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Daily Archives: 14. January 2018 − News & Stories

2017, Octo­ber to Decem­ber: polar night

Octo­ber brought the ter­ri­ble crash of the Rus­si­an heli­c­op­ter that fell into Isfjord, not too far away from Barents­burg. All 8 on board peri­s­hed tra­gi­cal­ly. This sad event touch­ed ever­y­bo­dy in Spits­ber­gen and many peo­p­le else­whe­re deep­ly.

For me, it was time to return to the office in Octo­ber (more about the results later), befo­re we set sails one last time in the Arc­tic for this year to enjoy the beau­ty of the approa­ching polar night in north Nor­way. Cer­tain­ly a rather unu­su­al time for tou­rists to come to the­se lati­tu­des, but beau­tiful. Light, snow, sce­n­ery, places. Oh yes, and Sea eagles!

Sea eagle

Sea eagle in Troll­fjord.

In Spits­ber­gen, the polar night had set in for real. A good time to relax a bit. If you have too much time, you can always remo­ve someone’s let­ter­box.

No long expe­di­ti­ons, but still, impres­si­ons of silent beau­ty, and time to meet fri­ends – and yours­elf, after many months of inten­se tra­vel­ling. And we could enjoy some nor­t­hern lights!

Northern light above Foxdalen

Nor­t­hern light abo­ve Fox­dalen.

And then the year was almost over. Befo­re we repla­ced the old calen­ders, the­re were some weeks of inten­se work for the finis­hing tou­ch­es on a new edi­ti­on of the Eng­lish ver­si­on of the Spits­ber­gen gui­de­book (the very last bit of fine­tu­ning hap­pen­ed actual­ly in Janu­ary – doesn’t real­ly mat­ter, does it?). The most com­pre­hen­si­ve (608 pages!) and up-to-date ver­si­on of this book that exists (I know, the latest ver­si­on is always the most up-to-date one. And it does not yet exist, phy­si­cal­ly, it is in print as I am wri­ting this in mid Janu­ary). It is actual­ly the 10th edi­ti­on, if I count all lan­guages, start­ing with the first Ger­man edi­ti­on in 2007, the 5th edi­ti­on of which is curr­ent­ly available. In spring 2017, it came out for the first time in Nor­we­gi­an. And now a new Eng­lish edi­ti­on. By the way, the third book that I finis­hed and got into print in a year. So I do say wit­hout hesi­ta­ti­on that I am actual­ly a bit proud! The Spits­ber­gen gui­de­book is app­re­cia­ted by many rea­ders, I know that. That includes pro­fes­sio­nal expe­di­ti­on lea­ders and gui­des, which makes me even more proud. Now, if the­re is one thing that I’d be allo­wed to wish, then it would be some of the app­re­cia­ti­on of rea­ders and col­le­agues also in some offices, ship owners and tra­vel com­pa­nies as well as dedi­ca­ted muse­ums in Nor­way (main­land). Wouldn’t it be good if you could buy this book on board your ship in Spits­ber­gen while you tra­vel the­re? Or, say, at Pola­ria in Trom­sø, a museum/exhibition cent­re dedi­ca­ted to Spits­ber­gen? May­be one of them hap­pens to stumb­le over the­se lines … may­be the word of the app­re­cia­ti­on of rea­ders and expe­di­ti­on field staff spreads into tho­se offices. That would be my wish for this book and for me as a polar book wri­ter for the upco­ming year.

Spitsbergen-Svalbard 4

This is what the new gui­de­book Spits­ber­gen-Sval­bard (4th edi­ti­on) will look like.

When this blog is online, then I am alre­a­dy off and far in the south, in Ushua­ia or alre­a­dy on board SY Anne-Mar­ga­re­tha to enjoy Ant­ar­c­ti­ca under sails. An ama­zing thought, and now it is about to beco­me rea­li­ty! So come back to this site to check the blog!

Thank you for rea­ding this far. Best wis­hes for the new year!

Sep­tem­ber 2017 review­ed: arc­tic light, polar bears and an Ita­li­an lost and found

Public atten­ti­on in Lon­gye­ar­by­en in Sep­tem­ber 2017 was for some time lar­ge­ly attrac­ted by seve­ral polar bears who see­med hap­py to stay around in the neigh­bour­hood. Of cour­se, also the locals love to see a polar bear, but not whe­re they live, go for a walk and let their child­ren go to school.

An Ita­li­an tou­rist mana­ged to get lost big time on Fuglef­jel­la, west of Lon­gye­ar­by­en. That kept the local branch of the Red Cross and other SAR forces pret­ty busy for a very long night, so it was hard to say if one should laugh or cry in the end. The man was found and saved in good con­di­ti­on, and that’s the most important thing in the end, doesn’t it?


Evening crui­se in Kongsfjord.

We spent a cou­ple of real­ly love­ly days in Pyra­mi­den. You will pro­ba­b­ly know that this is inde­ed a very spe­cial place, and if you are open for the part­ly pret­ty bizar­re impres­si­ons that the place has to offer, then you can just keep dis­co­ve­ring fore­ver! That’s just what we did – not fore­ver, but for a cou­ple of days that I real­ly don’t want to miss. I guess my per­so­nal high­light was the hike over Ygg­dra­sil­kam­pen, the moun­tain south of Pyra­mi­den. Just stun­ning views! Click here to check it out as a full 360 degree pan­ora­ma. It would have been even more fun wit­hout a cold, but still … and of cour­se, the­re is always some­thing new to dis­co­ver in Pyra­mi­den its­elf. And a group of nice peo­p­le. What else could you ask for? In the end, nobo­dy real­ly wan­ted to lea­ve.


View from Ygg­dra­sil­kam­pen over Mimerd­a­len and Pyra­mi­den.

What else did Sep­tem­ber bring? Light, light and light. That’s what this tran­si­ti­on time bet­ween mid­night sun and polar night is famous for. Never-ending sun­ri­ses and sun­sets, ski­es that can be any­thing from oran­ge and pink to red and blue, a dark-green shi­ne on the gla­ciers … we got all of that, and much more. The only light phe­no­me­non that was a bit scar­ce was the nor­t­hern light. Not that the­re were none at all, but we had bet­ter nor­t­hern light sea­sons in the past.

Tre Kroner

The famous moun­ta­ins Tre Kro­ner (“three Crowns”) in Kongsfjord in evening light.

But what else do you need of you are sur­roun­ded by such scenic magic?

Yes! A fire on the beach! 🙂

Fire on the beach

Cosy fire on the beach in Wood­fjord.


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