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Daily Archives: 27. July 2019 − News & Stories


Spits­ber­gen sum­mer: sum­mer wea­ther, tou­rists, cham­pa­gne glass, pri­de para­de, new pan­ora­mas, Anti­gua tour pho­tos & triplog

The sum­mer is cur­r­ent­ly going cal­my in Spits­ber­gen, most­ly. Which is a good thing. The heat wave that seems to numb lar­ge parts of cen­tral Euro­pe the­se days is not much of an issue in Spits­ber­gen. It is warm up the­re as well, around 10 degrees cen­tig­ra­de, and up 13 degrees are expec­ted for tomor­row (Sunday) accord­ing to the Nor­we­gi­an fore­cast on yr.no – plea­sant tem­pe­ra­tures, if you ask me. Cer­tain­ly warm sum­mer days in the Arc­tic, but not a record-brea­king heat­wave.

The­re is an ongo­ing deba­te in Lon­gye­ar­by­en about crui­se ship traf­fic and tou­rists. The­re are days when several thousands of them are floo­ding the place, which has about 2500 inha­bi­tants. No sur­pri­se that this is con­tro­ver­si­al.

Peop­le are also dis­cus­sing when the cham­pa­gne glass might break. This is a pret­ty con­spi­cuous snow-field that you can see on Ope­raf­jel­let, east of Lon­gye­ar­by­en. It has the shape of a cham­pa­gne glass. When the snow-melt has advan­ced far enough, then the stem will “break”. Once this is the case, then it is sum­mer in Lon­gye­ar­by­en, accord­ing to an old tra­di­ti­on. The­re is an annu­al com­pe­ti­ti­on arran­ged by Sval­bard­pos­ten, the local news­pa­per, whe­re you can have your guess when exact­ly the stem will break. This is usual­ly the case in late July.

Champagne glass on Operafjellet near Longyearbyen

The “cham­pa­gne glass” on Ope­raf­jel­let east of Lon­gye­ar­by­en.

The first local initia­ti­ve to arran­ge a pri­de para­de in Lon­gye­ar­by­en is lar­ge­ly met with enthu­si­asm, but the­re are also some cri­ti­cal voices on the usu­al social media plat­forms, inclu­ding some hate comments. Well, why should peop­le in the Arc­tic gene­ral­ly be any bet­ter than else­whe­re in the world.

Natu­re lovers amongst locals and tou­rists are cur­r­ent­ly enjoy­ing many encoun­ters with wha­les in Isfjord and else­whe­re, inclu­ding blue wha­les, fin wha­les, hump­back wha­les and white wha­les (belugas). And the­re are some rare visi­tors to the Lon­gye­ar­by­en area. Cur­r­ent­ly, the­re is a group of rud­dy shel­duck, which accord­ing to Wiki­pe­dia have their “main bree­ding area … from sou­the­ast Euro­pe across cen­tral Asia to Lake Bai­kal, Mon­go­lia, and wes­tern Chi­na”. This does obvious­ly not inclu­de Spits­ber­gen, so the rud­dy shel­ducks that are regu­lar­ly seen the­se days bet­ween Bjørn­da­len and Advent­da­len have lost track. It is, as far as we know, the second time that this spe­ci­es is obser­ved in Spits­ber­gen. And it is not the only recent rare bird sigh­t­ing. The­re has been that tun­dra swan in Advent­da­len and a tuf­ted puf­fin on Bjørnøya. Accord­ing to experts, this incre­a­se of rari­ty obser­va­tions indi­ca­tes an incre­a­sed den­si­ty of obser­vers out in the field rather than any chan­ges in the natu­ral world. This is a good thing – we are out the­re in natu­re and we are lear­ning while being the­re.

All in all, it is the usu­al walk of life in the Arc­tic as of 2019.

This lea­ves some time to get other things done as well. The Spits­ber­gen pan­ora­ma selec­tion has recei­ved some new ent­rants:

New Spits­ber­gen-pan­ora­mas

Spitsbergen panorama: Markhambreen

Mark­ham­breen: a rare­ly visi­ted gla­cier on the east coast of Spits­ber­gen. One of several new ent­ries in the Spits­ber­gen pan­ora­ma collec­tion on this web­site.

And: several new pages are now online dis­play­ing selec­tions of pho­tos illus­tra­ting a long and exci­ting recent voya­ge on SV Anti­gua. Click here to join us under sail in the Arc­tic!

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