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HomeArctic blog: Jan Mayen, Spitsbergen → Kongsfjord – 21st Sep­tem­ber 2016

Kongsfjord – 21st Sep­tem­ber 2016

The day star­ted in an inte­res­t­ing way. The strong wind made us seek shel­ter in the pro­tec­ted bay of Peirs­son­ham­na, whe­re a landing was easy. Accor­ding to the wea­ther fore­cast, the wind was to decrease and to turn into an even more favoura­ble direc­tion, giving us the full shel­ter of the bay. Sound­ed good to us. After a while on shore, final­ly with the gol­den Sep­tem­ber light we had been lon­ging for, the oppo­si­te hap­pen­ed: the wind picked up and tur­ned south, hit­ting our landing beach with full force. So we went back and did some nice Zodiac maneou­vres South Geor­gia style: stern landing on a surf beach. Easy for anyo­ne who has done that at Salis­bu­ry Plain in South Georgia’s Bay of Isles a cou­ple of times, so I think we all enjoy­ed some wet fun on the beach

After a long stop near the cal­ving gla­cier front of Kong­s­ve­gen, we went to the litt­le islands of Lové­nøya­ne. Sig­rid­hol­men was clo­sest, and as I had not been on that one befo­re, it was an obvious choice a visit to the­se litt­le islands is a rare oppor­tu­ni­ty, as they are a bird sanc­tua­ry and visits are not allo­wed during the bree­ding sea­son, which is most of the sea­son. Only the late birds have a chan­ce to get near them any­way.

So what to expect? 600 met­res of gua­no, and that’s it? Not at all. Just as the neigh­bou­ring islands, which I knew from befo­re, Sig­rid­hol­men is a pocket full of arc­tic beau­ty. Start­ing with the very scenic sur­roun­dings in mel­low yet con­trast-rich light, the coast­li­ne rich in litt­le struc­tures and details, the extre­me­ly rich mos­sy tun­dra to the gla­cier ice that fil­led some of the small bays on the sou­thern end of the island. The sad­ness of a lone­so­me Bar­na­cle goo­se that somehow stay­ed behind when its fel­lows went south, see­king to make fri­ends with us. It is a sad though that it will still be the­re now, picking soft roots out of the mos­ses, lon­ging for com­pa­ny but awai­ting not­hing but cer­tain death. The arc­tic win­ter is not far.

Gal­lery Kongsfjord – 21st Sep­tem­ber 2016

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

Ama­zing how much time you can spend on an island of 600 m length. You could spend seve­ral days pre­pa­ring for a landing on such a place, rea­ding Alex­an­der Koenig’s Avif­au­na Spitz­ber­gen­sis (if anyo­ne has got an extra copy of that, plea­se let me know) and then real­ly app­re­cia­te Sig­rid­hol­men and its litt­le neigh­bours. That would be more than worth a trip alo­ne.



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last modification: 2016-09-25 · copyright: Rolf Stange