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Monthly Archives: August 2016 − News & Stories

Polar bear shot on Prins Karls For­land

The series of sad news about dead­ly encoun­ters bet­ween polar bears and humans in Spits­ber­gen does not stop: on August 09, a polar bear was shot in the bay Sel­vå­gen on Prins Karls For­land on Spitsbergen’s west coast.

The polar bear was a young fema­le, 2 years old, weig­hing 155 kg.

Sin­ce August 01, 6 Rus­si­an sci­en­tists were based in a camp in Sel­vå­gen. As far as known, the polar bear was for the first time in the vici­ni­ty of the camp on August 09. As she was in a distance of 130 met­res (yes: one hundred and thir­ty met­res!), one of the sci­en­tists fired a war­ning shot from a fla­re gun. Imme­dia­te­ly the­re­af­ter, ano­ther fired two sharp shots from a rif­le. At least one of the­se shots must have hit the polar bear on a distance of 130 m.

The woun­ded ani­mal went into the water whe­re she died soon. The Rus­si­ans towed her to the shore with a rope.

This hap­pen­ed around 10 p.m. The Sys­sel­man­nen was infor­med about 12 hours later. The law requi­res to inform the aut­ho­ri­ties as soon as pos­si­ble in such a case.

Once local inves­ti­ga­ti­ons are com­ple­ted, the case will be for­ward­ed the the fede­ral pro­se­cu­tor in Troms og Finn­mark (north Nor­way).

Fur­ther details have not yet been published, but the distance of 130 m and the short time bet­ween the war­ning shot and the sharp shots may indi­ca­te that no serious attempt was made to sca­re the bear away and save her life.

The bay Sel­vå­gen a few days befo­re the polar bear was shot on August 09.

Spitsbergen: Selvågen

Source: Sval­bard­pos­ten

Bell­sund, Isfjord – 17th-19th August, 2016

17th-19th August, 2016 – We made lar­ge steps back towards Isfjord, but not wit­hout an exten­si­ve stop in Bell­sund. The­re, we star­ted with a rela­xed after­noon in the pan­ora­ma lounge of the Arc­ti­ca II, wat­ching how wind, low clouds and rain tur­ned the arc­tic into some­thing very grey. Later that day, it cle­ared up a bit and we went out for a walk in Recher­chefjord.

Things got bet­ter next day when we went for a lon­ger hike in Van Keu­len­fjord. After a few hundred met­res over fos­sil beach rid­ges we were gree­ted by a lar­ge male reinde­er. Having as much time as we would need or want is so good. Not having to keep an eye on the watch, just taking things as they come. It does not yet get dark here at night­ti­me … it took some time, but then the reinde­er had real­ly come clo­se to us, just being curious and fri­end­ly befo­re it went its way again.

We fol­lo­wed a small river with love­ly litt­le water­falls to that gla­cier cave that we hap­pen­ed to find in July. When you are lucky enough to find some­thing like that, then you have to make use of it! So we did, we went into the won­derful insi­de world of that gla­cier and enjoy­ed (you can do this now also online, with a 360 degree pan­o­r­amic view, just by cli­cking this link).

Final­ly it was time for the last open sea pas­sa­ge to Isfjord. It tur­ned out to be a bit of a pas­sa­ge due to a stiff bree­ze which was fil­ling the sail, so we went up north with excel­lent speed. The fri­ends of sai­ling cer­tain­ly had a gre­at evening! This was noti­ced also insi­de the ship, as some gusts made the ship lean over quite stron­gly befo­re we ente­red Grønfjord to find a shel­te­red ancho­ra­ge.

Gal­lery – Bell­sund, Isfjord – 17th-19th August, 2016

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

As the wind kept blo­wing in Isfjord the next day, we deci­ded to spend the last day of the trip in Grønfjord, which was com­pa­ra­tively shel­te­red. Anyo­ne who thought Grønfjord does not have nice natu­re and sce­n­ery was posi­tively dis­ap­poin­ted during a litt­le moun­tain hike respec­tively tun­dra walk. Final­ly, we had our first mee­ting with civi­li­sa­ti­on again in Barents­burg, befo­re we enjoy­ed Heinrich’s gre­at final din­ner and then made the last miles (of 1192 in total) back to Lon­gye­ar­by­en.

Horn­sund – 16th August 2016

Due to the night shift on the wheel, I miss the first landing in Horn­sund, but later I hear of a litt­le hike, reinde­er, arc­tic sku­as and a gla­cier as I join group life again around mid day.

Hard­ly anyo­ne has real­ly slept well last night becau­se of the move­ments of the boat, so a rela­xed litt­le walk at Gnå­lod­den is the per­fect choice for the after­noon. It is pure plea­su­re to lie on dry tun­dra near the bird cliff – the kit­ti­wa­kes are still the­re, making a lot of noi­se – and let the eye wan­der over the arc­tic land­scape.

What a life, what a land!

We also have a look at Wan­ny Woldstad’s home in Horn­sund, name­ly in Hyt­te­vi­ka. She is the one who wro­te the pre­vious sen­tence in her book about her adven­tur­ous life as a fema­le hun­ter here in the 1930s. The hut in Hyt­te­vi­ka, built in 1907, got some serious main­tainan­ce ear­lier this som­mer. Good job. Now she is rea­dy for ano­ther 100 years. (the­re is a pan­ora­ma tour of this hut on this web­site).

Gal­lery – Horn­sund – 16th August 2016

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

Then we are loo­king for­ward to a calm night at anchor. But some of the swell is still rol­ling in here, so it is not as calm as we had been hoping for. As also the wind is picking up and the anchor alarm is going for the third time, Hein­rich lifts the anchor in the ear­ly mor­ning hours and we start steam­ing north.

Storfjord – 15th August 2016

Now we have to move one, we still have many miles to go to the west coast, up to Isfjord, and to Lon­gye­ar­by­en. We are pas­sing Mohn­buk­ta. The over­land trip from the­re to Lon­gye­ar­by­en would just take a few hours, but that’s ano­ther sea­son, ano­ther way of get­ting around … Agardhbuk­ta fol­lows, from here it would be a hike of 4-5 days for strong wal­kers. That is about the amount of time that we still have for the long trip around the south cape.

My per­so­nal memo­ries of the fol­lo­wing two days are not quite com­ple­te, as we keep steam­ing through two nights. Initi­al­ly, Hein­rich, Kers­tin and I take shifts, which we then redu­ce to Hein­rich and me during the second night so Kers­tin can take care of landings, which I am miss­ing. A stran­ge expe­ri­ence for me, but this way we can keep moving, which is important now. How did we make this work until last year, wit­hout a second gui­de? I don’t know.

But we do make landings. In Isbuk­ta, we make an unu­su­al obser­va­ti­on: a Harp seal on a pie­ce of gla­cier ice! Very clo­se to us, the cha­rac­te­ristic fur pat­tern is cle­ar­ly visi­ble. Then the group makes a hike on shore.

Gal­lery – Storfjord – 15th August 2016

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

We pass the infa­mous south cape during the night. Calm seas and reasonable wea­ther allow Hein­rich to exe­cu­te a nau­ti­cal mas­ter­pie­ce as he is navi­ga­ting Arc­ti­ca through through a nar­row and shal­low pas­sa­ge north of the small islands, saving a good 20 nau­ti­cal miles on our way to Horn­sund. Good thing, as it starts rol­ling as we reach the west coast.

Straums­land – 14th August 2016

The Nor­we­gi­an wea­ther fore­cast is curr­ent­ly not worth the paper it is writ­ten on (and we don’t even print it). We should have been able to sail and make landings com­for­ta­b­ly in calm con­di­ti­ons. In real life, we have had quite strong winds last night and today mor­ning, enjoy­ing some real sai­ling. But even in a lee side posi­ti­on, it was too win­dy to make a landing today mor­ning.

So we con­tin­ued sou­thwards out of Hin­lo­pen Strait in order to make use of the pre­cious time, even though it was a bum­py road on the way to Heley­sund. So gre­at the­re is this well-shel­te­red bay the­re, what would we do wit­hout it? Even the­re, we spent the after­noon on board, wai­ting for the wind to sett­le down, but we did that in all com­fort and safe­ty. In the evening, it cal­med down and we enjoy­ed a nice hike around Straums­land, the arc­tic show­ing hers­elf in peace and beau­ty again.

Gal­lery – Straums­land – 14th August 2016

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

We are steam­ing sou­thwards in Storfjord through the night. The remai­ning days are get­ting fewer and we have to make sure we are get­ting back to the west coast now. Skip­per and gui­des are taking shifts, pas­sen­gers act as co-pilots during the night hours. See whe­re we end up tomor­row. Curr­ent­ly we have Mohn­buk­ta in the most beau­tiful mid­night sun light on our star­board side.

Hin­lo­pen Strait II – 13th August 2016

Mira­cles of Hin­lo­pen Strait! Today was a day of wild­life. Brünich’s guil­l­emots in ama­zing num­bers – you know the place, we have been the­re befo­re, more than once. But Alkef­jel­let is and remains exci­ting. It is dif­fe­rent every time. This time, a lot of the chicks were alre­a­dy on the water, rea­dy to start the long trip to south Green­land tog­e­ther with their fathers.

It is pro­ba­b­ly less well known whe­re you can find puf­fins in Hin­lo­pen Strait 🙂

We saw four polar bears today. A mother with a cup up on a hill slo­pe, quite distant. We got a bit clo­ser to this well-fed guy who was spen­ding the after­noon on a very green slo­pe. The veggie food see­med to to him well. Of cour­se we don’t know what else he may have had recent­ly.

Gal­lery – Hin­lo­pen Strait II – 13th August 2016

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

We do know, howe­ver, that peo­p­le are sup­po­sed to keep some distance from wal­rus­ses. But nice that the wal­rus­ses don’t always know that 🙂

Hin­lo­pen Strait I – 12th August 2016

After the „ner­ve-wre­cking pas­sa­ge“ (accor­ding to the pilot book, Den Nor­ske Los) of Fran­k­lin­sund, which is lar­ge­ly shal­low and most­ly unchar­ted, and some win­dy miles down into Hin­lo­pen Strait, we made Murch­ison­fjord our first stop in this area. It is, of cour­se, at the same time still part of Nord­aus­t­land. One good reason for going the­re was mee­ting the smal­ler sis­ter ship Arc­ti­ca I, which had brought some sought-after goods from Lon­gye­ar­by­en inclu­ding fresh fruit and yoghurt.

The polar desert around Murch­ison­fjord is made up of very old rocks, which gives tho­se with some back­ground in geo­lo­gy insight in some of the very ear­ly chap­ters of the histo­ry of life on earth. Colo­nies of algae that around 800 mil­li­on years ago con­tri­bu­ted to the con­tent of free oxy­gen of today’s atmo­sphe­re, which we use for breathing and bur­ning fuels and cand­les. The­re is a group of geo­lo­gists on Arc­ti­ca I doing rese­arch on this, and they kind­ly gave us a short, but very inte­res­t­ing intro­duc­tion into their work.

Gal­lery – Hin­lo­pen Strait I – 12th August 2016

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

We got fur­ther insight into geo­lo­gy, a snow cave crea­ted by a melt­wa­ter river and a beau­tiful litt­le can­yon as we ven­tu­red out on land.

Nord­aus­t­land – 10th-12th August 2016

10th-12th August 2016 – Exci­ting days on the north coast of Nord­aus­t­land. To the south, the­re are the lar­ge ice caps, and to the north, the Arc­tic Oce­an. Bet­ween them, a nar­row stri­pe of bar­ren, ice-free land. It has ple­nty of rocks and lichens. Any­thing else is rare or absent.

And yet, the­re is so much. Impres­si­ons that are hard to squeeze into words. Land­scapes that have a lot of NOT­HING. I don’t mean the absence of any­thing that could catch the eye or mind. Quite the oppo­si­te: the­re is a lot of some­thing that might be descri­bed as NOT­HING. May­be emp­ty­ness is ano­ther term that makes the point. Any attempt to descri­be this would soon get bog­ged down in a long list of stones and rocks, shore­li­nes and gla­ciers, bays and fjords. Every flower, no mat­ter how small, beco­mes an attrac­tion, any chan­ge of rock cat­ches our atten­ti­on. It pro­ba­b­ly doesn’t sound very exci­ting unless you have expe­ri­en­ced the gre­at NOT­HING yours­elf. Many could pro­ba­b­ly stand in this land­scape and wouldn’t expe­ri­ence the gre­at NOT­HING, but just see – not­hing.

Gal­lery – Nord­aus­t­land – 10th-12th August 2016

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

We hap­pen­ed to visit the Hau­de­gen sta­ti­on, the last out­post of Ger­man sol­diers during the second world war. A mili­ta­ry wea­ther sta­ti­on that was not reli­e­ved befo­re Sep­tem­ber 1945, when a ship came from Nor­way. Ano­ther place we visi­ted was inner Bren­ne­vins­fjord, whe­re the Glen expe­di­ti­on from Oxford had a base for their rese­arch on the ice cap Ves­t­fon­na in 1935-36. The edge of the ice cap is just a few minu­tes wal­king away from the shore and it is easi­ly acces­si­ble.

Now we are on our way into Hin­lo­pen Strait.

Karl XII Øya, Foynøya – 09th August 2016

The end of the world! Yeah! Remo­te, litt­le islands are always some­thing spe­cial. The­re is always some­thing to dis­co­ver, and you never know what will hap­pen. The­re are often polar bears on small islands in this area. And, of cour­se, the wea­ther. You need some luck to make things work here.

They could never quite agree if Karl XII Island is one island or two. It was descri­bed as two islands after its dis­co­very in the 19th cen­tu­ry. Later in the 20th cen­tu­ry, both islets grew tog­e­ther, it is said. Now it is defi­ni­te­ly two islands. We could have gone through bet­ween them by Zodiac. If you can­not get from one end to the other with rub­ber boots wit­hout get­ting you feet wet, even at low tide, it can­not be just one island. Peri­od.

After having a good look around for polar bears and deci­ding that the only bear around, which way lying up on a slo­pe seve­ral hundred met­res away from our pro­s­pec­ted landing site, was not too much of a bother, we went ashore. Under the­se con­di­ti­ons, you can’t walk far from the boat, but the­re was not much space on level ground any­way, and the one and only hill was obvious­ly alre­a­dy occu­p­ied. The num­ber of kit­ty­wa­kes bree­ding up the­re is remar­kab­le, the­re is a con­stant noi­se and the slo­pes under the colo­ny are very lush and green. Tog­e­ther with the dark, rug­ged rocks and the over­all shape of the islands, which is long and nar­row, with the only real ele­va­ti­on at the nor­t­hern end and some lower hill at the sou­thern, it makes a nice minia­tu­re ver­si­on of Jan May­en.

A dead polar bear and some spread bones are silent but clear wit­nesses of how hard a bear’s life can be. But the strong one up on the hill is obvious­ly doing well, howe­ver exact­ly he is doing it.

Karl XII Øya and espe­ci­al­ly Foynøya beca­me famous in 1928 when Nobile’s air­ship Ita­lia cra­s­hed in their vici­ni­ty. The famous „red tent“ that housed the 9 sur­vi­vors of the crash – 6 men dis­ap­peared tog­e­ther with the air­ship – drifted for a while on the ice in this area. Among­st many reli­ef expe­di­ti­ons was a dog sledge par­ty with the Dutch­man Josef van Don­gen and the Ita­li­an Gen­na­ro Sora, who nal­ly beca­me stuck on Foynøya on 04 July; they were res­cued on 13 July by a Swe­dish sea­pla­ne. (With this last sen­tence, I copy mys­elf from my Spits­ber­gen book, I was too lazy to wri­te a new sen­tence.)

That brings us to Foynøya, which we explo­red in the after­noon. The nor­t­hern end, to be pre­cise. Some arte­facts from 1928 are said to be still the­re, a box and a pis­tol or wha­te­ver. I guess you would need weeks to dis­co­ver it, tur­ning every stone around, if any­thing was actual­ly real­ly still the­re.

Gal­lery Karl XII Øya, Foynøya – 09th August 2016

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

And the­re are a lot of stones. Foynøya has got its very own charme. It is obvious­ly a high arc­tic island, with lots of gra­ni­te rocks, wea­the­red and bro­ken into lar­ge bould­ers. Black guil­l­emots are sit­ting and screa­ming on high cliffs. Some fog banks add to the atmo­sphe­re, wit­hout obscu­ring too much of the sce­n­ery.

Nor­t­hern Spits­ber­gen – 7th/8th August 2016

7th/8th August 2016 – The day did not just start grey and wet, it also remain­ed grey and wet. We adjus­ted our day in Raud­fjord, which today was a Gråfjord, by making it shorter, just making a litt­le moun­tain hike to have a view of a cloud from the insi­de and to stretch our legs a litt­le bit. Then we pushed on to the nor­the­ast, the best thing one can do with such a day is enjoy­ing a rela­xed after­noon on board while making miles. We rea­ched Sjuøya­ne after mid­night and drop­ped anchor for some calm hours.

Also Sjuøya­ne were any­thing but fog-free today, but visi­bi­li­ty was enough for a landing, to visit some wal­rus­ses and to make a walk in this high-arc­tic land­scape. We finis­hed the tour a bit ear­lier, as it tur­ned out that the ter­rain was occup­pied by a polar bear.

Ves­le Tav­leøya asnd Ros­søya are Europe’s nor­t­hern­most islands, rocks in this sea of fog that does not real­ly want to be an ice sea any­mo­re. But the islands are home to puf­fins. We saw also some of last year’s juve­ni­les.

Gal­lery Nor­t­hern Spits­ber­gen – 7th/8th August 2016

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

We made good use of a bree­ze by con­ti­nuing under sail towards the 81st par­al­lel, sai­ling bey­ond the edge of most maps on board. Kind of lea­ving the world behind, for while.

Nor­thwest Spits­ber­gen – 6th August 2016

The day star­ted a bit fog­gy, which is not neces­s­a­ri­ly a bad thing. You can give it a gent­le start, slow­ly kreep out of the slee­ping bag and have a peaceful break­fast wit­hout miss­ing any­thing.

But then the day real­ly took off. The sun star­ted to burn holes into the fog, alt­hough the remai­ning fog banks were lar­ge­ly very deco­ra­ti­ve. The har­bour seals on Dan­s­køya tur­ned out to be relia­ble, and so did the 17th cen­tu­ry gra­ves and blub­ber ovens on Ams­ter­damøya. Well, they tend to be less mobi­le than the seals any­way.

Gal­lery Nor­thwest Spits­ber­gen – 6th August 2016

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

The litt­le auks in their colo­nies here in nor­thwes­tern Spits­ber­gen are semi-mobi­le, with their sea­so­nal migra­ti­ons, but still more mobi­le than a blub­ber oven that has been sta­tio­na­ry for about 400 years. Now in August, most of them were gone (the litt­le auks, not the blub­ber ovens). But even if the­re hadn’t been a sin­gle one at all: the two blue foxes would have been more than worth making that landing alo­ne!

Mag­da­le­nefjord – 5th August 2016

Around mid-day we had rea­ched Mag­da­le­nefjord. Going into Mag­da­le­nefjord was not even part of the plan, but as we don’t real­ly have a plan, it didn’t real­ly mat­ter … we keep making decis­i­ons as we go along the way, and as it was quite fog­gy fur­ther north, but clear in Mag­da­le­nefjord, this decis­i­on was an easy one.

During a first litt­le walk on a nice sand beach (no, not Grav­ne­set), we saw arc­tic turn chicks, may­be flap­ping their wings today for the first time, doing their first met­res in flight … the first of many mil­li­on more to come, they will spend most of their life migra­ting back and forth bet­ween the Arc­tic and the Ant­ar­c­tic. So litt­le ani­mals, such an ama­zing life. Some wal­rus­ses were swim­ming around, with a gla­cier front pro­vi­ding a good back­ground.

Not far away, a polar bear was res­t­ing on the shore. We had a good, reason­ab­ly clo­se look at it. It just lifted its head, not giving a sh… about our pre­sence. Or any­bo­dy else’s pre­sence. The­re was about half a dozen of boats drif­ting or ancho­ring in that bay, crow­ding the place. Not that it bothe­red the bear much. But the place was over­c­row­ded, well, it has been very crow­ded for more than a 100 years the­re, it is not­hing new. But not­hing we would want to be part of, so we left soon and hea­ded on.

Gal­lery Mag­da­le­nefjord – 5th August 2016

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

We left Mag­da­le­nefjord in good style: hiking. Hundreds of thou­sands of tou­rists have been the­re over the deca­des, but few have done that, lea­ving not on a ship, but on foot. We made a nice gla­cier pas­sa­ge to the north. On the way to the gla­cier, we pas­sed a polar bear just a few hundred met­res from us. We could only see it when we had alre­a­dy pas­sed it. It was lying fur­ther up on the slo­pe, wat­ching us for a moment, then lay­ing its head down again, not taking any fur­ther noti­ce of us at all. Good. We went our way up on the gla­cier, up into the fog, the moun­ta­ins occa­sio­nal­ly coming out bet­ween fog banks … a mys­tery atmo­sphe­re, small melt­wa­ter streams run­ning down the gla­cier, dis­ap­pearing into the ice in lar­ge holes. The com­bi­na­ti­on of a gla­cier, a polar bear and fog made this tour quite unfor­gettable.

Kongsfjord – 04th August 2016

After a quiet mor­ning on board with gre­at views of the han­ging gla­ciers on Prins Karls For­land and a bit of geo­lo­gi­cal info­tain­ment (what a stu­pid word! It was a pre­sen­ta­ti­on, or a lec­tu­re, if you pre­fer that. Peri­od.) we rea­ched Kongsfjor­den. Both Kongsfjord­bu­tik­ken and air­ship mast have a remar­kab­le dra­wing power also for advan­ced Spits­ber­gen tra­vel­lers. And we want to re-fill die­sel any­way, to be able to reach the remo­test parts of the Sval­bard archi­pe­la­go should the oppor­tu­ni­ty ari­se. We will see what the wea­ther tells us to do.

The gre­at wea­ther with light exact­ly from the right direc­tion made an excur­si­on to the gla­ciers almost man­da­to­ry. Arc­ti­ca II under sail near Kong­s­ve­gen, some of Spitsbergen’s most impres­si­ve moun­ta­ins in the back­ground, all in suns­hi­ne, and then a big cal­ving just behind the boat. An ama­zing sce­ne, a spec­ta­cle, almost too much for the sen­ses.

The wea­ther is still fine, but sup­po­sed to turn to the worse tomor­row. So we igno­re time and tired­ness but head of for some good hiking on Blom­strand­hal­vøya. Well-known ter­rain, you should think. But even here, the­re is always some­thing new to dis­co­ver. One group takes off for some moun­tain hiking, enjoy­ing fine views of the sur­roun­ding gla­ciers and moun­ta­ins from an ele­va­ted posi­ti­on. The others do some caving. Not wit­hout suc­cess.

Gal­lery Kongsfjord – 04th August 2016

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

It is late as ever­y­bo­dy comes back on board. Break­fast is delay­ed next mor­ning and not real­ly syn­chro­ni­zed. We are alre­a­dy back to the west coast, hea­ding north, as we get up one by one.

Trygg­ham­na – 03. August 2016

So we are off again, this time with Arc­ti­ca II. Six­ty feet of steel, 12 souls insi­de, inclu­ding skip­per and boat owner Hein­rich from Lon­gye­ar­by­en, Kers­tin Lan­gen­ber­ger as gui­de and me. Yes, this year we have got two gui­des on board.

Piz­za from the pub in Lon­gye­ar­by­en is the first high­light on board, and then we sail out of the har­bour. The­re is still a mode­ra­te bree­ze blo­wing in Isfjor­den, so we can get used to life at sea a bit. Not too much, but enough for some. Not too long though, it is get­ting cal­mer again as we approach the nor­t­hern side of Isfjord and it is calm as a lake as we are get­ting into the shel­te­red bay of Trygg­ham­na.

The hig­hest moun­tain tops are in clouds as we wake up next mor­ning, but it is nice, clear and dry, so we start for a litt­le moun­tain hike. Knu­v­len is a temp­ting litt­le top, just 325 met­res high but with gre­at views of sur­roun­ding gla­ciers, moun­ta­ins and the fjord. The view is worth every sin­gle one of the many rocky met­res.

Gal­lery Trygg­ham­na – 03. August 2016

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

It is get­ting grey as we con­ti­nue into For­lands­und. We enjoy views of the coast as we pass Daud­manns­od­den near­by, but then it is a good oppor­tu­ni­ty to rest a bit, to read, to sort pic­tures … until we drop anchor in a litt­le bay at Prins Karls For­land for a calm night. We took the oppor­tu­ni­ty for a litt­le evening walk, dis­co­ve­ring the tun­dra with the colours of some late flowers and the remains of a hunter’s cabin, once solid­ly built with drift­wood logs, a mate­ri­al other­wi­se rare­ly used for that pur­po­se.

Polar bear fami­ly shot at Aus­t­fj­ord­ne­set: shoo­ter gets fine

The case of the polar bear fami­ly shot in June at Aus­t­fj­ord­ne­set has been mat­ter of this blog in two pre­vious artic­les (click here for the first one and here for the second one).

The ver­dict of the public pro­se­cu­tor in Trom­sø has now been published. The shoo­ter has got a fine of 20,000.00 NOK (just abo­ve 2100 Euro) becau­se of negli­gence (“uakt­som­het”). The man has accept­ed the fine, the ver­dict is accor­din­gly in force.

Polar bear fami­ly shot at Aus­t­fj­ord­ne­set – Cour­se of action

The polar bear mother and her cub had been around the hut alre­a­dy for a while, when the shoo­ter wan­ted to sca­re her away with a rub­ber bul­let. The the wea­pon, pro­ba­b­ly a pump-action shot­gun, was loa­ded with a mix­tu­re of sharp ammu­ni­ti­on and rub­ber bul­lets. The shoo­ter did not know exact­ly how the wea­pon was loa­ded and fired a sharp car­tridge rather than a rub­ber bul­let, kil­ling the polar bear mother ins­tead of sca­ring her away with a harm­less hit.

The­re was no acu­te dan­ger to human life during the situa­ti­on, as the shoo­ter was on the roof of the cabin and the second per­son insi­de.

Both trap­pers are back on Aus­t­fj­ord­ne­set and will con­ti­nue their win­tering. A few days ago, ano­ther polar bear that could not be scared away from the sta­ti­on area had been tran­qui­li­zed and flown out to Nord­aus­t­land by the aut­ho­ri­ties.

Polar bear fami­ly at Nor­dens­ki­öld­breen (archi­ve image, Sep­tem­ber 2012).

Spitsbergen: polar bear family

Source: Sys­sel­man­nen


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