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HomeArctic blog: Jan Mayen, Spitsbergen → Woodfjord – 08th June 2016

Woodfjord – 08th June 2016

Mus­ham­na is inde­ed still lar­ge­ly fro­zen – not real­ly a sur­pri­se in ear­ly June, but remar­kab­le con­si­de­ring this year’s ice con­di­ti­ons else­whe­re. Just enough space for us to anchor safe­ly for the night. In the evening, we can hear the mating calls of the seals insi­de the ship as it is very silent.

We explo­re Mus­ham­na with or without snow shoes, accord­ing to tas­te. Without snow shoes, we stay near the shore, whe­re the land is snow-free. Litt­le men­tal excur­si­ons take us back into the Devo­ni­an, tur­ning the beach into a geo­lo­gi­cal open air muse­um. Then, a lonely wal­rus, qui­te obvious­ly a male, attracts our atten­ti­on as he is lying on a san­dy spit, slee­ping, scratching hims­elf.

In the after­noon, the wes­tern coast of Woodfjord is the best place for us, due to the litt­le wes­ter­ly bree­ze. The area whe­re Chris­tia­ne Rit­ter („A woman in the polar night“) and her hus­band Her­mann wan­ted to visit their nea­rest neigh­bour, Stock­holm-Sven, a long time ago.

Stock­holm-Sven was not in his hut on Reins­dyr­flya. Neit­her was the­re an axe. Without an axe and the pos­si­bi­li­ty to make fire­wood, the hut might have been a dead­ly trap for Chris­tia­ne and Her­mann, had he not insis­ted on retur­ning quick­ly befo­re upco­m­ing bad wea­ther would make the return trip over the ice impos­si­ble.

Life is so much easier the­se days, some wet feet during a snow shoe hike over the swamps of mel­ting snow are not­hing com­pa­red to that. Wet snow is part of ever­y­day life in the arc­tic bet­ween win­ter and sum­mer.

But the late after­noon clean up Sval­bard ses­si­on is almost a tough exer­cise. Crew and vol­un­te­ers do not only clean the usu­al, smal­ler bits and pie­ces of fishing nets and other plastics from the beach, but then ven­ture to remo­ve a huge net­work of plastic ropes, that once may have been part of a very big fen­der. The plastic mons­ter requi­res all our for­ces for some hours, and 110 HP from the zodiacs in addi­ti­on to get it off the beach. Get­ting it on board is yet ano­t­her task. Final­ly, the beast is on deck, and the last plastic war­ri­ors get their high­ly deser­ved din­ner after mid­ni­ght. Thanks to Sascha, Jana, Alex­an­dra and Mai­ke for their Dut­ch bread din­ner 🙂

Gal­le­ry Woodfjord – 08th June 2016

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

This rope net­work is qui­te cer­tain­ly the lar­gest pie­ce of plastic gar­ba­ge that we Anti­gu­ans have ever remo­ved from a Spits­ber­gen beach and hau­led on deck. It will pro­bab­ly remain the big­gest one, it was on the edge of our capa­bi­li­ties. But now a lar­ge volu­me and weight of plastic ropes is gone, dan­ge­rous stuff for wild­life, and Spits­ber­gen is a good bit clea­ner.

By the way, my new book is in print and it can now be orde­red 🙂 it is a pho­to book with the tit­le “Nor­we­gens ark­ti­scher Nor­den (1): Spitz­ber­gen – vom Polar­licht bis zur Mit­ter­nachts­son­ne”, with Ger­man text Click here for fur­ther details!

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last modification: 2016-08-12 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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