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Yearly Archives: 2016 − News & Stories


Trom­sø, Kvaløya – 05th, 06th Novem­ber, 2016

(05th, 06th Novem­ber, 2016) – Whe­re were we … yes, Lofo­ten. It has been a while sin­ce. A lot has hap­pen­ed in the mean­ti­me, more about that later. Let’s get on with the blog, with the jour­ney, which took us back north, to Trom­sø and sur­roun­dings. A natu­ral sto­po­ver on the trip up to Spits­ber­gen.

And defi­ni­te­ly worth to spend more time the­re than just an hour bet­ween flights at the air­port. „Paris of the north“ may be a bit exa­g­ge­ra­ted, but it is a nice place, it has life, it is a good place to be. The old polar muse­um and the modern arc­tic show cent­re Pola­ria are natu­ral pla­ces to visit for any high lati­tu­de enthu­si­ast.

The waters near Trom­sø are now regu­lar­ly visi­ted by Orcas during their sea­son, as we saw so beau­ti­ful­ly just recent­ly. An orca safa­ri from Trom­sø has good chan­ces to make for a gre­at day, as it is cur­r­ent­ly.

And then the­re are the nort­hern lights. Of cour­se you need a bit of luck. You just won’t see anything without a clear sky and some elec­tro­ma­gne­tic acti­vi­ty in the magne­to­s­phe­re. But chan­ces are good, at least if you have a few days.

We had just two days in Trom­sø, but the timing was good. No com­p­lains about the nort­hern lights it is defi­ni­te­ly a good thing to be able to get around quick­ly and to keep a good eye on the local wea­ther. Whe­re is the sky clear, whe­re do you have good sce­ne­ry tog­e­ther with the auro­ra? And not too much arti­fi­cial light? That is actual­ly not that easy at all. It is good to know the pla­ces or at least to have a tho­rough look at the map. And the­re is also the opti­on to join a gui­ded nort­hern light cha­se by bus, which they offer regu­lar­ly in Trom­sø. That is not a bad opti­on at all, they know their busi­ness and they allow for sur­pri­sin­gly much time for obser­va­ti­on and pho­to­gra­phy when Lady Auro­ra is dan­cing.

Gal­le­ry – Trom­sø, Kvaløya – 05th, 06th Novem­ber, 2016

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

Wit­hin the few hours of day­light, we even got a litt­le extra by sur­pri­se. On the out­side of the lar­ge island of Kvaløya, to the west of Trom­sø, the­re is the litt­le island Som­marøy. Red light of the low sun over the who­le sce­ne­ry with the sea, fjords, lots of small islets and stun­ning coast­li­nes. I was thin­king … Som­marøy, Som­marøy, I have heard that befo­re, and not too long ago. And yes: this is whe­re Wan­ny Wold­stad was born in 1895. The woman who later refer­red to herself as the „first woman as fangst­mann in Sval­bard“. Fangst­mann is Nor­we­gi­an for trap­per. She expli­ci­te­ly used the male ver­si­on of the word. And nobo­dy in the very male arc­tic sce­ne of the 1930s or later would ever mind. Ever­y­bo­dy knew her about her adven­tures as a polar bear hun­ter in Spits­ber­gen. Recent­ly, we had a chan­ce to visit the hut in Hyt­tevi­ka that she used during five long arc­tic win­ters. And now we saw the house whe­re she was born on Som­marøy.

Ves­t­fjord – 05th Novem­ber 2016

The rising sun saw us lea­ving the har­bour of Svol­vær. Out­side, we rea­li­zed that the wind was just about enough to set sails. So we quick­ly for­got about the idea to visit the litt­le vil­la­ge of Hen­nings­vær, we were all keen on see­ing Anti­gua under sails one more time. So up went the can­vas, and so did the spi­rits – it was just gre­at. Silence. No big waves, no swell. Warm light over sea and moun­tains. What a life! Just have a look at the pho­tos.

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

We will be back in Bodø in a few hours, the last har­bour of this trip. The last har­bour of this year’s arc­tic ship­ping sea­son. Tomor­row we will say good­bye, to SV Anti­gua, to her good peop­le. Well, we’ll meet again next year, so no tears. And for me, it is direct­ly up to Trom­sø and Lon­gye­ar­by­en 🙂

Svol­vær, Lauk­vik – 04th Novem­ber 2016

Svol­vær is a good place to relax a bit. It is not the cent­re of the world. A nice har­bour, some art gal­le­ries, a bar made out of ice, sce­nic sur­roun­dings.

For us, it was the star­ting point for our visit to the nort­hern light cent­re in Lauk­vik. Situa­ted on the nort­hern side of Aus­t­vå­gøy, the­re is a free view to most direc­tions and not too much arti­fi­cial light. This is whe­re Rob and The­res from the Nether­lands have estab­lis­hed their pri­va­te nort­hern light cent­re. They are obvious­ly living their pas­si­on, ever­ything is cen­te­red around nort­hern lights. Rob has got a room full of tech­no­lo­gy, which he built all by hims­elf, to make „direct con­ta­ct with the sun“ and the nort­hern lights, as he uses to say.

And they do have good con­ta­cts to hig­her levels. As soon as the pre­sen­ta­ti­on was finis­hed, we saw some nice nort­hern lights 🙂

Kabel­våg-Svol­vær – 04th Novem­ber 2016

The wea­ther is and remains beau­ti­ful. Clear sky, gent­le free­zing tem­pe­ra­tures during the night, low sun, beau­ti­ful colours. The sun is cur­r­ent­ly going up after 8 a.m. and down again near 3 p.m. Of cour­se, we have a long pha­se of twi­light. Altog­e­ther still qui­te a bit of light. Cer­tain­ly enough to go out­side and do nice things. We made a nice walk from Kabel­våg to Svol­vær today. That is not too far, in theo­ry you could do that in one hour. Of cour­se we took more time, enjoy­ing the land­s­cape. Rug­ged moun­tains, a silent lake, open wood­land, litt­le wet­lands here and the­re. Some of us took the more spor­ti­ve rou­te over Tjeld­berg­tin­den, 367 m high. I didn’t, it wouldn’t be a good idea with a cold, but I know the gre­at view from up the­re 🙂

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

Skro­va, Kabel­våg – 03rd Novem­ber 2016

A beau­ti­ful long day, star­ting with walk across the island of Skro­va. White beaches in small, hid­den bays with light-blue water and Sea eagles cir­cling abo­ve us in the air.

We con­ti­nued under sails and sun to Kabel­våg. The­re, we got a true high­light in the evening – no, I am not tal­king about Sascha’s din­ner, which is a cer­tain high­light every day 🙂 no, the nort­hern light show. This was real­ly extra­or­di­na­ry!

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

P.S. of cour­se we also tal­ked about nort­hern light pho­to­gra­phy and put that know­ledge into good prac­ti­ce. I wro­te else­whe­re on this site about nort­hern lights and pho­to­gra­phy, click here if you are inte­res­ted in more info about that.

Skro­va – 02nd Novem­ber 2016

Yes, the­re were more nort­hern lights 🙂
 
 
 

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

Troll­fjord, Skro­va – 02nd Novem­ber 2016

Natu­re has set herself a monu­ment in Troll­fjord. The place is obvious­ly famous for its impres­si­ve sce­ne­ry. Which does not suf­fer from fine wea­ther sur­roun­ded by rock­walls, several hund­red metres high, cir­cling with the Zodiac around Anti­gua, while Sea eagles are cir­cling on the sky … good life in the far north!

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

The pas­sa­ge into the har­bour of Skro­va, bet­ween many rocks and sker­ries, is very plea­sant. And so are the nort­hern lights. We had some nice ones in the late after­noon. Cer­tain­ly not the stron­gest ones ever, but nice. We could well do with some more acti­vi­ty, but they are having a break right now. Let’s see what hap­pens later. Fin­gers cros­sed.

Skrol­s­vik, Har­stad – 01st Novem­ber 2016

We came to Skrol­s­vik on our way south, a litt­le vil­la­ge on the sou­thern end of Sen­ja. Skrol­s­vik used to be a fishing vil­la­ge in the past, as most small pla­ces here. Nice­ly loca­ted bet­ween moun­tains, enligh­ted by the morning sund – north Nor­way can be so beau­ti­ful!

The old shop (Gam­mel­bu­tik­ken), nowa­days a muse­um, was ope­ned by the owners, Kris­tin and Gun­nar, espe­cial­ly for us. A litt­le time machi­ne, put­ting us 90 year back in histo­ry, into tho­se days, when fisher­men from the outer islands came in with their rowing boats every now and then to deli­ver their catch and to buy flour. Their wives would stay for 3 days to bake bread, as the­re was an ovn in the shop, which the fishers did not have at their homes. And if the wea­ther was bad, 3 days could quick­ly turn into a week or even more. Dif­fe­rent times … life is cer­tain­ly easier today.

Of cour­se, the­re is ple­nty of natu­re around Skrol­s­vik, skog og fjell (wood­lands and moun­tains) and you can do dif­fe­rent hikes. If we only had more time!

But we had plans for the after­noon. The pas­sa­ge to Har­stad went under the most beau­ti­ful noon sun­light. Else­whe­re you would pro­bab­ly call it morning light or evening atmo­s­phe­re or wha­te­ver, it does not mat­ter, it means all the same here and now. It was almost dark as we ent­e­red the har­bour of Har­stad clo­se to 4 p.m.

Some of us went to explo­re the aspects of zivi­li­sa­ti­on that Har­stad has to offer, like shops and cafés. Others ven­tu­red on a litt­le bus tour to visit some muse­ums on the near­by Tron­de­nes pen­in­su­la. We learnt that Har­stad used to be the cent­re of poli­ti­cal and eco­no­mi­c­al power in north Nor­way over many cen­tu­ries until it was qui­te recent­ly out­do­ne by Trom­sø. The famous viking chiefs who kil­led the chris­ti­an king of Nor­way St. Olav lived here. Later, they built a beau­ti­ful church here, the lar­gest one in Nor­way north of Trond­heim for a long time. And during the war, the Nazis built some migh­ty guns as part of their coas­tal for­ti­fi­ca­ti­on.

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

After a cosy evening in port in Har­stad, we con­ti­nued sou­thwards to get to Raft­sund and Troll­fjord during day­light. The wea­ther is sup­po­sed to remain nice! Yeah! 🙂

Sen­ja – 31th Okto­ber 2016

I just have to add 2 pho­tos from yes­ter­day. Later in the evening, the nort­hern light real­ly came out nice­ly. The situa­ti­on was far from ide­al for pho­to­gra­phy, as the ship was moving on the outer side of Sen­ja, whe­re the­re will always be some swell. Mode­ra­te last night, but any move­ment is dead­ly for qua­li­ty shots of nort­hern lights. So I was hap­py to have a good prime len­se (24 mm f1.4) and a full frame came­ra, pul­ling the ISO value up to a rather extre­me 12800. Well, I guess that’s what you have such a came­ra for, isn’t it? So you can get some­thing even with a shut­ter speed of 1/10 of a second, the slo­west that this kind of move­ment could tole­ra­te, more or less.

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

So this is what I got. As men­tio­ned, no qua­li­ty pix, but … nice, or not 🙂

Kvalsund – 30th Okto­ber 2016

Some­ti­mes you can fit a trip into a day. Peop­le often say at the end of a good day that they might go home tomor­row. That is obvious­ly just a joke and not meant serious­ly.

Today, howe­ver, you might say that and actual­ly almost even mean it (almost). It was just 24 hours ago that ever­y­bo­dy came on board in Trom­sø, we left from the­re just 12 hours ago. Sin­ce then, we spent a good part of the day watching orcas. Not just a few, not just 2 or 3 dozens, but in lar­ge num­bers. The­re may easi­ly have been 200 of them, they were all over the place.

And we were at the right place at the right time 

8 a.m. sun­ri­se, 3 p.m. sun­set. And we alrea­dy had our first nort­hern lights in the after­noon. Not too strong, hard to pho­to­graph as the ship was moving, but beau­ti­ful to see.

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

Now it feels as mid­ni­ght. But it is just about din­ner­ti­me …

It almost does not mat­ter any­mo­re what the next days will bring: in the end, it will have been a good trip.

Stutt­gart, Frank­furt, Trom­sø – 28th Octo­ber 2016

Musical beginning of a trip to the north

After the sum­mer and autumn trips in Spits­ber­gen, it was time to spend some weeks fur­ther south. Not­hing of exci­te­ment con­cer­ning this blog, arc­tic acti­vi­ties were limi­ted to post-pro­ces­sing of recent trips and pre­pa­ra­ti­on of upco­m­ing ones, down to adre­na­lin-kicking neces­si­ties like book kee­ping and the like. Also working on new polar books was on the agen­da, but how exci­ting is it to fol­low how that is being done?

Then it was time to move nor­thwards again. Not direct­ly. Logisti­cal­ly skill­ful­ly incor­po­ra­ted into the jour­ney north, I had and took the rare oppor­tu­ni­ty to meet mas­ter gui­ta­rist Jeff Beck in south Ger­ma­ny – in a sports hall! Thanks to the 25th anni­ver­s­a­ry of a local rock music club and their spon­sors, I guess Beck and his band would other­wi­se hard­ly have got lost in Win­ter­bach, half an hour by local train from Stutt­gart into the darkness. And well, what can I say, mas­ter Beck was in bril­li­ant shape and mood, his gui­tar, sound and play­ing, sharp as a kni­fe and of dead­ly pre­cisi­on. Tas­ty bits and pie­ces from almost half a cen­tu­ry of musi­cal histo­ry. A guitarist’s gui­ta­rist, play­ing in a league on his own with a sound and style total­ly uni­que and immedia­te­ly reco­gnis­able after just a few notes. Gui­tar play­ing from outer space. At an age of 72 years. Ama­zing!

The train ride next ear­ly morning to Frank­furt air­port was also qui­te ama­zing. It should have taken an hour, it took three. That inclu­ded lea­ving a total­ly over­crow­ded train which did not con­ti­nue the jour­ney for safe­ty rea­sons. Secu­ri­ty was alrea­dy on stand-by to part­ly evacua­te the next one which was equal­ly over­crow­ded. While being mental­ly alrea­dy pre­pa­red for a lon­gish and very expen­si­ve taxi ride to the air­port, it tur­ned out that the third and, as far as I was con­cer­ned, last con­nec­tion had enough space to stand in a cor­ner for half an hour to Frank­furt. Well … I got the flight, that’s what counts.

Life is so much more rela­xed in the far north. Good to get back to Anti­gua, good to see the peop­le here, the crew, loo­king for­ward to the season’s final trip which is star­ting today (Sunday). We are hoping for wha­les and nort­hern lights the next days. Fin­gers cros­sed!

Pho­to © Wiki­me­dia Com­mons

jeff_beck_enmoretheatre-a

North pole expe­di­ti­on of French Ark­ti­ka ter­mi­na­ted in Duve­fjord

A French north pole expe­di­ti­on was ter­mi­na­ted by the Sys­sel­man­nen in Duve­fjord on Nord­aus­t­land. The adven­tu­rers Gil­les and Ale­xia Elkaim had plan­ned a voya­ge simi­lar to that of Fri­dt­jof Nan­sen and his ship Fram in 1893-96 with their sai­ling boat Ark­ti­ka. Their plan was to sail into the Nor­the­ast Pas­sa­ge and to let the boat free­ze in the ice near the New Sibe­ri­an Islands to then drift with the ice across the Arc­tic Oce­an. A sledge jour­ney to the pole its­elf was part of the plan of the expe­di­ti­on, which was sche­du­led to last for several years.

Now the expe­di­ti­on has come to a pre­ma­tu­re end in Spits­ber­gen. Bad wea­ther, ice and engi­ne pro­blems had for­ced the Ark­ti­ka to return to Nord­aus­t­land, after they had left alrea­dy Kvi­tøya, hea­ding fur­ther east. The ship was brought into Duve­fjord on the north coast of Nord­aus­t­land to seek shel­ter from the wea­ther. Accord­ing to the expedition’s own blog, the situa­ti­on was dif­fi­cult at times due to the wea­ther. Due to the late sea­son and the need for fur­ther repairs, it was then deci­ded to win­ter in Duve­fjord.

Per­mis­si­on for a win­te­ring had, howe­ver, not been obtai­ned and such per­mis­si­ons are not issued on a short warning. Cap­tain Elkaim app­lied for per­mis­si­on from the Sys­sel­man­nen on Octo­ber 08. The result was a heli­co­p­ter visit with offi­cials who con­fis­ca­ted crew pass­ports and papers. During the fol­lowing days the Ark­ti­ka was towed to Lon­gye­ar­by­en. Aut­ho­ri­ties sta­te tech­ni­cal and legal rea­sons for this. The expe­di­ti­on mem­bers, howe­ver, wri­te on their Face­book site that the situa­ti­on in Duve­fjord had been under con­trol, that the­re was no neces­si­ty for being towed and that the strong winds made this ope­ra­ti­on actual­ly rather dan­ge­rous. On the other hand, they thank the crew on Polar­sys­sel for their friend­ly and pro­fes­sio­nal hand­ling of the situa­ti­on. At the same time, Nor­we­gi­an aut­ho­ri­ties are accu­sed, amongst others for cru­el­ty to ani­mals becau­se the 7 expe­di­ti­on dogs have not been allo­wed on shore in Lon­gye­ar­by­en for 10 days, alt­hough the local vet has repor­ted good health and vac­ci­na­ti­ons as nee­ded. The expe­di­ti­on claims to have app­lied for per­mis­si­on to take dogs to Sval­bard alrea­dy in July without get­ting a reply from the aut­ho­ri­ties.

The legal situa­ti­on and fol­low-up may keep lawy­ers on both sides busy for a while. Mean­while, the expe­di­ti­on has come to an ear­ly and unin­ten­ded end, be it preli­mi­na­ry or final.

The French boat Ark­ti­ka does not have anything to do with the boats Arc­ti­ca I and Arc­ti­ca II from Lon­gye­ar­by­en.

The French expe­di­ti­on boat Ark­ti­ka in Advent­fjord, after towing by Polar­sys­sel. Image © Bjørn Fran­zen.

Arktika in Adventfjord

Sources: Web­sei­te and Face­book­sei­te of the Ark­ti­ka-Expe­di­ti­on, The Inde­pen­dent Bar­ents Obser­ver.

Ano­t­her tem­pe­ra­tu­re record in Spits­ber­gen

Tem­pe­ra­tu­re record from the wea­ther any­whe­re in the world, espe­cial­ly from the arc­tic, are get­ting more and more com­mon the­se days. On Fri­day (Octo­ber 07), the wea­ther sta­ti­on at the air­port near Lon­gye­ar­by­en recor­ded 10.1 degrees (C). This was the first time a value hig­her than 10 degrees was reached in any Octo­ber sin­ce tem­pe­ra­tu­re record­ing star­ted. The hig­hest Octo­ber tem­pe­ra­tu­re so far had been 8.9 degrees, mea­su­red in 1984. In 1961, 9.9 degrees were recor­ded. Back then, the wea­ther sta­ti­on was in Lon­gye­ar­by­en its­elf and not near the air­port (which did not exist back then) and dif­fe­rent mea­su­ring devices were used. The values can, accord­in­gly, not be com­pa­red direct­ly. Espe­cial­ly the dif­fe­rent loca­ti­on, though only a few kilo­me­tres apart, may make a signi­fi­cant dif­fe­rent. The loca­ti­ons, near the shore of the lar­ge, open Isfjord or in Lon­gye­ar­by­en which is situa­ted in a val­ley, are meteo­ro­lo­gi­cal­ly qui­te dif­fe­rent.

Very impres­si­ve is ano­t­her bit of infor­ma­ti­on, which is easi­ly get­ting over­loo­ked and lost in a sub-clau­se: the cur­r­ent­ly last time that a mon­th was col­der than the mon­th­ly long-term average was in Novem­ber 2010, sad 6 years ago.

The ice situa­ti­on around Spits­ber­gen is cur­r­ent­ly also rather sad. It has been sug­gested that last year’s poor sea ice con­di­ti­ons were lin­ked to the El Nino phe­no­me­non, which was strong then in the south Paci­fic, with glo­bal con­se­quen­ces for wea­ther and sea cur­r­ents. The­re has, so far, not been any impro­ve­ment regar­ding the sea ice near Spits­ber­gen.

Octo­ber brings the polar night to Lon­gye­ar­by­en. That does usual­ly not invol­ve tem­pe­ra­tures around 10 degrees abo­ve free­zing.

Temperature record in Longyearbyen

Source: Nord­lys

New book: Ice Bear. The Cul­tu­ral Histo­ry of an Arc­tic Icon by Micha­el Engel­hard

Micha­el Engelhard’s new book Ice Bear. The Cul­tu­ral Histo­ry of an Arc­tic Icon is about to be released in Novem­ber. It throws light on the king of the arc­tic seen from a cul­tu­ral histo­ry per­spec­ti­ve and surely deser­ves to be announ­ced here with this descrip­ti­on with is writ­ten and com­pi­led by its aut­hor.

Ice Bear
The Cul­tu­ral Histo­ry of an Arc­tic Icon

By MICHA­EL ENGEL­HARD

NATU­RAL HISTO­RY
288 pp., 170 illus., 145 in color, 8 x 10 in. $29.95 paper­back, Novem­ber 2016

Prime Arc­tic pre­d­a­tor and nomad of the sea ice and tun­dra, the polar bear endu­res as a source of won­der, ter­ror, and fasci­na­ti­on. Humans have seen it
as spi­rit gui­de and fan­ged enemy, as tra­de good and moral meta­phor, as food source and sym­bol of eco­lo­gi­cal cri­sis. Eight thousand years of arti­facts attest to its cha­ris­ma, and to the frau­ght rela­ti­ons­hips bet­ween our two spe­ci­es. In the White Bear, we ack­now­ledge the magic of wild­ness: it is both genui­nely its­elf and a screen for our ima­gi­na­ti­on.

Ice Bear traces and illu­mi­na­tes this intert­wi­ned histo­ry. From Inu­it shamans to Jean Har­low loun­ging on a bears­kin rug, from the cubs trai­ned to pull sleds toward the North Pole to cuddly super­star Knut, it all comes to life in the­se pages. With meti­cu­lous rese­arch and more than 160 illus­tra­ti­ons, the aut­hor brings into focus this power­ful and elu­si­ve ani­mal. Doing so, he del­ves into the sto­ries we tell about Nature—and about ourselves—hoping for a future in which such tales still mat­ter.

MICHA­EL ENGEL­HARD works as a wil­der­ness gui­de in Arc­tic Alas­ka and holds an MA in cul­tu­ral anthro­po­lo­gy from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Alas­ka Fair­banks. His books inclu­de a recent essay collec­tion, Ame­ri­can Wild: Explo­ra­ti­ons from the Grand Can­yon to the Arc­tic Oce­an. His wri­ting has also appeared in Sier­ra, Out­side, Audu­bon, Natio­nal Wild­life, Natio­nal Parks, High Coun­try News, and the San Fran­cis­co Chro­ni­cle.

“Engelhard’s thought-pro­vo­king ico­no­gra­phy explo­res in depth the mul­ti­tu­de of cul­tu­ral roles play­ed by the polar bear.”
David Fox, Ancho­ra­ge Press

“Engel­hard wea­ves tog­e­ther the dis­pa­ra­te pie­ces of our eclec­tic social and cul­tu­ral fasci­na­ti­on with polar bears. A tapes­try of images reve­als our com­plex attach­ment to this Arc­tic icon.”
Andrew Dero­cher, aut­hor of Polar Bears: A Com­ple­te Gui­de to their Bio­lo­gy and Beha­vi­or

Ice Bear. The Cul­tu­ral Histo­ry of an Arc­tic Icon by Micha­el Engel­hard.

Cover image: Ice Bear. The Cultural History of an Arctic Icon by Michael Engelhard

Source: Micha­el Engel­hard

Old coal mines clo­sed

Coal mining has always been an important part of Lon­gye­ar­by­en, though of decre­a­sing impor­t­ance today. The signi­fi­can­ce of coal mining is immedia­te­ly visi­ble for every visi­tor to Lon­gye­ar­by­en, as old coal mines can be seen in many pla­ces near Lon­gye­ar­by­en. Some of the­se old mines, such as mine 2B abo­ve Nyby­en, local­ly known as julenis­se­gruve (San­ta Claus mine), are popu­lar sites for walks both for locals and visi­tors. The old mining instal­la­ti­ons are inte­res­ting, often with sce­nic views, and fasci­na­ting for pho­to­graph­ers.

The oppor­tu­nities have recent­ly been great­ly redu­ced. Parts of the roof of a con­veyor belt of mine 6 in Advent­da­len have col­lap­sed and the who­le mining faci­li­ty at mine 6 has been clo­sed to the public.
It is said that it will be made acces­si­ble again after dan­ge­rous parts have been remo­ved or secu­red. Lar­ge parts are still inta­ct. But the­re is cur­r­ent­ly no time plan and nobo­dy can say when the mine will be ope­ned again for visi­tors. The dif­fi­cult eco­no­mic situa­ti­on of the mining com­pa­ny, Store Nor­ske Spits­ber­gen Kul­kom­pa­ni, does not make it easier. At least ever­y­bo­dy invol­ved is awa­re of the high his­to­ri­cal and tou­ris­tic value of the old mining instal­la­ti­ons, which are part­ly pro­tec­ted as part of the cul­tu­ral heri­ta­ge. This means that several aut­ho­ri­ties have to be invol­ved in any work to clean up or secu­re the mines, some­thing that is unli­kely to speed up the pro­cess.

Cur­r­ent­ly, mine 1A (“Ame­ri­can mine”, abo­ve the church), 2B (“San­ta Claus mine”, abo­ve Nyby­en), 5 (Enda­len) and 6 (bet­ween Toda­len and Bol­terda­len) are clo­sed until fur­ther noti­ce.

At least, mine 3 is cur­r­ent­ly acces­si­ble as a muse­um for gui­ded groups.

Mine 2B (“San­ta Claus mine”) near Lon­gye­ar­by­en is amongst the old mines which are now clo­sed for visi­tors.

Mine 2B, Longyearbyen

Source: Sval­bard­pos­ten

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