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Home → December, 2017

Monthly Archives: December 2017 − Travelblog


2017: my year in review – Febru­a­ry and March: the Ant­arc­tic Odys­sey

After finis­hing the big pro­ject with my new Nor­we­gi­an gui­de­book Sval­bard – Nor­ge nær­mest Nord­po­len, it was time to get some fresh air. And I got lots of it during a trip around the world in Febru­a­ry in March. The heart of this huge voya­ge was a semi-cir­cum­na­vi­ga­ti­on of Ant­arc­ti­ca, which I refer to as the “Ant­arc­tic Odys­sey”. Star­ting in New Zea­land, we went to Camp­bell Island, into the Ross Sea and then via Peter I Island to the Ant­arc­tic Pen­in­su­la befo­re we finis­hed in Ushua­ia. Tru­ly an Odys­sey!

The high­light of this gre­at jour­ney? Hard to say. The­re was not only one high­light. Just the dimen­si­ons of this trip are epic, many thousand nau­ti­cal miles in more than 30 days. Being Expe­di­ti­on Lea­der on such a trip on the Orte­li­us was cer­tain­ly a con­tri­bu­ti­on towards making it inte­res­ting for me. Nor­mal­ly, “my” ships are much smal­ler the­se days, and they do not car­ry 3 heli­co­p­ters!

Thin­king about which impres­si­on still means a lot to me and will stay for a long time, then Camp­bell Island is quick­ly com­ing to my mind. This island, which belongs to the New Zea­land sub­ant­arc­tic islands, was very high on my per­so­nal wish­list – sim­ply as I had not been the­re befo­re. Well, I had been very clo­se 2 years ear­lier, but then, the­re was no chan­ce of making a lan­ding becau­se of very strong winds. This time, we had just the por­ti­on of luck that you need in a place like that.

Albatrosses, Campbell Island

Alba­tros­ses on Camp­bell Island.

Of cour­se, fly­ing into Tay­lor Val­ley, one of the famous McMur­do Dry Val­leys, and to McMur­do Base, whe­re we almost stay­ed qui­te a bit lon­ger than we actual­ly wan­ted to, are expe­ri­en­ces never to be for­got­ten. And that is gene­ral­ly true for all impres­si­ons of Ant­arc­ti­ca from a bird’s per­spec­ti­ve.

Waterboat Point, Antarctica

Water­boat Point (Ant­arc­tic Pen­in­su­la) from the air.

But in the end, it is the direct encoun­ters with the wild­life and the sce­ne­ry that is always get­ting very clo­se to my heart and soul. That is what stays! The Alba­tros­ses on Camp­bell Island, the Emperor pen­gu­ins in the Ross Sea, the Hump­back wha­les and pen­gu­ins in the Ant­arc­tic pen­in­su­la, to men­ti­on a few of the­se encoun­ters. Memo­ries that will stay fore­ver!

Emperor and Adelie penguin at Cape Hallet, Ross Sea, Antarctica

Emperor and Ade­lie pen­gu­in at Cape Hal­let in the Ross Sea.

2017: my year in review

It is almost frigh­tening how time is fly­ing. Again, a year almost gone! It was an inten­se, rich year. What did the last 12 mon­ths bring, for Spits­ber­gen, for spitsbergen-svalbard.com and for me? I’ll review the year with a cou­p­le of blogs over the next days.

Janu­a­ry is polar night in the far north. A good time for wri­ting table adven­tures. Wri­ting arc­tic books is not boring, but the actu­al pro­cess is often not ter­ri­b­ly exci­ting. In prac­ti­ce, it means to spend an awful lot of time on the com­pu­ter. Rese­ar­ching, wri­ting, edi­t­ing, loo­king for images, pro­ces­sing images, making illus­tra­ti­ons and so on and so forth.

In Janu­a­ry 2017, my big­gest pro­ject in many years was about to be finis­hed. I can tell you that it was not boring! For a long time alrea­dy, I had had dreams of a Nor­we­gi­an trans­la­ti­on of my Spits­ber­gen gui­de­book. And in 2015, I was bra­ve or cra­zy enough to go ahead with it. Inten­se work on every oppor­tu­ni­ty for a good year, invol­ving a num­ber of nati­ve spea­kers who hel­ped me in trans­la­ting and “språk­vask” (proofrea­ding lan­guage). I am still almost fee­ling dizzy when I bring the­se weeks and mon­ths, which were very inten­se, back to my inner eye. I don’t want to bother you with the details of the pro­cess, but it was without exa­g­ge­ra­ti­on cer­tain­ly my big­gest pro­ject sin­ce the very first ver­si­on of the Spits­ber­gen gui­de­book came out in 2007 (that was the first Ger­man edi­ti­on, that very hea­vy book, if anyo­ne remem­bers). And at the same time, I had a litt­le seri­es of pre­sen­ta­ti­ons, while public atten­ti­on in Lon­gye­ar­by­en was tur­ned on a polar bear fami­ly who had sett­led down for a while in the neigh­bour­hood of town. A polar bear fami­ly, mother with 2 cubs, even wal­ked through way 238 (the neigh­bour­hood clo­se to Advent­da­len, lower­most road – that’s whe­re we also have our litt­le home).

And I did mana­ge to fina­li­ze the files with the Nor­we­gi­an book for prin­ting befo­re I went down to Ant­arc­tic in Febru­a­ry. Hal­le­lu­ja!

Svalbard guidebok

My arc­tic adven­ture in ear­ly 2017: Sval­bard – Nor­ge nær­mest Nord­po­len.

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