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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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