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Monthly Archives: June 2019 − News & Stories


Drift ice – 05th and 06th June 2019

It is amazing how quickly things change here: just yesterday, Danskegattet was completely ice free, and now there are floes of loose drift ice, so we stay away from this partly shallow passage and keep to the outer side of Amsterdamøya.

Drift ice around the northwest corner of Spitsbergen. That is how it used to be – just that it used to be well into July in the old days and not just in the beginning of June, as it is now.

We pass one field of drift ice after the other, and some of the offlying islands: Fuglesongen, where we hear the crazy laughter of the thousands of little auks, and Klovningen. Later, we reach the entrance to Raudfjord. Dense drift ice everywhere, and the whole map is still frozen solid, at least according to the ice chart. After a little Zodiac excursion, we take off and move out, as we don’t want to spend a couple of weeks here.

Meanwhile, the drift ice around Amsterdamøya has become so dense that the passage back to open water takes more time than planned. This is great – nature is in control! We spend one more night, just drifting in an area of open drift ice, and then it takes about half a day to navigate through Smeerenburgfjord and Sørgattet.

Gallery – Drift ice – 05th and 06th June 2019

Click on thumbnail to open an enlarged version of the specific photo.

From there, we follow the west coast to the south. Everything here is grey today. In the evening, we reach Prins Karls Forland, where we visit a group of pretty active walruses to round the day off.

Danskøya – 04th June 2019

We had reached the northwestern corner of Spitsbergen over night. Here, in the high north, the land was still covered with a thick layer of snow, so we got the snow shoes out and went for a lovely walk.

On the way to Smeerenburgbreen (-glacier), we found two walruses. One of them was quite curious and swam towards the ship. The wildlife encounters that involve the curiousity of the animals as much as ours are always the best ones!

Finally we took the opportunity to revive an old and almost forgotten tradition. We went to the „postbox“ in Kobbefjord on Danskøya, a cairn where northgoing ships used to leave mail. This was often their last opportunity for weeks or even months to make contact with the outside world! Southbound ships went and took the mail with them if the opportunity occured and delivered the letters to a post office in Norway. Let’s see when our postcards arrive at their destination …?

Gallery – Danskøya – 04th June 2019

Click on thumbnail to open an enlarged version of the specific photo.

Some harbour seals have already occupied their summer position on rocks on shallow waters just off the shore.

Forlandsund & Krossfjord – 03rd June 2019

The weather in Forlandsund was not quite like what the forecast had promised: a stiff northerly breeze made things a bit difficult and life unfomfortable until we had reached sheltered waters again in Krossfjord. There, we were happy to walk on solid ground again. We had a look at the remains of the geophysical observatory that was operated in Ebeltofthamna from 1912 to 1914 and later we visited a seabird colony further north in Krossfjord.

Gallery – Forlandsund & Krossfjord – 03rd June 2019

Click on thumbnail to open an enlarged version of the specific photo.

Billefjord – 02nd June 2019

We were very curious what the day might bring – there had been plenty of polar bear sightings recently in Billefjord. Just yesterday, no less than 3 bears had been observed here! So soon under breakfast we were under steam again. Just a few miles to the ice edge in inner Billefjord.

It did not take much time until we had seen the bears on the fast ice near Nordenskiöldbreen, but far away, too far for good photography. One of the bears was eating a seal, the other one was walking back and forth in the same area, waiting for his chance to get a share of the meal. We followed the whole scene with our binoculars and secured good views with Ingolf’s telescope, but it was too far to obtain reasonable photos. But the whole landscape setting was stunning, with the ice cliff of the glacier in the background and the ice edge where some seals were resting on ice or playing in the water.

Gallery – Billefjord – 02nd June 2019

Click on thumbnail to open an enlarged version of the specific photo.

Later, we ventured for our first landing in Skansbukta, where we saw reindeer in amazing numbers and we enjoyed the sunny views of the impressive scenery – well deserved after ascending the slope through deep snow.

Longyearbyen – Skansbukta, 01st June 2019

Brave Marathon-runners do their work in and near Longyearbyen, while we get ready for action on Antigua. In the afternoon, we are ready to set sail on Antigua, and that is exactly what we actually do as soon as Captain Robert has said hello to everybody. A brief introduction turns us all into real sailers, and soon the canvas goes up into the breeze, and the reasonably warm sun sees us sailing out of Adventfjord and northwards, across Sassenfjord.

We have set course for Skansbukta, where we drop the anchor for the night. It is a wonderful northern evening in good company, many here on board have been on Antigua more often than some of the crew!

Gallery – Longyearbyen – Skansbukta, 01st June 2019

Click on thumbnail to open an enlarged version of the specific photo.

Ingolf has got a lot of work with his telescope, there are plenty of reindeer and several arctic foxes on the tundra and hundreds of common eiders with an amazing number of king eiders amongst them.

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News-Listing live generated at 2019/June/17 at 00:01:47 Uhr (GMT+1)
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