As beautiful as Longyearbyen’s surroundings are especially at this time of year, it is always tempting and actually also great to get further away from “civilisation”. We take the opportunity that the fine weather provides, pack the sledges and set course east through Adventdalen. Spitsbergen’s east coast, especially Mohnbukta, is a classical destination for snow mobile tours in the late winter – now – for good reason, as you will see!
View over inner Adventdalen.
It is cold, around minus 20 degrees centigrade as so often during the last couple of weeks. Clear and calm.
The large moraine of Rabotbreen, east of Sassendalen, may be an obstacle for some who are not used to driving snow mobiles, as there are some curves, bends and little slopes.
Dead glacier ice in the moraine of Rabotbreen.
For us, it is a great and very impressive bit of landscape. Just the scale is enormous! And then there are some exposed bits of dead glacier ice, slowly melting away, creating some amazing shapes and colours on their way back to the global water cycle.
The little ice cap Nordmannsfonna.
We continue across Nordmannsfonna, a little ice cap where you get a litte impression of how it might be in central parts of Greenland or Antarctica. It is of course just a miniature version of those continental inland ice masses, but for me this is enough. Honestly, I have never really been keen on going to any pole, by burning nuclear fuel to get to the north pole or by burning endless volumes of aircraft fuel to get to the south pole, where tourists are not always really given a warm welcome by the crew of the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. But anyway … I am getting off topic. I am happy here on Spitsbergen’s Nordmannsfonna and her relatives around here 🙂
Weathered iceberg in Mohnbukta.
We have reached Mohnbukta after a short drive down another glacier. The bay and the wide waters of Storfjord are frozen solid as far as we can see, and we have a fantastic view all the way to Barentsøya and Edgeøya. The ice is a fantastic world in itself! There are some small (well, it is all relative), but beautifully (absolutely!) weathered icebergs frozen in the sea ice. We had some stunning specimens here in earlier years, click here for some panorama photos of ’em.
Lunch break in Mohnbukta.
A great place for a little lunch break 🙂
Then there is the glacier front of Hayesbreen as the scenic highlight of the day. Just stunning! Especially on a day like this. Now – it is late March – the sun is still low even around noon, which is when she is coming from the perfect direction to illuminate this amazing ice cliff. A great spectacle of ice, of colours, shapes and size!
Glacier front of Hayesbreen, Mohnbukta (I).
Glacier front of Hayesbreen, Mohnbukta (II).
Then … off again, and back home. We have still got more than 90 kilometres ahead of us.
Way back home over Königsbergbreen.
The lovely evening light makes the trip over Königsbergbreen and through Sassendalen another delight. Something we just have to enjoy, there won’t be any evening light here anymore in just a few weeks time!
Evening light in Sassendalen.
Finally, my current ceterum censeo: I have made a new photo book, focussing on aerial photography and thus showing the Arctic from a very unsual perspective. In theory, the book is in German, but in practice, it does hardly have text. 134 out of 137 pages do just have stunning photos, placenames and a little map. Norwegens arktischer Norden (2) – Aerial Arctic shows Jan Mayen and Svalbard from the air.