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Home* Triplogs with photo galleriesArctic blog: Jan Mayen, Spitsbergen → Moffen & Woodfjord – 16 September 2018

Moffen & Woodfjord – 16 September 2018

The weather stays on our side, the sun is shining through the thin clouds and, even more important, the sea is almost flat like a mirror as we set course for Moffen in the early morning. Not too much later we are shore. Moffen! This little island just above 80 degrees north, hardly more than an extended gravel bank, it exerts a fascination that is hard to descrive with a few words. A little, lonely island in the polar sea, this almost bizarre landscape of series of old beach ridges which add up to one another to form a gravel ring around a lagoon, the charme of a forbidden island, it all comes together. Moffen is indeed a forbidden island, because you are not allowed to approach closer than 300 metres from mid May to mid September. Today it is 16 September, so you need not just the weather but also the calender on your side to get really close to the island.


Moffen is located exactly on 80° North.

And then there are the walrusses! There are more than 100 in 3 groups on the southern tip of the island, and more in the water. We have an amazing experience with them. It is hard to tell who is more curious, again and again there are walrusses swimming towards us, curiously checking the unusual visitors out.

Walruses on Moffen

Who’s watching who? Curious walruses on Moffen.

There is also plastic on Moffen, sadly, as almost everywhere. We take quite a lot of it with us.

Many of us have read Christiane Ritter’s book „A woman in the polar night“, for some us it was a poetic door-opener to the Arctic many years ago. We do have the chance to visit the hut near Gråhuken where the famous wintering took place. An almost emotional experience for some of us, and certainly interesting for everybody.


Christiane Ritter wintered in the Ritter hut in 1943/35. The hut was built in 1928 by the legendary Norwegian trapper Hilmar Nøis.

Finally we drop anchor in the bay of Mushamna – the lagoon itself is frozen, so we stay outside as we are not sure if provisions would last for a winter. We spend the evening around a fire on the beach, watching how the colours in the landscape change.


last modification: 2018-09-25 · copyright: Rolf Stange