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Home* Triplogs with photo galleriesArctic blog: Jan Mayen, Spitsbergen → Haugenstranda – 20th June 2016

Haugenstranda – 20th June 2016

The return to basecamp last night was great, everybody had stories to tell around a big casserole of Icelandic lamb stew. Anneli and Martin have reached the peak of Beerenberg together with mountain guide Magnus. Well done, congratulations!

Beyond this, everybody has explored the north extensively with most of the sites of interest over there. And as I came now stumbling back into the mess tent as the last mohican, everybody wanted to know what I had seen and experienced in the south.

After the many kilometres of the last days, my lower half demanded a calmer day. Initially I took the luxury of just being lazy for a couple of hours, before I put a little daypack together for a good beach walk. Walking along Haugenstranda to its end had been on my wishlist for a long time. It is stretching for 3 kilometres northeast from Kvalrossen, initially being very wide, getting narrower further north. It is covered with immense amounts of driftwood, something that is always interesting.

Slowly I walk between the various bits and pieces, wondering where they may have come from. As in Spitsbergen, most of the logs are cut, only a few have roots. Also the Jan Mayen driftwood has mostly made the long drift from Siberia across the Arctic Ocean. Only in a few cases, larger holes of boreworms indicate an origin in more temperate waters.

Unfortunately, the unavoidable plastic trash is to be found also here in volumes. Largely items from the fishing industry, but a lot of weird stuff as well, from hygiene articles over shoes to objects that I can not identify. A shame that tourists are not allowed anymore to make landings in places like this. They like to clean a beach, as everybody knows who has been following this blog for a while. As it is, the plastics just remain here on the arctic beaches. Well done, Oslo.

At the end of the beach, there is a lonesome grave on a little elevation. The metal plate on the wooden cross says Sivert Eide 1909. Sivert was member of the second group of Norwegian trappers who had come to Jan Mayen to overwinter and hunt polar foxes. They had mainly used the Austrian station in Maria Muschbukta, but additionally built a hut here at Haugenstranda. Sivert died here at Haugenstranda of scurvy in February 1909. The storms have not left anything of the hut, just some rusty remains of the stove and some wooden planks tell the careful observer where a wall once may have been.

Gallery 1 – Haugenstranda – 20th June 2016

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

The way back leads me over a ridge of low hills called Lågheia, which is separating the coasts to either side of Mid Jan. Just a few metres of elevation change the perspective greatly and allow scenic views over Haugenstranda, while saxifrages and moss campion delight the eye with colour patches on the ground. Aggressive glaucous gulls attack the wanderer fiercely. More than the birds, a light rainshower makes him set course back to Kvalrossbukta. Neumayerkrater, a volcanic crater that might have been a nice extra walk in this area, is shrouded in deep, grey clouds this time.

Various soil and vegetation structures tell a clear story about the ferocious winds Jan Mayen is so renowned for. Today, there is just a light, steady breeze blowing over the volcanic hills.

Gallery 2 – Haugenstranda – 20th June 2016

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

The wind, light and constant as it was up on the ridge, is falling down in strong gusts into Kvalrossbukta, quickly calming down again just to take a rest to gather strength for the next attack. During the night, we all have to get out of our sleeping bags to secure the mess tent with more stones and driftwood before it starts to take of for a flight over Jan Mayen.

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