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Home* News and Stories → Looking back at 2015 – March

Looking back at 2015 – March

Spitsbergen got back into international headlines in early March, when a polar bear was shot after an encounter with Czech ski tourists in their camp. One man suffered mild injuries when he was dragged out of his tent. The event might have been avoided, which makes the result – a dead polar bear – even more sad. And still more sad for us, as we are quite sure that this bear was one of the two cute little cubs that were playing so beautifully with their mother in Tempelfjord in early May 2013. We had the privilege to spend many hours observing them, a stunning experience that will stay with us forever. I am straying off course, this was 2013. And now they are dead … the first one probably died in April 2014, after anaesthesia for scientific purposes. A connection? Does not exist, officially. Of course.

Now, away from sadness and disaster. On March 20, shortly after 11 a.m. local time, Spitsbergen was blessed with a total eclipse. Once before, I had seen a partical eclipse, which I found quite impressive. Many people have since told me that a total eclipse is something completely different from a partial one. Yes, of course. Always great to tell someone „what you have seen isn’t the real thing“. Pure blatancy, isn’t it?

No, they were simply right. A total eclipse is an unreal, otherworldly, frighteningly beautiful experience. And this in the context Spitsbergen’s winter landscape, which is magical by itself! From the diverse light phenomena to the atmosphere that silenced everything while it crept over valleys and mountains and the temperature which was falling drastically within moments: all this was extremely impressive. Unforgettable.

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

All the eclipse tourists, who had come from all over the globe, where so extremely lucky with the weather, maybe more than there were aware of. Until then, there had been remarkably few clear days. But this Friday had been immaculately beautiful.

last modification: 2016-01-01 · copyright: Rolf Stange