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Home → July, 2017

Monthly Archives: July 2017 − News

Polar row: In a row­boat to Spits­ber­gen

If you want to tra­vel to Spits­ber­gen in an envi­ron­men­tal­ly fri­end­ly way, per­haps you should join the­se five men: the Nor­we­gi­an Tor Wigum, the Welsh­man Jeff Wil­lis, the Ame­ri­can Car­lo Fac­chi­no, the Indi­an Roy Tat­ha­ga­ta and the Ice­lan­dic Fiann Paul want to row from Trom­sø to Spits­ber­gen today!

Fiann Paul is the lea­der of this expe­di­ti­on named “Polar Row”. The­re is no doubt about his qua­li­fi­ca­ti­on. He has alre­a­dy crossed the Atlan­tic Oce­an, the Paci­fic Oce­an and the Indi­an Oce­an in record time in a rowing boat. Fiann Paul has pre­pared the expe­di­ti­on for one year. Sin­ce the oars­men can not expect any help from sea curr­ents, they will have to row con­ti­nuous­ly 24 hours a day. In doing so, the team chan­ges with the tasks: Some will row for two hours. During this time, the others may eat, sleep or inspect the boats or their own inju­ries.

It is plan­ned to tra­vel the almost 1000 kilo­me­ters long rou­te in 9 to 13 days. The expe­di­ti­on will arri­ve in Lon­gye­ar­by­en at the latest in the begin­ning of August.

Ple­nty of equip­ment and strong ner­ves

Expe­di­ti­on lea­der Fiann Paul doesn’t worry too much about the phy­si­cal effort or the cold. All par­ti­ci­pan­ts are phy­si­cal­ly and men­tal­ly very strong, he told the news­pa­per Sval­bard­pos­ten. An accom­pany­ing boat is not included, but safe­ty equip­ment such as sur­vi­val suits, res­cue ves­ts, a res­cue boat and a satel­li­te pho­ne. Only if the equip­ment fails or the­re are pro­blems with the boat, it could be dif­fi­cult.

If the expe­di­ti­on suc­ceeds, it should be the first regis­tered rowing tour of this kind. Howe­ver, the­re are sto­ries of peo­p­le who have tra­ve­led the rou­te bet­ween Trom­sø and Spits­ber­gen (or a part of it) in a rowing boat due to a ship­w­reck.

The Barents Sea, also cal­led the devil’s dance flo­or, on a sai­ling ship – that is one thing. It is ano­ther thing on a rowing boat.

Barents Sea

Rowing for a good cau­se

The expe­di­ti­on also pur­sues two fur­ther goals: the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cam­bridge will inves­ti­ga­te how the extre­me tour affects the par­ti­ci­pan­ts psy­che. In addi­ti­on, 20,000 Bri­tish pounds (around € 22,600) are to be coll­ec­ted via a crowd­fun­ding plat­form. With this money a school will be built in the Hima­la­yan regi­on in 2018.

And Lon­gye­ar­by­en is not yet the end of the expe­di­ti­on. After a few days break, they will con­ti­nue to the nor­t­hern­most city of Ice­land Sig­luf­jörður – about 2000 km, also in the rowing boat.

To the expe­di­ti­ons home­page.

Sources: Sval­bard­pos­ten, Polar­row-Home­page

Sval­bard reinde­er is doing well

The Nor­we­gi­an Polar Insti­tu­te coun­ted 1374 Sval­bard reinde­er in the Advent­da­len around Lon­gye­ar­by­en this year. Many cal­ves were obser­ved and only a few dead reinde­er found. This is a trend that has been obser­ved for years: The reinde­er popu­la­ti­on has been gro­wing slight­ly in this regi­on for years.

Well-fed Sval­bard reinde­er, an ende­mic sub­spe­ci­es of the reinde­er

Svalbard reindeer

The reinde­er have been coun­ted sin­ce 1979 on Spits­ber­gen by the Nor­we­gi­an Polar Insti­tu­te and the Sys­sel­man­nen – the Gover­nor of Spits­ber­gen. At that time only 457 reinde­er were coun­ted in Advent­da­len. It is esti­ma­ted that a total of 10.000 to 11.000 reinde­er live on Spits­ber­gen.

Cli­ma­te chan­ge has variu­os effects

Up to now, it has been assu­med that reinde­er suf­fer from the incre­asing rain. In win­ter, the rain forms a lay­er of ice on the ground and the reinde­er have more dif­fi­cul­ties approa­ching the lichens and gras­ses. Hig­her tem­pe­ra­tures in the autumn seem to com­pen­sa­te for the dete­rio­ra­ti­on in the living con­di­ti­ons for reinde­er. Last year, high tem­pe­ra­tures in Octo­ber and Novem­ber made it pos­si­ble for the reinde­er to build fat reser­ves so they could sur­vi­ve the cold win­ter.

The situa­ti­on is a bit dif­fe­rent for reinde­er north of Spits­ber­gen: on the Brøg­ger­hal­vøya peninsula/ Kongsfjor­den, the stock remains sta­ble. Here, the fjords have remain­ed free of ice in recent years, so that the Reinde­er can hard­ly migra­te to avo­id bad fee­ding con­di­ti­ons.
Glo­bal warm­ing could the­r­e­fo­re have dif­fe­rent effects in the dif­fe­rent cli­ma­te zones on Spits­ber­gen.

Less dead reinde­er in the Advent­da­len could mean bad news for ano­ther spe­ci­es: The polar fox feeds from reinde­er car­cas­ses. Less dead reinde­er means, he must switch to other food sources.

Some­ti­mes curious: Sval­bard reinde­er

Svalbard reindeer

More artic­les about the Sval­bard reinde­er

Source: Nord­lys, Sval­bard­pos­ten


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