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Daily Archives: 11. January 2018 − News & Stories


August 2017 review­ed: Lady Fran­klin­fjord, Ros­søya and fur­ther high­lights

The poli­ce raid on the local drug sce­ne – which is not the world’s big­gest one – was pro­bab­ly the big­gest public exci­te­ment in August in Lon­gye­ar­by­en. They have to show every cou­p­le of years that drugs are not tole­ra­ted in such a small and remo­te com­mu­ni­ty. This appears not to have been a gre­at suc­cess this year, as they had to release tho­se again who were initi­al­ly taken in cus­to­dy. But on the other hand, if you find out in the end that not­hing much had hap­pen­ed (at least as far as you have evi­dence for), then it is not a bad thing eit­her, is it?

As far as I am con­cer­ned, I con­ti­nued around Sval­bard on board Arc­ti­ca II (“advan­ced Spits­ber­gen”; the­re is still, by the way, an empty seat on this (Ger­man spea­king) trip in 2018). In that sen­se, August star­ted in late July, as that’s when we left Lon­gye­ar­by­en again. And on the very same day we could ven­ture for a lovely walk on Bohem­an­flya. Which is real­ly not far away from Lon­gye­ar­by­en, but you have to have the right wea­ther for a lan­ding the­re, and we did!

Bohemanflya

Gra­ve on Bohem­an­flya.

The wea­ther con­ti­nued to be fine for some time. I don’t know how many times I had sai­led up and down the nort­hern west coast of Spits­ber­gen, bet­ween Kongsfjord and Mag­da­le­n­efjord, that bit of coast that is known as “Dei Sju Isfjel­la” (“the seven ice­bergs”) sin­ce the 17th cen­tu­ry? And I had never been ashore on this expo­sed, wild coast­li­ne! Obvious­ly a situa­ti­on that could not be tole­ra­ted fore­ver. In bright sunshi­ne and ama­zin­gly calm seas, we went ashore in Kve­dfjor­dbuk­ta and enjoy­ed life the­re for a while, fee­ling that we might be the first peop­le the­re in many years. And that may actual­ly have been pret­ty clo­se to the truth. A good fee­ling that we could enjoy yet ano­t­her cou­p­le of times during this trip!

Kvedfjordbukta

Kve­dfjor­dbuk­ta: rare oppor­tu­ni­ty for a lan­ding the­re in per­fect con­di­ti­ons.

This inclu­des the ama­zing days in Lady Fran­klin­fjord and – a geo­gra­phic high­light in the tru­est sen­se of the word – the lan­ding on Ros­søya, the nort­hern­most bit of land in the who­le of Sval­bard. Not that it is a very signi­fi­cant island bey­ond its fur­thest north posi­ti­on. But it is the nort­hern­most one. That’s alrea­dy more than good enough, isn’t it? 🙂

Rossøya

The­re is no land in Sval­bard north of Ros­søya.
Hein­rich Eggen­fell­ner is put­ting us ashore.

In this way I could con­ti­nue, raving on about many lovely lan­dings, but we did cer­tain­ly not igno­re the wild­life eit­her. Nobo­dy of the small num­ber of peop­le who were the­re will for­get that polar bear sigh­t­ing on Edgeøya. And the same is true for the wild pas­sa­ge around the south cape and the adven­tur­ous lan­ding that fol­lo­wed on the west coast.

Polar bear, Edgeøya

A wal­rus (dead) and a polar bear (very much ali­ve) on Edgeøya.

Oh yes, and then we still mana­ged to finish the Spits­ber­gen calen­dar 2018 in late August. We are get­ting bet­ter every year, even though it was not avail­ab­le in July, as I had been hoping for. But as you can see, we were not lazy in the book (& rela­ted) publi­shing depart­ment eit­her!

Spitsbergen-Calender 2018

The Spits­ber­gen calen­dar 2018 came out in August.

July 2017 review­ed: the south cape, polar bears and arc­tic Christ­mas

Con­si­de­ring public news, July was a rather calm mon­th in Spits­ber­gen. Which is gre­at. No news are good news. Of cour­se, the­re is always some­thing, but all wit­hin rea­son. The rein­de­er were doing well, the­re were no avalan­ches and no extre­me wea­ther situa­tions. We could pret­ty much just enjoy!

And so we did, most­ly with SV Anti­gua. We star­ted actual­ly alrea­dy in late June, and the first high­light – I am com­ing to my per­so­nal per­spec­ti­ve – came quick­ly in shape of a rare lan­ding near Spitsbergen’s south cape (Sør­kapp).

Sørkapp Land

Lan­ding clo­se to Sør­kapp (the south cape) of Spits­ber­gen.

Other peop­le who were the­re with me will pro­bab­ly rather remem­ber the Blue wha­le that we saw clo­se up later the same day, or the polar fox fami­ly a day later. And no doubt, the­se are all pre­cious memo­ries. But for me per­so­nal­ly, well, I just love rare lan­dings, the­se hid­den pla­ces that almost nobo­dy knows and even fewer peop­le ever get to. But the­se pla­ces to all have their secrets. More often than not, the­re is some­thing exci­ting to dis­co­ver!

Blue whale, Storfjord

Blue wha­le in Storfjord.

But still, the wild­life is a big chunk of Spitsbergen’s beau­ty. And the sigh­t­ing of a fema­le polar bear with one cub who were feas­ting on the remains of a dead wha­le on Dans­køya were amongst the high­lights of the­se weeks!

Polar bears, Danskøya

Hap­py polar bear fami­ly and an unhap­py wha­le on Dans­køya.

And if you ask anyo­ne who was on board, then I am sure most will tell you that the lan­ding on an ice floe is one of the most pre­cious memo­ries that they took home from this gre­at trip. How often do you have the chan­ce to stand on drift ice on 80 degrees north? Feel like Nan­sen! But not for 3 years … we left a bit ear­lier.

Ice landing on 80 degrees north

Ice lan­ding on 80 degrees north.

Back in Lon­gye­ar­by­en, I could final­ly finish my arc­tic Christ­mas book (Ger­man only, sor­ry). The second book that I could finish and get prin­ted this year, after the Nor­we­gi­an ver­si­on of my Sval­bard gui­de­book! Final­ly, con­si­de­ring the arc­tic Christ­mas book, as I have to admit. It took me a good 10 years sin­ce I star­ted with this one! Making a book does always take time, but in this case one of the main pro­blems had been someo­ne who would be able to crea­te the drawings that I had on my mind for this book. Until I saw last year – also on Anti­gua, by the way – what Nor­bert Wach­ter could do with a pen­cil and a sheet of paper. So we went, and here we are! Done! 🙂

Arktische Weihnachten

The arc­tic christ­mas book: final­ly in print in late July.

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