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Home* Triplogs with photo galleriesArctic blog: Jan Mayen, Spitsbergen → 2017 review­ed: April in Spits­ber­gen – Sveagru­va

2017 review­ed: April in Spits­ber­gen – Sveagru­va

After the big Ant­arc­tic Odys­sey, I went strai­ght up to Lon­gye­ar­by­en. One long trip from the sou­thern­most regu­lar air­port in the world to the nort­hern­most one, from the Bea­gle Chan­nel to Isfjord, for a cou­p­le of weeks of arc­tic win­ter befo­re the sum­mer sea­son was about to start. The atmo­s­phe­re in Spits­ber­gen is stun­ning in ear­ly April, when the­re is still “warm” light. Sun­sets that turn into sun­ri­ses, no night in bet­ween, just a bit of haun­tin­g­ly beau­ti­ful twi­light. The blue-red hour is lon­ger than 60 minu­tes on 78 degrees lati­tu­de. “Warm” in inver­ted kom­mas, obvious­ly 🙂

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

A high­light that remains a vivid memo­ry was actual­ly the trip to the coal mining sett­le­ment of Sveagru­va, becau­se it tur­ned out to be a uni­que oppor­tu­ni­ty. Coal mining was on stand­by at that time, the­re was only main­tain­ce going on, but no pro­duc­tion des­pi­te the ope­ning of a brand new coal mine at Lunck­ef­jel­let in Febru­a­ry 2014. It never went into pro­duc­ti­ve ope­ra­ti­on. So the Store Nor­ske Spits­ber­gen Kul­kom­pa­ni had deci­ded to open Sveagru­va for limi­ted tou­rism. It was even pos­si­ble to visit the coal mine, Svea Nord.

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

As the decisi­on was made in Oslo in Octo­ber 2017 that the days of coal mining in Sveagru­va are over, the place and asso­cia­ted coal mines will be clo­sed. It seems qui­te unli­kely that the­re will be tou­rism or any other acti­vi­tiy the­re in the future. So it is good to have used that oppor­tu­ni­ty to visit Sveagru­va and the mine, Svea Nord and to get a good impres­si­on of coal mining, which was the domi­nant acti­vi­tiy in Spits­ber­gen for a cen­tu­ry. And a coal mine is a fasci­na­ting place, inde­ed!

But then, it is good to get out and back to the sun, does not set any­mo­re. To get back to the end­less snow plains, to our beloved east coast, whe­re the sea does still free­ze in April, whe­re you can find beau­ti­ful ice …

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

Tal­king about fjord ice: a Rus­si­an group made a tra­gic expe­ri­ence with fjord ice in Tem­pel­fjord in late April, when their snow mobi­les bro­ke through the ice. Several peop­le went into the water and could only be saved under dra­ma­tic cir­cum­s­tan­ces by the Nor­we­gi­an SAR for­ces. Tra­gi­cal­ly, one gui­de died later in the hos­pi­tal.

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last modification: 2018-01-02 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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