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Monthly Archives: June 2018 − News & Stories


Landslide in Longyearbyen: road closed

A landslide from Platåberget crossed the road near the cemetery in Longyearbyen a few days ago. Nobody was injured and the event was not seen by anyone, as far as known, but the road from the old museum to Huset has been closed by the Sysselmannen for safety reasons until further notice.

It is not the first landslide in this area. Previous events had triggered a debate to move the cemetery to a safer location near the church to prevent it from possible damage, but no decisions have been made so far.

Smaller landslides as the recent one are generally a common and well-known phenomenon on slopes like the one near the cemetery. They may occur anywhere on similar slopes in the field, especially in the early summer, after the snow melting period. Landslides of this type are normally not too fast, so hikers should be able to move away and into safe territory without difficulties. But the danger potential has to be considered for example when putting up a tent, and there are other types of landslides and mudflows that involve more water and higher velocities. In June 1992, a scientist was killed by a torrential slush avalanche in Liefdefjord.

landslide Longyearbyen cemetery

Landslide in Longyearbyen near the cemetery. Image © Alexander Lembke.

Patagonia under sail 2018: triplog and fotos

Following to the triplog and photos of our Antarctic expedition with SY Anne-Margaretha in early 2018, we have now got the Patagonia triplog with associated photo collections and some short storytelling online. With the log, stories and photos, you can join us retrospectively at no cost and enjoy Patagonia’s wonderfully wild landscapes and waterways with no “risk” of wind and waves, seasickness and cold – have fun!

Patagonia 2018, SY Anne-Margaretha and Rolf Stange: triplog, stories, photos

Hiking on one of Patagonia’s many remote islands.

And yes, we are fairly confident that this Patagonia adventure was not the last one of its kind, there is still so much to discover! We have no dates fixed yet, and it won’t happen as early as the next austral season (2018/19), but we’ll return to Patagonia, no doubt!

But first, I’ll soon return to Spitsbergen! So my arctic travel blog will get new stuff regularly from July onwards.

Polar bear observed close to Longyearbyen

Less than a week after the polar bear visit to Kapp Linné, which made it big in international media, another polar bear was seen near a settlement in Spitsbergen. This time, it was Longyearbyen, the main settlement.

The bear was seen for the first time Friday evening in Adventdalen close to the old airstrip, some kilometres southeast of Longyearbyen, walking to the settlement.

Soon, the Sysselmannen was on site with the helicopter, the polar bear had already come quite close to town. Scared away by the helicopter, the bear moved to Hiorthhamn, opposite of Longyearbyen. Later, when the bear was seen swimming in Adventfjorden, a group having a party with a fire on the beach in Longyearbyen was evacuated – a safety measure without any drama, the bear was not seen anywhere near the site.

polar bear, Adventfjord

Polar bear in Adventfjord, not far from Longyearbyen (archive image, 2014).

The polar bear was seen for the last time Saturday around noon on the way into Sassenfjord. Since then, its whereabouts are not know, and the authorities have closed the “case” until further observations may be made and reported by anyone in the field.

It is said that the bear was a large male. There were no situations dangerous for humans or the bear.

The case shows how important it is to be alert and prepared also in the area close to Longyearbyen.

Spitsbergen under sail with SV Antigua in July 2018: double cabin available

18 intense days in Spitsbergen on SV Antigua, a 3 mast sailing ship – a dream voyage for arctic enthusiasts! Now there is the chance to join us on our voyage in July (12-29, 2018). Fully booked since long ago, two beds in a double cabin are now available again after a cancellation.

This trip will be German speaking … you don’t have to be able to write poems in German, but if you have basic knowledge good enough for everyday communication, then – welcome!

Spitsbergen under sail, SV Antigua July 2018

Spitsbergen under sail with Antigua in July 2018: two beds in double cabin available.

So – get in touch an welcome on board! Click here for more information about this voyage.

Please don’t hesitate to contact Rolf Stange for any questions about the itinerary, the ship, Spitsbergen, equipment etc. or the Geographische Reisegesellschaft (Geographical travelling society) for reservations and booking.

Avoid disturbance in sensitive tundra areas such as Midterhuken!

The summerseason has begun in Spitsbergen. After a relatively early snow melt, ships have arrived to take tourists into remote areas, and birds have returned to start their breeding season.

The early summer is a very busy time in the Arctic for all kinds of creatures, animals and humans alike. Both birdcliffs and the tundra are humming with life, thousands of geese are now building up reserves after the spring migration to get ready for breeding, eider ducks and many other birds, tundra- and cliff breeders, to just about the same.

The Sysselmannen (governor) reminds everybody to exercise great care when travelling in the field. That is important at any time, but especially so in the early summer when many birds are breeding. A number of especially sensitive sites are protected as bird sanctuaries, but birds are also resting and nesting in many other areas, making them prone to disturbance during the breeding season.

Midterhuken

Tundra at Midterhuken: should be left alone in the early summer.

The Sysselmannen explicitly asks everybody to avoid traffic (not to land, that is) at Midterhuken/Gåsbergkilen in Bellsund. Also other sensitive places should either be avoided or visited only with great care to avoid disturbing geese, ducks and other birds living and breeding in the tundra or on cliffs.

Safe and happy travels!

Polar bear in building on Kapp Linné (Isfjord Radio)

A polar bear broke into a building on Kapp Linné/Isfjord Radio.

The old radio station provided radiocommunication between the settlements of Spitsbergen and the Norwegian mainland. It was disused when a glass fibre cable was laid to enable much faster traffic of much bigger volumes of data. Since the late 1990s, Kapp Linné is used as a little wildnerness hotel on the west coast of Spitsbergen.

Currently there are 5 staff and 9 guests at Kapp Linné. Sunday morning around 7 a.m., the manager, Malin Stark, saw that a door was broken in, soon thereafter, she heard suspicious noises from a storage room, as Svalbardposten reports.

Around 9 a.m., the polar bear was still inside the building. Sysselmannen and Norwegian Polar Institute have personell en route to Kapp Linné to scare the bear away or to tranquilize him. Shooting the bear is the worst case scenario, which the specialists will want to avoide if possible by any means.

Polar bear Kapp Linné (Isfjord Radio)

Polar bear on Kapp Linné (Isfjord Radio). Archive image author.

Persons were, as far as known, not in immediate danger. It is, however, possible, that the bear is under stress; it may be injured or maybe it does not find the way out again. The polar bear is assumed to be a large male.

Polar bear visits on Kapp Linné are not an everyday event, but they do occur more or less regularly. This author, who spent a winter/spring season working on Kapp Linné when he was still very young, was also able to make such experience. But a bear inside one of the buildings is definitely a rare event.

Addendum: Sunday morning near 11 a.m. the Sysselmannen informed that the polar bear had left Kapp Linné and is on the way northwards.

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News-Listing live generated at 2018/November/18 at 13:08:10 Uhr (GMT+1)
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