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Rossøya – 05th August 2017

The fog came down during the night, and the world was grey when we awoke today. Good that we went ashore last night, when the light was so beautiful! And now let’s see if we can still make it a bit further north.

We could. Who would have thought that we would reach Rossøya a few hours later? Svalbard’s northernmost island, or rather a rock or a skerry. From the distance, it has the shape of a turtle’s back. Just to the south of it, Vesle Taveløya is towering in the fog, like a threatening shadow. It is home to Svalbard’s northernmost seabird colony, including a surprisingly large number of puffins.

Rossøya is not more than a skerry, but it is Svalbard’s northernmost bit of land and as such certainly a significant place. It is interesting to see Rossøya, but it is much better to go ashore and have a close look – that is something different. But not exactly easy. Ice and fog were a bit marginal, but the visibility was good enough and Heinrich anchored the Arctica II so beautifully close to the island that were were well sheltered from drifting ice floes.

Timon and I checked out two routes before we found a useable ascent. Rossøya is actually pretty steep. But after a while, everybody who was happy to venture on this one had made it to the top of the island. High up on Svalbard’s northernmost bit of land! Yeah! There is some lonesome scurvy grass, a lot of lichens and three cairns. The biggest one is presukmably the northernmost one built by the Russian-Swedish Arc-de-Meridian expedition. And a pair of arctic skuas. Svalbard’s northernmost breeding birds are arctic skuas, who would have thought that?

Gallery – Rossøya – 05th August 2017

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

Back on board, the fog was coming down again and the ice was drifting in. So we made our northernmost turn at 80°50’N and steamed southwards, to Nordaustland.

last modification: 2017-08-07 · copyright: Rolf Stange