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Home → August, 2019

Monthly Archives: August 2019 − News & Stories

Nordaustland – 12th August 2019

The lagoon Claravågen on the Hinlopen-coast of Nordaustland is definitely a spot where you can anchor in peace and solitude: the approach uncharted, with shallows here and there, the entrance narrow, with strong tidal currents. Perfect for us on Arctica II.

The area is high arctic, barren and frost-beaten, with large ice wedges that look liked carved into the ground by giants with huge axes. A fascinating land! The weather fits the arctic atmosphere: cold, with wind and snow.

Gallery – Nordaustland – 12th August 2019

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Later, we had a look at the old research station at Kinnvika in Murchisonfjord (Panos here).

On our way south, we passed Sparreneset, where the shrimp trawler Northguider is still sitting on the rocks near the shore.

Woodfjord-Sorgfjord – 11th August 2019

Small islands look from the distance often as if there was nothing to see. But when you have a chance to get close, then they often turn out to be little jewels of arctic nature. The tundra is rich due to fertilization by breeding birds over thousands of years. Eider ducks, arctic terns, grey phalaropes and purple sandpipers are living here. Waves and currents are turning sand and gravel into beautiful pieces of art.

Later, we pass the hut near Gråhuken, where Christiane Ritter wintered in 1934-35 (Ritter Hut). She wrote the book „A woman in the polar night“ about this adventure, which became quite famous.

We cross 80 degrees north under sail – twice, actually – before we reach Sorgfjord. The contrast of the barren polar-desert landscape at Eolusneset to the rich, colourful landscape and tundra of Woodfjord could hardly be more pronounced.

Gallery – Woodfjord-Sorgfjord – 11th August 2019

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Finally, we make good use of wind and some diesel to get across Hinlopen Strait, to Nordaustland.

Woodfjord – 10 August 2019

Mushamna is a lovely natural harbour, which must have been made for sailing boats like the Arctica II. We made good use of the sheltered anchorage for a couple of calm hours during the night, and then we went for a good walk, of course. Moss campion, mountain sorrel and snow buttercup are still standing in full flower here.

The stunning red colour of the Old Red sandstone in inner Woodfjord did not show all of its beauty as it was quite overcast and grey as we went for our second landing further down in Woodfjord, but the colours are still amazing. The plastic on the beach was also amazing, in a way. We collected some of it. At least.

Gallery – Woodfjord – 10 August 2019

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Later, on the way to the north, we saw a polar bear near the shore! He – or, probably, she – walked over the tundra, eating some vegetation here and there. Later he walked near us on the beach for a few precious moments, as we were at anchor again in Mushamna.

Raudfjord – 09 August 2019

Raudfjord is one of Spitsbergen’s most beautiful fjords. Steep mountain cliffs and many glaciers on one side, less steep mountains and no glaciers at sea level on the other side.

We devoted the morning to the rugged west coast of Raudfjord and the afternoon to the more visitor-friendly east side, which leaves enough spaces to go for beautiful hikes. Again, a great day in the Arctic!

Gallery – Raudfjord – 09 August 2019

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Northwest Spitsbergen – 08 August 2019

After the calm northwards passage to the north, interrupted by a late evening visit to a bird cliff on the west coast, we had a calm night at anchor in Magdalenefjord (here a small PanoTour). This stunningly beautiful fjord is a top tourist destination in Spitsbergen – remember, cruise ships started to visit this area regularly as early as in the late 19th century – but today, we happened to be the only boat in the area. So we made good use of the opportunity, enjoyed a sunny walk at Gravneset and a visit to the glacier, Waggonwaybreen.

As there was no wind and the sea completely calm, later we went for a rare visit of Hamburgbukta. Centuries ago, whalers from Hamburg followed their trade here; some of them never left, there is still a couple of graves here and there, covered by colourful carpets of lichens and mosses. A beautiful, silent and peaceful place.

Gallery – Northwest Spitsbergen – 08 August 2019

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Some hours and glaciers later, we have reached a well-sheltered anchored in a scenic small bay in northwestern Spitsbergen. Another day gone – time is flying here!

Kongsfjord-Krossfjord – 07 August 2019

After a lovely, calm and sunny night in the harbour of Ny-Ålesund, we don’t want to miss the opportunity to visit the airship mast where the famous airships Norge and Italia took of for their famous north pole flights in 1926 and 1928, respectively. It is easy to spend some time with telling stories during this short walk.

Gallery – Kongsfjord-Krossfjord – 07 August 2019

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Later, we turn into Kongsfjord to enjoy the view of the large glaciers and the silence, which is frequently interrupted by the thunder of pieces of ice falling down from the glacier front. Then we move to Krossfjord for a late afternoon walk in Ebeltofthamna, where Kurt Wegener ran an observatory in 1912-1914. They did some great scientific work and even improvised a technique to measure the height of the northern lights!

Aavatsmarkbreen – Ny-Ålesund – 06. August 2019

We keep moving north in Forlandsund and go ashore to make a hike to a huge glacier called Aavatsmarkbreen. Here we find ourselves in a barren ice-age landscape with many polar bear tracks in the sand, pieces of glacier ice on the shore, meltwater rivers that we need to walk through and finally the big glacier with its impressive calving front. Torrential meltwater rivers are cascading down over rocks next to the glacier. A very impressive, beautiful landscape!

The onwards journey through Forlandsund is a bit bumpy – again, the weather forecast is not really impressive – until we turn into Kongsfjord a couple of hours later.

Gallery – Aavatsmarkbreen – Ny-Ålesund – 06. August 2019

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In the evening, as we make a walk trough Ny-Ålesund, Spitsbergen’s northernmost settlement, the sun comes out again and casts beautiful evening light over the stunning mountain and glacier scenery.

Trygghamna-Poolepynten – 05 August 2019

The sun wakes us up after a calm night at anchor. We are surrounded by glaciers and high, rugged mountains. One of the mountains is less high and rugged than the other ones. Knuvlen, as it is called, is actually just 330 metres high. A piece of cake, as one might think. Nevertheless, the rocky terrain makes the ascent quite hard. But the view is a great reward!

Back on board, some of us jump into the sea to cool down after the hike. The sun is warm and high on the sky, and we enjoy lunch outside on deck.

Later, we have reached a walrus colony on Prins Karls Forland. Talk about right place and right time: some fog banks have shrouded the area with grey and mist. But the curtain goes up just as we drop the anchor. And to make things even better, the walrus are in great shape. A welcome comittee of three of these mighty seals comes curiously swimming very close towards us as we are standing silently on the beach. It is an amazing experience to be so close to these huge creatures! There is another group hauled out on the beach, not a large group, but quite active and beautifully placed in the evening sun, with a glacier in the background.

Gallery – Trygghamna-Poolepynten – 05 August 2019

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Skipper Peter has dinner ready as we get back on board. What a day, what a life!

Longyearbyen-Bohemanneset – 04 August 2019

And again: welcome on board, we’ll hoist the sails again and set course for Spitsbergen! This time, on the smaller, beautiful yacht Arctica II, a real expedition boat, strong and sturdy. As soon as we have got everything done, we cast off and steer out into Isfjord. It is a wonderful start, with sunshine, no wind.

Considering the great conditions today, we make use of the opportunity to make a landing as soon as we can. I am pleased to get back to Bohemanneset. A beautiful place, but it is very exposed, so sometimes years go between visits. This time, we have been here just a good 3 weeks ago with Antigua. It is nice to start where we finished recently. In contrast to last time, it is really nice and calm now, so the landing operation is a piece of cake and we can just enjoy the beauty of the place. It was not far from here, at Rijpsburg, that Søren Zachariassen began an operation that is now usually considered the beginning of commercial coal mining in Spitsbergen. But it was not successful.

Gallery – Longyearbyen-Bohemanneset – 04 August 2019

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Anyway, for us today, Bohemanneset is „just“ a beautiful and silent place. A great beginning of this new trip!

Later the same evening, we cruise for another 2 hours until we drop anchor in Trygghamna for a calm night, to get some good rest.

Spitsbergen kitchen slats available again

The Spitsbergen kitchen slats are available again: a small number of all kinds has found its way from the workshop in Longyearbyen to the spitsbergen-svalbard.com shipping department near the Baltic Sea coast in Germany.

Spitsbergen kitchen slats

Spitsbergen kitchen slats from Longyearbyen, in Longyearbyen.

The slats are made from strong oak wood in Wolfgang Zach’s carpenters’ workshop in Longyearbyen. Their design is inspired by arctic wildlife: there is the polar bear (of course!), the walrus, the Spitsbergen reindeer, the whale (whichever kind of large baleen whale you like ☺) and the bearded seal. The latest addition is the polar fox, which is here available for the first time outside Longyearbyen. And finally, on my personal request (I am a geographer, after all) my favourite, the slat with the map of Spitsbergen.

Spitsbergen kitchen slats

Spitsbergen kitchen slats from Longyearbyen: the whole collection.
A must-have! 🙂

Please visit our online shop (click here) for further information.

Our breakfast boards on a visit to Adventalen 😉

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Our breakfast boards on a visit to Longyearbyen 😉

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