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HomeArctic blog: Jan Mayen, Spitsbergen → Bear Island (II) – 26th May, 2017

Bear Island (II) – 26th May, 2017

After yet ano­ther, lon­gish Zodiac crui­se into the troll sce­n­ery king­dom at the sou­thern tip of Bear Island, it is nice to get a calm night’s sleep at anchor in Sør­ham­na. Fal­ling asleep with the sight of the cliffs and the sound of the sea­birds. And waking up again with exact­ly the same impres­si­ons.

Espe­ci­al­ly as the wea­ther is still nice. Ano­ther landing, this time in Kval­ross­buk­ta, turns out to be easy, just a litt­le bit of swell and surf on the beach. The­re was a wha­ling sta­ti­on from the peri­od of indus­tri­al wha­ling here more than a hundred years ago, one out of two from tho­se days in Spits­ber­gen. And it was here that the Ger­man jour­na­list Theo­dor Ler­ner star­ted to take parts of Bear Island into pos­ses­si­on in 1899. Fur­ther occu­pa­ti­ons fol­lo­wed, as well as bizar­re mee­tings with his Ger­man (!) com­pe­ti­tors who were the­re in order of emper­or Wil­helm II, and a Rus­si­an batt­le­ship (if you read Ger­man, then you can find all the­se sto­ries in my book „Die Bären­in­sel“).

Also a Ger­man wea­ther sta­ti­on from the war and an attempt to mine lead ore have left some scar­ce traces in the vici­ni­ty. Nevert­hel­ess, all in all the land­scape appears to be untouch­ed. Human influence is most­ly coming from far away. Envi­ron­men­tal toxins, the fishing indus­try and cli­ma­te chan­ge all have their influence on Bear Island, but traces of local human acti­vi­ty are very limi­t­ed and natu­re is clai­ming her ter­ri­to­ry back.

Gal­lery – Bear Island (II) – 26th May, 2017

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

Final­ly it is time to say good­bye to Bear Island, we are expec­ting nor­t­her­ly winds in the after­noon and no fur­ther landings. A luxu­ry to sit on deck and enjoy the view of cliffs and sea stacks pas­sing by. Final­ly we are drif­ting not far from the wea­ther sta­ti­on Bjørnøya Meteo and I say hel­lo over the radio. Turns out that we are invi­ted to visit! To my own sur­pri­se, they know my name here, thanks to my Bear Island book and even my hike around the island is not yet for­got­ten, alt­hough it is a cou­ple of years ago by now. Of cour­se we take the oppor­tu­ni­ty to visit the Nor­we­gi­ans on their wea­ther sta­ti­on. A fine finish to a fine visit to Bear Island. I am loo­king for­ward to the next time!



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last modification: 2017-05-31 · copyright: Rolf Stange