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Home → August, 2017

Monthly Archives: August 2017 − Travelblog

Bill­efjord – 14th August 2017

On the last day of such a long, inten­se trip, it is allo­wed to be a litt­le bit wist­ful. 18 days are still too short!

The­re was a choice in the morning, a tour through the sett­le­ment of Pyra­mi­den or a hike on the moun­tain Pyra­mi­den. Most went for the old Rus­si­an mining sett­le­ment.

Then it was time for our final lan­ding. We went to Skans­buk­ta, a clas­sic for good rea­sons. We enjoy­ed it.

The­re was some suc­cess­ful fishing befo­re we came back to Advent­fjord, so we had some fresh fish to enjoy for later. Then, we were soon along­side in the har­bour in Lon­gye­ar­by­en. Same place as 18 days ago, but still ever­ything is dif­fe­rent. It is a big dif­fe­rence if you have such a big voya­ge ahead of you or behind you.

Gal­le­ry – Bill­efjord – 14th August 2017

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

We enjoy­ed a lot of beau­ti­ful, inten­se days tog­e­ther, most­ly with a lot of wea­ther luck, we had the wild­life, the who­le lot … thanks to all of you who were the­re, it was gre­at!

Bar­ents­burg & Grønfjor­dfjel­let – 13th August 2017

The pas­sa­ge last night up to Isfjord was almost sur­pri­sin­gly calm. It was defi­ni­te­ly a good idea to wait the wea­ther out in Fri­dt­jov­ham­na for a cou­p­le of hours. Which is not a bad thing any­way, con­si­de­ring the sce­ne­ry the­re.

In Bar­ents­burg, we spent the morning with some sight­see­ing and lear­ning about Spits­ber­gen 20th cen­tu­ry histo­ry and poli­tics. We also got used to the usu­al dan­gers of civi­li­sa­ti­on again, car traf­fic and things like that. So most of us deci­ded to spend the after­noon in the arc­tic natu­re again, doing a bit of a spor­ti­ve hike up the moun­tains to gain a gre­at sce­nic view over Grønfjord.

Gal­le­ry – Bar­ents­burg & Grønfjor­dfjel­let – 13th August 2017

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

Recher­chefjord – 12th August 2017

As expec­ted, Recher­chefjord did not let us down. We got some late, but calm hours of sleep and a lovely hike.
It is still very win­dy all over the place, and we wait it out during the evening, hoping for the wind to calm at least a litt­le bit down for our pas­sa­ge up to Isfjord.

Gal­le­ry – Recher­chefjord – 12th August 2017

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

Sør­kapp & Rak­s­od­den – 11th August 2017

The south cape lived up to its bad repu­ta­ti­on, with wind for­ce 7-8. At least it was com­ing from a use­ful direc­tion, pushing us under sails up to a good 11 knots. Not bad for this 40 ton steel mons­ter that they call a sai­ling boat.

We were all more than hap­py when we reached a rea­son­ab­ly shel­te­red ancho­ra­ge south of Horn­sund. It was gre­at to stretch legs a litt­le bit in the wide-open west coast tun­dra. The most unf­or­gett­able part of this lan­ding was pro­bab­ly Heinrich’s spe­cial mane­ouvre when picking us up. It resul­ted in a wet skip­per, some­thing he and we will sur­vi­ve. But we do reg­ret the loss of the engi­ne. Well, only three more full days to go. We will make do without.

Gal­le­ry – Sør­kapp & Rak­s­od­den – 11th August 2017

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

All we need now is a well-shel­te­red ancho­ra­ge and some hours of sleep. Horn­sund was not­hing but a wind fun­nel and fur­ther north, the sea was raging white. Well, we should reach a calm place in Recher­chefjord just after 5 a.m. …

Negri­breen & Free­man­sund – 10th August 2017

Negri­breen, the lar­gest gla­cier of the main island of Spits­ber­gen, was a bit fog­gy, but nevertheless very impres­si­ve. But the clear high­light of the day, if not of the trip, was defi­ni­te­ly the young polar bear that was chewing on a rather rot­ten wal­rus in Free­man­sund. The­re are no words to descri­be that expe­ri­ence. None of us will for­get that, that’s for sure!

Gal­le­ry – Negri­breen & Free­man­sund – 10th August 2017

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

Eas­tern­most Spits­ber­gen – 09th August 2017

We had several polar bear sightin­gs on the way towards Heley­sund, but all of them distant in the ter­rain. The­re is a litt­le cliff coast south of Kapp Payer, Spitsbergen’s eas­tern­most point, which was not hel­pful in this case.

The cur­r­ents in Heley­sund tur­ned initi­al­ly out to be so strong that we deci­ded to make a litt­le walk in Buch­holz­buk­ta. Spitsbergen’s eas­tern­most land (I am obvious­ly tal­king about the main island here). With a ruin of an old trap­per hut, 4 wal­ru­ses, high arc­tic sce­ne­ry, a litt­le river, the who­le lot.

Later, we found 2 polar bears on Bar­entsøya under a bird cliff. Well-fed and good in shape. This area has now been ice-free for a while. It is ama­zing that the­se polar bears that hang out near bird cliffs and don’t seem to feed on anything but vege­ta­ti­on and chicks and eggs that are in reach are so often in real­ly good shape.

Gal­le­ry – Eas­tern­most Spits­ber­gen – 09th August 2017

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

Orm­ho­let tur­ned out to be a peace­ful place, con­si­de­ring the cur­r­ents, as we made ano­t­her approach to tho­se pas­sa­ges in the later after­noon. So it was a silent sce­nic plea­su­re to sail through it. Just as this tiny litt­le island near Bar­entsøya whe­re we made an evening walk to round the day off. Com­ple­te­ly untouched natu­re, whe­re few peop­le have ever set their foot on. Many arc­tic terns, but not too agres­si­ve as their brea­ding sea­son is lar­ge­ly finis­hed, but they are always exci­ted and make a lot of noi­se which suits the other­wi­se silent tun­dra well. Coar­se stones here, thick car­pets of tun­dra the­re. The lat­ter have deve­lo­ped through mil­le­nia of fer­ti­liz­a­ti­on by the birds. The sun is cas­ting a beau­ti­ful light on Spitsbergen’s gla­ciers in the back­ground, a pan­ora­ma that we enjoy in the late evening back on board Arc­ti­ca II.

Hin­lo­pen (2) – 08th August 2017

The anchor fell com­pa­ra­tively ear­ly last night, it was inde­ed still yes­ter­day and not alrea­dy today, at Wahl­ber­gøya. That was a good thing, after all tho­se long days. So we could start the day today with a nice walk across Wahl­ber­gøya, the famous „two peaks hike“, which nobo­dy had done befo­re.

And of cour­se Wahl­ber­gøya does not „only“ have gre­at sce­ne­ry …

Gal­le­ry – Hin­lo­pen (2) – 08th August 2017

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

Hin­lo­pen – 07th August 2017

Some low clouds and fog don’t keep us from hiking up a mythi­cal moun­tain in Lomfjord, and as the fog clears, the reward comes in shape of ama­zing views of the sur­roun­ding sce­ne­ry. And a lovely, long hike any­way. It is just gre­at to spend a lot of time out­side in this kind of natu­re!

Several hund­red thousand Brünich’s guil­lemots round the day off big style.

Gal­le­ry – Hin­lo­pen – 07th August 2017

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

Chermsi­deøya-Lang­grunnod­den – 06th August 2017

Ice and fog got den­ser and den­ser as we sai­led into Rijpfjord last night, so in the end we had to turn around. One poten­ti­al ancho­ra­ge after the other was blo­cked by ice, so we just had to con­ti­nue until we final­ly found a calm place at Chermsi­deøya. That is the place with the famous geo­glyphs, whe­re ever­y­bo­dy put the name of their ship onto the ground with rocks: the Jäde­rin (Arc-de-Meri­di­an expe­di­ti­on, 1898), the Kras­sin (res­cued Nobi­le in 1928, the Ger­man sub­ma­ri­ne that brought the crew of the war wea­ther sta­ti­on out to Hau­de­gen in inner Rijpfjord in 1944.
We met some more ice with wild­life on the way to the west. No polar bears on ice, whe­re­ver they are.

Gal­le­ry – Chermsi­deøya-Lang­grunnod­den – 06th August 2017

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

We mana­ged to do ano­t­her lan­ding on Nord­aus­t­land, on Lang­grunnod­den. Ano­t­her place whe­re you don’t get every day now we are moving sou­thwards in Hin­lo­pen Strait. For the first time in this trip, we have got some noti­ce­ab­le wind and sea. Of cour­se, it is head­wind. Well, just for a cou­p­le of hours.

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.

Frank­linda­len-Phipp­søya – 04th August 2017

The infi­ni­te spaces, the empty­ness and lone­ly­ness of Nord­aus­t­land can be qui­te strong, espe­cial­ly if you expo­se yourself to it for a bit lon­ger. A good 9 kilo­me­tres are not the world, but a good hike across the end­less stone desert. Silent lakes, the sad call of the red-throated diver and gent­ly rol­ling, rocky hills.

Gal­le­ry – Frank­linda­len-Phipp­søya – 04th August 2017

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

And then: let’s see how far to the north we may get. We got pret­ty far. The ice did try to stop us, but it had not expec­ted the capa­bi­li­ties of Arc­ti­ca II and Hein­rich Eggen­fell­ner to push through it. So we got as far as Phipp­søya and of cour­se we made use of the beau­ti­ful evening light by a walk across the island, one of the nort­hern­most ones of the who­le Sval­bard archi­pe­la­go, to a view­point from whe­re we had a clear view all the way to the north pole.

Lady Fran­klin­fjord – 03rd August 2017

The day was very pro­mi­sing alrea­dy from a geo­gra­phi­cal view­point, even if it had not been for anything else. Who has been in Lady Fran­klin­fjord? Exact­ly. And we want to go to pla­ces whe­re not ever­y­bo­dy else is going. Lady Fran­klin­fjord is pret­ty high on this hit­list.

Just have a look at the sea chart. No sur­pri­se that lar­ger ships don’t come in here. It brings a lot of fun and a bit of adre­na­li­ne to sail through the shal­low waters of Lady Fran­klin­fjord, south of Lågøya.

This litt­le island in Lady Fran­klin­fjord was not sup­po­sed to be much more than the site for a litt­le morning walk. It tur­ned out to be ano­t­her litt­le adre­na­li­ne kick, as sud­den­ly we saw a polar bear wal­king around not too far away. We moved away without much dra­ma and back on Arc­ti­ca II, we got some nice views of the beau­ti­ful ani­mal.

We had some stun­ning views of the grand sce­ne­ry in inner Lady Fran­klin­fjord from a litt­le hill, viewing over the bar­ren coas­tal land­s­cape to the north and the majes­tic gla­ciers (Fran­klin­brea­ne) to the south and east. In con­trast to most of Svalbard’s gla­ciers, they have even advan­ced a litt­le bit in recent years. Later, we had a good look at the gla­cier fronts and some of the many ice­bergs as we were crui­sing through that magni­fi­ci­ent bit of sce­ne­ry with Arc­ti­ca II. Ama­zing how Hein­rich mane­ouvres his boat in the­se icy waters! The sce­ne­ry is inde­ed of Green­lan­dic qua­li­ty, and that means some­thing.

Gal­le­ry – Lady Fran­klin­fjord – 03rd August 2017

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

We made a nice evening walk in Jäder­in­fjord, a side bay of Lady Fran­klin­fjord and ano­t­her rather remo­te place. Fog was moving in a bit, but given we had seen the who­le sce­ne­ry in sple­ndid wea­ther during the day, we just enjoy­ed the atmo­s­phe­re and the light.

What a day!

Mos­sel­buk­ta-Sorgfjord – 02nd August 2017

It is gre­at how Hein­rich is mane­ou­v­ring Arc­ti­ca II to hid­den ancho­ring posi­ti­ons in shal­low, unchar­ted bays. That brings us shel­te­red ancho­ra­ges and lan­ding oppor­tu­nities whe­re things are other­wi­se get­ting more chal­len­ging. This night, it was a beau­ti­ful­ly calm anchor site in inner­most Mos­sel­buk­ta. And a lovely morning walk at Nordenskiöld’s old expe­di­ti­on base Pol­hem from 1872-73.

Gal­le­ry – Mos­sel­buk­ta-Sorgfjord – 02nd August 2017

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

We spend the after­noon doing a moun­tain hike in Sorgfjord. Stun­ning views over wide-open arc­tic land­s­capes under a blue sky!

Raudfjord-Gråhu­ken – 01st August 2017

Raudfjord is one of Spitsbergen’s most beau­ti­ful fjords, and we enjoy­ed the stun­ning sce­ne­ry during a litt­le moun­tain hike. The wea­ther remai­ned good and the sea calm, so we could later make a visit to Chris­tia­ne Ritter’s famous hut at Gråhu­ken and a lovely evening walk on the north coast of Spits­ber­gen.

Gal­le­ry – Raudfjord-Gråhu­ken – 01st August 2017

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


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