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HomeArctic blog: Jan Mayen, Spitsbergen → Storøya & Kvi­tøya – 23rd July 2016

Storøya & Kvi­tøya – 23rd July 2016

We were alrea­dy far north and the wea­ther was on our side. So we set cour­se around Nord­aus­t­land and to Spitsbergen’s remo­test are­as. It tur­ned out a day not to be for­got­ten. It star­ted with calm seas, no wind and sunshi­ne. The wide ice­cap of Nord­aus­t­land was glit­te­ring in the sun on star­boardsi­de, the smal­ler Storøya, also lar­ge­ly cove­r­ed by an ice cap with a typi­cal hourg­lass pro­fi­le. North of it, some squa­re kilo­me­tres of ice-free, bar­ren land.

But it was not unin­ha­bi­ted. It did not take long until we found the first polar bear. It was not to be the last one for today. To be honest, I lost the over­view in the end, we saw some­thing like 13 or 14 polar bears on Storøya. Some were just slee­ping, others wal­king around on the shore, some chewing on bones of a wha­le that must have stran­ded here some time ago. An ama­zing specta­cle, which I can’t descri­be in all detail now, it would take a lot of time. But we spent an unf­or­gett­able morning in their near neigh­bour­hood, watching them from the Zodiacs, how they were res­ting near the shore, wal­king around, play­ing with each other, occa­sio­nal­ly curious­ly com­ing towards us, even swim­ming into our direc­tion … stun­ning, unf­or­gett­able.

Final­ly, the bears went for a sies­ta and so did we, all tho­se impres­si­ons nee­ded to sett­le down, be pro­ces­sed and stored. Mean­while, we set cour­se on Kvi­tøya, Spitsbergen’s remo­test island. A good 30 miles, calm hours, a chan­ce to relax a bit.

Gal­le­ry Storøya & Kvi­tøya – 23rd July 2016

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

In the evening, the anchor went down near Andrée­ne­set, whe­re Andrée, Fræn­kel and Strind­berg made their final land­fall on 05th Octo­ber 1897 after their famous bal­loon flight and the long jour­ney across the ice. Step­ping on solid ground was a plea­su­re that was not meant for us tonight, the­re was one polar bear just too clo­se for that, and it even came a bit clo­ser. So we went out into the Zodiacs to have a good look at the memo­ri­al from a litt­le distance, a simp­le con­cre­te block mar­king the site of the Andrée-expedition’s final camp. And of cour­se to have a look at the polar bear that was wal­king around on the near­by beach not far away, loo­king qui­te meag­re and chewing some sea­weed. A bit fur­ther north, ano­t­her polar bear sca­red a lar­ge herd of wal­ru­ses into the water.

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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