the rocks for more than 150 million years, brought to daylight by glaciers and frost action.

Gallery Bjørne Øerne & Charcot Havn – 07th September 2015

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

Huge icebergs are drifting every here and there in the late evening light, while Ópal is sailing through Hall Bredning, the wide-open middle part of the Scoresbysund. The water is flat calm, a beautiful evening.

Northern light – 06th September 2015

The late night brought another highlight: a northern light. The sky was glowing with green colours above the southwestern mountains when a beautiful aurora started to shine, coming and going a couple of times. That was definitely another wish that all of us here on board had.

Photo Northern light – 06th September 2015


Tundra land & Island fjord – 06th September 2015

The country in inner Scoresbysund is mostly steep and rather alpine, and it is not easy to find a place for a longer hike. No question that we had to go out once for a good walk to get lost in the arctic nature with body and soul. Today was the day, both the terrain and the weather were perfect for it.

Photo C. Hofmann Halvo – 06th September 2015 – 1/2


The tundra is glowing in all autumn colours: the Arctic willow in green and yellow, the Dwarf birch in red and brown and the Crowberry with a red so intense as if they had an lightbulb inbuilt. The hike is taking us from one hill crowned with a huge erratic boulder to the next one, every single one inviting for shorter or longer breaks to let the eye wander over the wide tundra and the colourful mountains. A first class arctic experience, faultless polar pleasure. A snowy hare and some muskoxen are the icing on the cake.

Photo C. Hofmann Halvo – 06th September 2015 – 2/2


The passage through Øfjord makes the round trip through the inner fjords of Scoresbysund complete. 40 nautical miles through this mighty sound, where near-vertical rockwalls drop a kilometre below sea level and rise similarly high above. A feast for those interested in geology and in aesthetical structures in rocks, and those who want to be impressed by the dimensions of a huge landscape, will find their heaven here anyway.

Photo Ofjord – 06th September 2015


Fjord of colours II – 05th September 2015

The display of colours at Røde Ø was impressive, but even more impressive was the bigger display of the same colours in one of the canyons further north. Normally, nature experience is not a matter of getting the same thing bigger, better or faster, but in this case, referring to the colours, this was the impression. We just went into one of these canyons without knowing how far we would get. We got amazingly far. Hundreds of metres of near vertical rockwalls to all sides, screaming dark red, crowned by a deep blue sky. An explosion of two colours, an amazing intensity.

Photo Rodefjord Canyon – 05th September 2015


Further north, muskoxen are grazing not far from the shore, then we reach a smaller outlet glacier that comes down from the inland ice. After a little climb, we get nice views down onto a crevassed glacier. On the way, an unexpected, happy meeting with a small muskoxen family. Surprise on both sides, cameras here, some moments of thinking there, then they move away. Amazing how fast these arctic, ice-age-style goats can climb up the steep slopes.

Photo Harefjord – 05th September 2015


A little evening walk into the colours of the sunset – again colours, that is just how Greenland is on a nice late summer day. Ópal is already anchored in a little bay as we arrive.

Fjord of wind – fjord of colours – 04rd September 2015

Fønfjord has got its name for a reason, and it lived up to its reputation. Of course the katabatic wind blows down and away from the inland ice, straight on the nose for us, that is. It is safe to bet the house on it. Pretty strong today, the wind.

But who says you can’t go ashore in Fønfjord?

Photo Fjord of wind – fjord of colours – 04rd September 2015


There is a nice little bay on the shore of Milne Land, where Ópal celebrated her lovely water ceremony. Meaning that we filled up our water supplies there. The captain put the bow straight on to the beach, and down into a little clear stream with the pump. Small ship pleasures!

Photo Røde Ø – 04rd September 2015 – 1/2


Rødefjord also has got its name for a reason. Deeply red sandstone. Near Red Island, nature has created an amazing wall of basalt columns like a pile of firewood. Vertical rock faces, just like Marlboro Country.

Photo Røde Ø – 04rd September 2015 – 2/2


But the icebergs are of course the best part. The famous iceberg graveyard north of Røde Ø, iceberg alley, iceberg city, whatever you want to call it. An incredible gathering of huge icebergs, mighty giants, grounded and surrounded with water calm like a mirror, scary dimensions and amazing numbers. Deep green colours indicate massive volumes of ice under water. After the zodiac tour, captain Hörður asked me if I liked it. What a question. If you don’t like that, then Greenland is not a place to go for you. The sheer beauty would make everyone speachless, I guess.

Basalt heaven in Vikingebugten – 03rd September 2015

The night has brought a fresh, white cover of snow to the ship and to the land. But it is thawing already, getting grey and wet, and it will not last for long.

The crew has to fight some neargoing ice floes off with long poles during the night.

Photo Basalt heaven in Vikingebugten – 03rd September 2015

Basalt heaven

The whole country south of Scoresbysund consists of basalt. The blood of the Earth, shed when a crack started to split a huge continent from south to north. The crack kept growing and today we know it as the Atlantic ocean. The Earth’s blood that was spilled during early stages of that process, that is the basalt. A huge basalt plateau that later broke into two parts. The Færøer Islands are part of the eastern bit.

Photo Taenderne – 03rd September 2015

Basalt heaven

East Greenland south of Scoresbysund is the western bit. This is why we find so many of nature’s architectural masterpieces, the basalt columns, in this area, in all shapes and sizes. The snow makes the structures very appearent in many places.

Photo Hecla Havn – 03rd September 2015


It is clearing up in the afternoon. The rocky hills of Danmark Ø invite for some good hiking. Colourful rocks provide insight in billions of years of Earth history next to amazing views over a very fine bit of Greenland.

From Reykjavik to Scoresbysund

It could have been a lovely calm night of desperately needed good sleep if that film team had not picked the little street just outside my guesthouse room to start filming at 5 a.m. I hope it will be a successful film, at least.

At 8 a.m., our small group of Greenland explorers met at the little domestic airport. Crossing the Denmark Strait in 27000 feet altitude is much faster and more comfortable than riding the waves for days.

Photo Blosseville Kyst – 02nd September 2015


The first part of Greenland that we saw was the Blosseville Kyst around Rømer Ø, south of Scoresbysund.

Photo Constable Point – 02nd September 2015


In Hurry Inlet, Ópal was waiting for us next to her sister vessel Donna Wood, a new member of the North Sailing fleet.

The first icebergs never fail to attract attention, and so do the mountains south of Scoresbysund. This wild coast is called Volquart Boons Kyst, a very inhospitable shore, with rugged mountains rising steeply more than 1000 metres high from the fjord, separated by some crevassed glaciers. A view as forbidding as attractive.

Photo Hall Bredning – 02nd September 2015


We want to get to the inner branches of the fjord, so we spend the afternoon sailing until we reach Vikingebugten. The anchor goes to the bottom and we go to bed.


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