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Home* Triplogs with photo galleriesArctic blog: Jan Mayen, Spitsbergen → Solfest: Sola er tilbake – the sun is back!

Solfest: Sola er tilbake – the sun is back!

Sola e’ tilbake! That was the motto of the day last Friday (several day ago already, time is running!), which was THE big day: solfest – sun fest – in Longyearbyen!

As mentioned, the sun has actually returned to the lower part of Longyearbyen, near Adventfjord, several days before …

Sun, Longyearbyen

Sun in lower Longyearbyen, Friday (8.3.) morning.

… but as those parts of Longyearbyen did not exist back then, the solfest is traditionally and duly celebrated on 08 March, shortly after 12.30 hours, as the sun returns to the stairs of the old hospital. This old hospital building is long gone, but the stairs from the back door are still there. Actually, the stairs are said to be a reconstruction so people know where to celebrate, but anyway … they are next to the kindergarten close to the Svalbard church. So that is where everybody meets on solfest-day at 12.30 hours. Hundreds of people gather to welcome and celebrate the sun! Especially the children, dressed as little suns, really sweet. Everybody is singing and cheering the sun up, who is doing her best to climb above the mountain: Sol! Sol! Komm igjen! Sola er min beste venn! – Sun! Sun! Come on! The sun is my best friend! The rhyme does not really work in English, well.

Sunrise during the solfest, Longyearbyen

Sunrise above Lars Hiertafjellet during the solfest in Longyearbyen,
Friday noon (8.3.).

And finally, here she is! The sun, bright as ever, climbs over the rim of Lars Hiertafellet, behind Larsbreen, and there is great cheering and jubilation. It is really an emotional moment! There has not been any direct sunlight in Longyearbyen during 5 months, due to the mountains around the settlement.

Sun, Gipshuken

Sunny view towards Gipshuken and Billefjord.

Yes, the sun is back. It is great to be outside, to enjoy the light-flooded landscape and to feel the sun on the skin.

Sun, Nordenskiöld Land

Sun over Nordenskiöld Land.

But, it is and remains icy cold, the thermometer is rather constantly somewhere near minus 20 degrees centigrade. There is fresh ice near the shore of Adventfjord, but a solid ice cover just does not want to form in spite of the cold. The warm water supply coming with the West Spitsbergen Current (“Gulf Stream”) is inexhaustible, I guess. Unfortunately. A frozen Adventfjord, that would be great. We have not had that for quite a few years.

Ice, Adventfjord

Fresh ice forming near the shore of Adventfjord, in Hiorthhamn.

last modification: 2019-03-12 · copyright: Rolf Stange