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Monthly Archives: May 2016 − Travelblog

For­lands­und – 31st May 2016

Why can’t I just stay and put up my tent in this land­scape here, north of Isfjord? Spend a week or more? Wide tun­dra with litt­le hills and lakes, a scenic coast­li­ne with many litt­le rocky capes and hid­den bays. Reinde­er so curious that it is almost dif­fi­cult to get rid of them again 🙂 Grey phalar­opes and Snow bun­tings, mos­ses gro­wing on ice. Can life in the arc­tic get any bet­ter?

Gal­lery For­lands­und – 31st May 2016

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

Yes, it can. Thanks to the wal­rus­ses on Prins Karls For­land. They were not just curious, they were almost obtru­si­ve. We show­ed our app­re­cia­ti­on by clea­ning a good bit of strand from pla­s­tic rub­bish, that is lit­te­ring the shore­li­nes in sca­ry amounts, as in most parts of the world’s oce­ans today.

Bell­sund – 30th May 2016

From the icy Horn­sund to the tun­dra in Bell­sund. Ear­ly flowers on bed­rock that is sor­ted in ama­zing struc­tures, making Earth histo­ry visi­ble on the moun­tain slo­pes and along the coast­li­ne. The­re are still last kilo­me­t­res of fjord ice deep in the inner­most bays. Sad rea­li­ty, nor­mal­ly the who­le fjord should still be fro­zen solid, but what is nor­mal the­se days? Eight kilo­me­t­res of ice bet­ween us and the gla­cier.

Gal­lery Bell­sund – 30th May 2016

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

The polar bear that is roa­ming the ice near the gla­cier appears as a faint dot in the scope. No good for the untrai­ned eye, but the who­le sce­n­ery is nevert­hel­ess impres­si­ve.

Horn­sund – 28th/29th May 2016

28th/29th May 2016 – Final­ly Spits­ber­gen is rai­sing from the sea ahead of us, and we are cer­tain­ly all loo­king for­ward to shel­te­red waters after the crossing. The swell is actual­ly rea­ching a bit into Horn­sund, making the first ancho­ra­ge a bit lively.

Gal­lery Horn­sund – 28th/29th May 2016

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

The first landing brings gre­at views of the near­by gla­cier and of the migh­ty surf poun­ding on the outer shore of our litt­le pen­in­su­la. Horn­sund­tind is still hiding in clouds, but not for long any­mo­re. After a cou­ple of hours, Bau­taen and Horn­sund­tind are both free of clouds, rising maje­s­ti­cal­ly into the blue sky. We enjoy the pan­ora­ma of gla­ciers, ice and moun­ta­ins for ano­ther day. Alt­hough it is obvious­ly far less ice than it should be. No drif­ti­ce any­whe­re near, only ice­bergs from the local gla­ciers. Hard­ly any trace of fast ice, only some lose, drif­ting, wea­the­ring floes. Sad.

Barents Sea – 27th/28th May 2016

Just 24 hours from Bear Island to Horn­sund – not bad at all. The wind was blo­wing with some force, and even from the right direc­tion, around Beau­fort 5-6 from the west, sails up and off we go. Life on board is a bit spor­ti­ve. Real sai­ling 🙂 but dif­fi­cult to find wha­les under the­se con­di­ti­ons, we saw 2 or 3 blows, but who knows how many wha­les the­re real­ly were …

Pho­tos Barents Sea – 27th – 28th May 2016


Barents Sea & Bear Island – 26th and 27th May 2016

26th and 27th May 2016 − We left Nor­way too soon behind as always. A day in Trom­sø, full of impres­si­ons, peo­p­le and a bit of a to-do-list, makes a day go by very quick­ly. Fugløya was, in the late evening of the same day, rather devo­id of birds, it did not do jus­ti­ce to its name at all. Who knows whe­re they were that night.

The Barents Sea: not real­ly calm and not real­ly wild. A bree­ze, good sai­ling wind, the engi­ne can have a day off. Lec­tures replace the wha­les, which are any­whe­re today but not whe­re we are.

Bear Island: not real­ly in good mood but not real­ly bad eit­her. Win­dy, grey, wet. But we did mana­ge to make a landing, in a small, hid­den bay on the sou­the­ast coast. This is as much as you can rea­li­sti­cal­ly expect on a nor­mal day up here. A stiff bree­ze, lively swell, low clouds, rain show­ers. This is not unhe­ard of at Bear Island. The only thing to do is to find a coast with as much shel­ter as pos­si­ble and to make the best of it. This is exact­ly what we did, and it was good.

But it wasn’t good enough to visit the sta­ti­on, unfort­u­na­te­ly. Just too much wind, waves and swell coming around the coast. A shame, we had been loo­king for­ward to the sta­ti­on, and the peo­p­le the­re were very fri­end­ly on the radio, alre­a­dy loo­king for­ward to the fresh news­pa­pers Bir­git had bought for them in Nor­way.

Gal­lery – Barents Sea & Bear Island – 26th and 27th May 2016

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

Fresh wind is again fil­ling the sails now as we are making our way north now, towards Horn­sund. Up and down the waves. Acti­vat­ing the brain to recy­cle the memo­re and the sto­mach to do prin­ci­pal­ly the same with recent meals, in some cases. So we are all loo­king for­ward to Spitsbergen’s shel­te­red bays now.

Har­stad, Sen­ja – 24th May 2016

Now we have to start making miles, as the­re is quite a lot of them left on the way nor­thwards. We could do a good bit today nice­ly under sail. And still had time for two stops. In Har­stad, I did not have time to take any pho­tos. Some­ti­mes the­re are inde­ed other things to do. But later, when we saw tho­se sea eagles, I just had to get the came­ra out.

Gal­lery – Har­stad, Sen­ja – 24th May 2016

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

In the evening, the­re was the oppor­tu­ni­ty for a litt­le walk on the sou­thern end of the island of Sen­ja. But when I take not­hing but the water­pro­of GoPro ashore and start taking pho­tos of the fuel sta­ti­on, then this may also tell a sto­ry. Well, stret­ching legs was the point, and so we did.

Skro­va, Troll­fjord – 23rd May 2016

The nicest pho­to of Skro­va was pos­si­bly the last one from last night (see pre­vious blog). This per­spec­ti­ve is often just hard or impos­si­ble to beat.
But you have to expe­ri­ence the white sand bea­ches and the colourful bea­ches on the spot, you have to feel the sand under your feet. The towel stay­ed in the ruck­sack, though, due to a lack of sun.

Gal­lery – Skro­va, Troll­fjord – 23rd May 2016

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

The sky got dan­ge­rous­ly dark, but the sun almost bro­ke through again in Troll­fjor­den. Stun­ning!

Kabel­våg, Tjeld­berg­tin­den – 22nd May 2016

How gre­at does it feel, hot sun rays as you get out befo­re break­fast! What a con­trast to the grey, wet wea­ther last night!

The locals in Lofo­ten can be very crea­ti­ve and artis­tic. You enter a public pho­ne and you find a libra­ry. I guess the­re are not too many libra­ri­es in the world that are smal­ler.

Kabel­våg used to be the capi­tal of the Lofo­ten islands in medieval times, this is whe­re it star­ted more than a thousand years ago. You can get an idea of life, eco­no­my and power through the cen­tu­ries in the open air muse­um, which can only be recom­men­ded.

More recent tracks lead us away from Kabel­våg and into the beau­tiful natu­re, along a like and up the moun­tain Kjeld­berg­tin­den. A first class 360 degree pan­o­r­amic view in the finest suns­hi­ne. The beau­tiful coast­li­nes with many bays and sker­ries, the snow cover­ed, rug­ged moun­ta­ins, wood- and wet­lands, sett­le­ments … ever­y­thing is shi­ning under and around us.

Gal­lery – Kabel­våg, Tjeld­berg­tin­den – 22nd May 2016

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

After a cou­ple of hours we con­ti­nue with Anti­gua again, until we can enjoy a calm evening and night in the litt­le port of Skro­va.

Rei­ne & Nusfjord – 21st May 2016

Rai­ny day, dream away, let the suns­hi­ne take a holi­day … I guess Jimi Hen­drix did not think of Lofo­ten when he wro­te that. Or may­be he did? On some days, it would cer­tain­ly fit. Today was one of the­se days.

This did not keep us – well, some of us – to climb up to an alti­tu­de of 438 m abo­ve Rei­ne to enjoy the view. And it was worth it! Initi­al­ly, it was just grey, but then the clouds ope­ned up for some pre­cious minu­tes. The view of Rei­ne from the moun­tain is ama­zing.

Gal­lery – Rei­ne & Nusfjord – 21st May 2016

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

Then the curtain went down again, and so did we.
After an after­noon visit to Nusfjord, we con­tin­ued to Kabel­våg.

Bodø – 20th May 2016

It is a rapid chan­ge from win­ter to sum­mer. It is not long ago that we went to Barents­burg by snow mobi­le, and today is the start of the nor­t­hern sum­mer for me. Quite a spe­cial sum­mer, my 20th one, coun­ting Spits­ber­gen sum­mers. I am a bit proud of it, but it makes me feel a bit old at the same time. Well, that is just how it is.
Yes­ter­day I came to Bodø, crossing the arc­tic cir­cle at an alti­tu­de of 30000 feet (give or take a few, I did not check). I have not seen the arc­tic cir­cle, but I know it was the­re, far below us.

Good old Anti­gua was wai­ting along­side in the har­bour of Bodø. Or rather, good new Anti­gua. The ship has chan­ged quite a bit sin­ce I have seen her for the last time in Novem­ber. Same place, by the way, but quite dif­fe­rent. Back then, it was dark and cold. Now, it is warm and sun­ny, very plea­sant. I was quite curious to see her now, 8 m lon­ger. And inde­ed, the midd­le deck resem­bles a foot­ball field. Well, in com­pa­ri­son. The new cab­ins are also quite impres­si­ve.

Old fri­ends and new faces, good spi­rits, a hap­py start into a new sea­son. Ves­t­fjor­den is also in good shape, the 40 nau­ti­cal miles (give or take a few, I did not check) are pure plea­su­re, sit­ting on deck in the sun. The famous Lofot­veg­gen, the chain of moun­ta­ins that makes up the islands which are rising from the sea like a wall, are slow­ly coming clo­ser, the out­liers Mos­ken and Værøy in the beau­tiful light of the evening sun.

Gal­lery – Bodø – 20th May 2016

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

It is late as we get­ting near the har­bour of Rei­ne, and just as we are about to enter, we meet a pod of Orca. We stay with them for a litt­le while. A big male with an impres­si­ve dor­sal fin and seve­ral smal­ler ones, inclu­ding a calf or two.

It could stay like this for the who­le sum­mer 🙂


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