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Daily Archives: 27. September 2017 − News & Stories


End­a­len – 27th Sep­tem­ber 2017

The fol­lo­wing days in and around Lon­gye­ar­by­en show how much luck we have had on the last trip with Anti­gua. Now, we don’t see the smal­lest bit of blue sky for days on end, and usual­ly only the lower half of the moun­ta­ins sur­roun­ding us. The sun does not rise high any­mo­re, and as it is con­stant­ly hid­den behind the cloud cover, it seems pret­ty dark even at day­ti­me. It is just over 4 weeks ago that the sun was shi­ning bright for 24 hours a day, and in just about 4 weeks from now we won’t see any of it at all for some time!

Good days altog­e­ther to get things done insi­de. And the­re is of cour­se more than enough to do after months out in the field 🙂 but still, we just have to get out, the tun­dra is cal­ling, the lonely val­leys … you don’t have to ven­ture far from Lon­gye­ar­by­en to find natu­ral beau­ty, silence and soli­tu­de. You don’t always have to go as far as Hin­lo­pen Strait. End­a­len and Fard­a­len have got their own charm.

It is pret­ty mild, with tem­pe­ra­tures well abov the free­zing point, so the rivers still have a lot of water. In other years, you could cross even lar­ger rivers in hiking boots wit­hout get­ting wet feet when the frost was strong enough alre­a­dy at this time of year, but not this time. So we have to find our way, cross some melt­wa­ter streams and find a way around the water­fall in upper End­a­len by clim­bing up the morai­ne of Boger­breen. A huge land­scape of stones, mud and ice, a real ice age world. You could spend a lot of time here, dis­co­ve­ring ama­zing stuff, enjoy­ing the ice, loo­king for fos­sils, but the days are get­ting shorter while the way does not. It is more than 20 km for today.

Gal­lery – End­a­len – 27th Sep­tem­ber 2017

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

Most peo­p­le will know Lon­gye­ar­pass with its steep slo­pe that is lea­ding from upper Lon­gye­ar­breen down to Fard­a­len from the win­ter sea­son. Many snow mobi­le groups take this rou­te then, for exam­p­le on the way to or from Barents­burg. The slo­pe can be chal­len­ging, espe­ci­al­ly when the­re is soft snow and poor visi­bi­li­ty, and it has brought snow mobi­le dri­vers regu­lar­ly into trou­bles. Pie­ces of torn V-belts and other debris are silent wit­nesses of tho­se events. It may not seem much of a pro­blem when you dri­ve past it at speed, but in the sum­mer, the pla­s­tic seems – well, it is! – very much out of place and quite dis­gus­ting. Well, not too many peo­p­le come here in sum­mer­ti­me, alt­hough it is just about 6 km from Nyby­en, the nea­rest part of Lon­gye­ar­by­en.

The­re is still Lon­gye­ar­breen bet­ween Fard­a­len and Lon­gye­ar­by­en. Its icy sur­face is blank as a mir­ror now after the rain that we have had the last days, so we are more than hap­py that we car­ri­ed the cram­pons all the way. Wit­hout them, it would be very dan­ge­rous to attempt the hike down the gla­cier now, but with them, it is actual­ly gre­at fun. During the last part of it, the clouds are coming down, tog­e­ther with the dark­ness that is set­ting in, so it is hard to see the way and the morai­ne with its melt­wa­ter streams actual­ly looks a bit threa­tening. Good to know whe­re to go. The last melt­wa­ter river, coming down from Lars­breen, is almost big enough now to give us a foot­bath in our hiking boots, but who cares, we have rea­ched the road and soon, the fry­ing pan is get­ting hot on the coo­ker …

Seve­ral polar bears obser­ved near sett­le­ments

Seve­ral polar bears have been seen near Lon­gye­ar­by­en and other sett­le­ments in the past few weeks.

Polar bears look cute, but can be nasty when they are loo­king for food

Polar bears Longyearbyen

One of the bears – a 17-year-old male – had to be anes­the­ti­zed and trans­por­ted by heli­c­op­ter to Nord­aus­t­lan­det in the north-east of Spits­ber­gen, after devas­ta­ting seve­ral huts at Kap Lai­la River bet­ween Lon­gye­ar­by­en and Barents­burg on 15 Sep­tem­ber. Polar bear expert Jon Aars from the Nor­we­gi­an Polar Insti­tu­te con­firm­ed, that this was alre­a­dy the bears second flight with a heli­c­op­ter. The polar bear was mark­ed as a cub and alre­a­dy regis­tered in 2001, when he des­troy­ed a hut tog­e­ther with his brot­her and mother. The mother was also obser­ved later in simi­lar burgla­ries.

This is not an unu­su­al beha­vi­or for a polar bear, says Jon Aars. Some polar bears even seem to have spe­cia­li­zed in hut burgla­ries. But to stun the polar bears and fly them out can just be a short-term solu­ti­on. Last year in April a polar bear from Lon­gye­ar­by­en was flown to the island of Nord­aus­t­land seve­ral hundred kilo­me­ters away. Only one year later he was back at the Isfjor­den.

At the begin­ning of Sep­tem­ber, a fema­le polar bear with two cubs was obser­ved at Rev­ne­set – a few kilo­me­ters north of Lon­gye­ar­by­en. Three attempts have alre­a­dy been made to hunt them away by means of a heli­c­op­ter. The three bears retur­ned twice after a few days and reap­peared near Lon­gye­ar­by­en. After the third attempt, the bears have not yet been seen again.

Ano­ther polar bear with two cubs was obser­ved near Svea and seve­ral bears were seen near Isfjord radio at Kapp Lin­né the last month.

The fact that so many polar bears appear in the vici­ni­ty of human sett­le­ments in such a short time does not occur too often, but is pro­ba­b­ly coin­ci­dence. Jon Aars belie­ves that such visits could occur more often in the future, as polar bears have been pro­tec­ted for many years. Gene­tic rese­arch shows that polar bears tend to visit the same are­as for seve­ral gene­ra­ti­ons. Peo­p­le in Lon­gye­ar­by­en will pro­ba­b­ly have to get used to fre­quent visits of polar bears. Or the other way around.

Polar bear mum with cub

Polar bear Longyearbyen

Source: Sval­bard­pos­ten

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