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Daily Archives: 31. May 2018 − News & Stories


Billefjord

One night’s sailing had taken us far into the inner branches of Isfjord and we woke up to a fantastic panorama in Billefjord. Mirror images on the water and dozens of seals lying on the ice! No landing to start with, as the bay was still frozen and the shores blocked by ice, but we thoroughly enjoyed.

Billefjord

Scenery in Billefjord.

It was locigal to continue just around the corner to the mighty Nordenskiöldbreen. One of Isfjord’s biggest glaciers and more or less our last chance for a polar bear sighting.

Nordenskiöldbreen, Billefjord

Scenery in Billefjord, Nordenskiöldbreen.

Stunning scenery and a lovely encounter with a Bearded seal, but no polar bear …

Bearded seal, Nordenskiöldbreen

Bearded seal at Nordenskiöldbreen.

Then it was time for a landing. Chosing a beautiful spot in Billefjord not far from Nordenskiöldbreen, I went back to old “hunting grounds” (not literally) which brought back many fond memories. That was just me personally, but everybody enjoyed the walk, the scenery and the silence.

Landing at Brucebyen

Landing near Brucebyen. Always these terribly long Zodiac rides from ship to shore! 😉

Brucebyen was the site where a Scottish company investigated coal occurrences around 1920. A short-lived adventure.

Brucebyen

Brucebyen.

Then, finally … we were almost on the way out of Billefjord, then we got our polar bear! Distant, yes, thus certainly not allowing for world-class photography. But it was our polar bear! Clearly visible with binoculars, it brought a smile on everybodies face.

Polar bear, Nordenskiöldbreen

Polar bear at Nordenskiöldbreen, if you can see it. It was a bit distant, but it was our polar bear, and it was real! 🙂

So it was a happy ship that set course for Longyearbyen in the late afternoon.

Isfjord: Alkhornet, Barentsburg

It is really fully winter still here in Isfjord. Snow, snow, snow. Add to that some sun, the sound of a birdcliff in the background and a wide panorama of fjord and coast, mountains and glaciers, reindeer and geese on the first bits of open tundra. Does it get more beautiful than this? Hardly.

Schnee, Trygghamna

Late winter in Trygghamna.

Harbour seal

Harbour seal.

Snow buntings, Alkhornet

Snow buntings at Alkhornet.

Alkhornet

Some golden moments at Alkhornet.

We also made a visit to the Ymerbukta swimming club. Always nice to meet the locals 🙂

Ymerbukta

Ymerbukta swimming club.

Many will probably agree that Barentsburg is not more beautiful, not in a classical sense. But different. Very different! It is historical and political. We did have a close look at all of this. If you have missed this, than you have not fully understood what Spitsbergen is all about today. Lenin would agree.

Lenin in Barentsburg

Lenin in Barentsburg.

Looking back at the last couple of days, we had plenty of good reasons to raise the glasses to a wonderful trip. So we did in the evening. A skål to Captain Mario and chef Piet! And of course to the whole crew, but captain and chef are key positions as everybody knows who has travelled on a ship. A word for all of you who have travelled on Antigua in recent years and who are curious how things are going here now: of course I was also curious how it would be after our former Captain Joachim and chef Sascha had set course for new adventures. Big shoes to fill, as all of our fellow travellers will confirm. So I am more than happy to tell you know that I am looking forward to many more trips to come with Antigua! We have had a great journey now (and still not finished yet)!

Piet

Thumbs up for the Antigua-chef Piet!

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