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HomeArctic blog: Jan Mayen, Spitsbergen → Jan May­en – Nord­la­gu­ne – 16th June 2017

Jan May­en – Nord­la­gu­ne – 16th June 2017

Ever­y­bo­dy wants to go out to explo­re the next day. The first hike takes us to the north, along the „road“ to the nor­t­hern lagoon. The­re is a num­ber of inte­res­t­ing places in that area. Ever­y­bo­dy is, to some degree, fol­lo­wing his own pace and inte­rest. The­re have not been any polar bears on Jan May­en for more than 25 years, so we can take a slight­ly more libe­ral approach than in high-arc­tic Spits­ber­gen.

One of the first places on my list is Maria Musch­buk­ta. This is whe­re the Aus­tri­ans built the­re sta­ti­on in 1882 for the First Inter­na­tio­nal Polar Year, this gre­at idea of Karl Wey­precht, who did not live long enough to see it being rea­li­zed, unfort­u­na­te­ly. Other­wi­se he would cer­tain­ly have been the lea­der of the Aus­tri­an sta­ti­on here. Nevert­hel­ess, they lived and work­ed altog­e­ther well here, the Aus­tri­ans. One sail­or from the ship died from tuber­cu­lo­sis during unloa­ding, his gra­ve is on a slo­pe behind the sta­ti­on. Ever­y­bo­dy else retur­ned home in good health the fol­lo­wing year.

The­re is, unfort­u­na­te­ly, not much left to be seen from the sta­ti­on. The buil­ding mate­ri­als have been used free­ly else­whe­re during the 20th cen­tu­ry. But you can still see whe­re it was, espe­ci­al­ly if you know the old pho­tos.

In con­trast to ear­lier visits, I have got ple­nty of time now and pret­ty good wea­ther and I enjoy the place and taking pho­tos.
The­re is a short val­ley, Wilc­z­ek­da­len, lea­ding from Maria Musch­buk­ta to Nord­la­gu­ne (the nor­t­hern lagoon). This val­ley plays a role in some nice sto­ries from the Aus­tri­an win­tering. It is just a few hundred met­res long, but it could take half a day in seve­re con­di­ti­ons to get water from the lagoon.

The nor­t­hern lagoon is sepa­ra­ted from the sea by a wide beach ridge. A nice pie­ce of natu­ral land­scape archi­tec­tu­re! The­re are still some remains of old huts on this beach ridge: remains of trap­pers’ huts and from various Nor­we­gi­an and Ame­ri­can sta­ti­ons that whe­re built in this area during the second world war.

A bit hig­her up, the­re is Gam­le Met­ten, nice­ly loca­ted on a moss-green pla­teau. The „old wea­ther sta­ti­on“ was built and used for some time after the war. For Jan May­en veterans, it stands for the best peri­od in the histo­ry of the island: the sta­ti­on was well built, quite com­for­ta­ble, and nice­ly loca­ted bet­ween the sea, the nor­t­hern lagoon and Bee­ren­berg. Storms could be extre­me, though: a simp­le memo­ri­al marks the place, just 35 met­res from the nea­rest house, whe­re sta­ti­on lea­der Aksel Liberg was blown by an extre­me gust during a hea­vy storm. He did not mana­ge to return against the wind. Just 35 met­res! They found him two days later, fro­zen solid.

Gal­lery – Jan May­en – Nord­la­gu­ne – 16th June 2017

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

Today, the wea­ther is far from extre­me. I can make good use of my time to enjoy the place and its sur­roun­dings, befo­re I start the long way back. In Jøs­sing­da­len, I see a Whooper’s swan, a rare dis­co­very on Jan May­en and some­thing I had real­ly not exepc­ted at all. Whooper’s swans live for exam­p­le in Ice­land. The­re are almost annu­al sightin­gs of non-bree­ding indi­vi­du­als here on Jan May­en, but they do not belong here and have to be con­side­red a local rari­ty. Let’s hope he makes it back to his fel­lows.

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last modification: 2017-06-26 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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