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Yearly Archives: 2015 − Travelblog


Around Cole­s­da­len

Land­s­cape in blue and grey in cen­tral Nor­dens­kiöld Land, some­whe­re bet­ween Lon­gye­ar­by­en and Bar­ents­burg. Small and lar­ge val­leys, wide views, new tracks. Few kilo­me­tres, many impres­si­ons and pho­tos. In our focus – in the tru­est sen­se! – the win­ter light of a clou­dy late March day and the snow mobi­les in dif­fe­rent ever­y­day dri­ving situa­tions. I spent more time in front of the came­ra rather than behind it, so my own pho­to collec­tion from this day is not immense.

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

Breino­sa & Hior­th­hamn

You don’t have to go far away. Light and sce­ne­ry, gre­at views and some wild­life – it is all here, clo­se to or even wit­hin Lon­gye­ar­by­en. No polar bears or wal­rus­ses, but tho­se endu­ring win­ter dwel­lers who can’t escape: rein­de­er and ptar­mi­gan. The lat­ter are well camou­fla­ged also in win­ter, with their white plu­mage, so you almost can’t see them in the snow when they put the head down to pick some seeds from the fro­zen tun­dra, which is expo­sed whe­re the snow has been remo­ved by rein­de­er on their eter­nal search for food. So gre­at to watch this ever-las­ting fight for sur­vi­val in the arc­tic without being part of it.

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

Hior­th­hamn, just oppo­si­te Lon­gye­ar­by­en, has one of Spitsbergen’s most impres­si­ve bits of his­to­ri­cal heri­ta­ge: the old coal ship­ping cra­ne from the ear­ly 20th cen­tu­ry years of mining. Young ice floes are gent­ly scratching the icy shore while the set­ting sun cas­ts a blood-red light over the moun­tains on the north side of Isfjord. It is late after­noon, not even evening, but it is just over 2 weeks ago that the first sun­rays in Lon­gye­ar­by­en were recei­ved with cele­bra­ti­on after the polar night. Now the light is com­ing back quick­ly.

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

The solar eclip­se

The solar eclip­se, schdu­led by astro­no­my some thousand years ago, if not more, for the late morning of today, Fri­day 20th of March, 2015, beca­me a huge event for the inte­res­ted public years ago alrea­dy. Thousands of eclip­se pil­grims from all over the world had brought the litt­le air­port near Lon­gye­ar­by­en to the limits of its capa­ci­ties with nume­rous sche­du­led and char­te­red flights, and the situa­tions in the local hotels was qui­te simi­lar. The all-important ques­ti­on was obvous­ly the wea­ther. As soon as the first long-term fore­casts had emer­ged from the crys­tal balls 10 days befo­re, they were care­ful­ly scru­ti­ni­zed, and thousands of thumbs were surely kept well cros­sed over the glo­be.

As it tur­ned out, the wea­ther Gods were on our side: some thin clouds clea­red up during the morning to give way to an undis­tur­bed view of a bril­li­ant­ly clear sky. Thousands of visi­tors and locals went to Advent­da­len near Lon­gye­ar­by­en to obser­ve the specta­cle, and the ten­si­on was rising when the tota­li­ty approa­ched at 11.12 a.m. local time. We went a bit fur­ther into Advent­da­len, to enjoy the event in silence.

Solar eclip­ses have been descri­bed many times but remain, howe­ver, inde­scri­bable, so I won’t try. I thought that tho­se who said a total solar eclip­se was still some­thing com­ple­te­ly dif­fe­rent than a par­ti­al one were exa­g­ge­ra­ting, but it is com­ple­te­ly true, and we are very glad to have seen it. Total darkness and total cold in the fin­ger­tips, but it was abso­lute­ly worth it. The moment the coro­na was blosso­m­ing … but I didn’t want to descri­be it. So: pho­tos! Of cour­se I took some pho­tos, some­thing that wasn’t that easy … can we plea­se do it again?

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

It could be felt all over Lon­gye­ar­by­en in the after­noon how the stress and ten­si­on of the last days gave way to joy and relie­ve.

Tem­pel­fjord

In mid March, the arc­tic part of this year is begin­ning for me, and so does the arc­tic blog. A few weeks have gone sin­ce my return from the Ant­arc­tic, and some days befo­re the eclip­se it is time to move up to Lon­gye­ar­by­en again, to get rea­dy in time, get snow mobi­les and ski out again for some warm-up tours. The first ones went to Sas­senda­len and Tem­pel­fjor­den.

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

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