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Home → September, 2019

Monthly Archives: September 2019 − Travelblog


Billefjord – 28th September 2019

Billefjord is one of Spitsbergen’s most beautiful fjords, if you ask me. Here, we had the opportunity to go for a hike and to cruise along Nordenskiöldbreen. Also hoping to find a polar bear that might be a bit closer than the one in Liefdefjord a few days ago. This did not happen, but belugas showed up, and the stunning scenery … a perfectly fine morning!

Gallery – Billefjord – 28th September 2019

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The last landing was on Gipshuksletta, on the corner between Billefjord and Sassenfjord/Tempelfjord. Stunning arctic winter landscape in the light that you only have a few weeks before the onset of the polar night. A silent goodbye to Spitsbergen’s nature – for this time.

Barentsburg – 27th September 2019

Sometimes it is better to adjust plans to reality, which is: the weather: this little autumn storm had not been in yesterday’s forecast, but it was clearly blowing through Isfjord today. We reached the harbour of Barentsburg in time and that was the perfect place to be on such a day with a lot of wind and poor visibility. The latter increased during the afternoon, so those who were keen on some hiking could actually take off in the afternoon. The foxes came out and played, the sauna was hot, while snow was drifting outside …

Gallery – Barentsburg – 27th September 2019

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Sallyhamna – Fuglefjord – 26th September 2019

Again a calm night, in a small bay in northwest Spitsbergen. The day starts with a glacier view and mirror images on the water.

Sallyhamna is not a big place – not a lot of space for easy walking, that is – but beautiful. Scenery, Waldemar Kræmer’s old hut, blubber ovens and graves from the whaling years.

Later we get stunned by the large and pretty active Svitjodbreen in Fuglefjord. And by a bearded seal that is resting on a bit of ice.

Gallery – Sallyhamna – Fuglefjord – 26th September 2019

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Then it is time to leave the fjords in the north behind. We have more than 120 miles to cover to Isfjord. By now it is anyway grey and wet outside, but good sailing weather, with light northerly winds.

(Vesle) Raudfjord – 25th September 2019

Vesle („little“) Raudfjord ist east of the „real“ Raudfjord. A beautiful lagoon landscape where you can hike in various directions as far as you want to. Also here: plastic on the beaches. Now, at least, several bags less than before.

The world disappears in fog bags while we sail around Biskayarhuken, but it clears up again as soon as we enter Raudfjord. Liquid gold comes through holes in the clouds and covers some of the sharp peaks and glaciers.

Gallery – (Vesle) Raudfjord – 25th September 2019

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Carrfjellet is only 154 metres high, but the view is stunning.

Liefdefjord – 24th September 2019

Monacobreen is currently advancing, the western part of its front has pushed forward at least a kilometre. The glacier is accordingly very productive. At times inner Liefdefjord was completely filled up with glacier ice, almost or actually impassable. Also today there was a lot of glacier ice floating in the water. Very impressive, even on a grey morning.

Andøyane offer a great scenic contrast. Lovely scenery, colourful lichens, beautifully curved coastlines. And, sadly, a lot of plastic litter on the beaches. For bags less now, after our visit.

Gallery – Liefdefjord – 24th September 2019

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Later we saw a polar bear that captain Robert had seen on Reinsdyrflya. Quite distant. A rather skinny bear. It was tempting to leave a pile of butter on the beach. But no, we don’t do that. It is not allowed. But it is allowed to feel empathy.

Woodfjord – 23rd September 2019

Anchoring in Mushamna turned out to be an interesting project last night. The lagoon was already frozen solid, so we preferred to stay outside. Beautiful evening- and moonlight!
 

Gallery – Woodfjord – 23rd September 2019

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Next morning we went and explored the beautiful winter landscape at Mushamna. Snow and sun! Inner Woodfjord, later, was in contrast to that quite windy, so we rather went into Bockfjord for an afternoon walk in the snowy tundra. It was cloudy now, a completely different mood. A landscape like carved in stone. Well, that’s what it is.

Northwest Spitsbergen – 22nd September 2019

Weather-wise, today is our chance to sail up to the north coast. So we start early from Ny-Ålesund and spend the morning moving north along the west coast. It is clearing up in Smeerenburgfjord, getting really beautiful, so we dive deep into polar history in Virgohamna. Harbour seals are lying on stones, and a quite large herd of walruses is enjoying life in the snow in Smeerenburg. It is quite cold, and there is a smell of winter in the air.

Gallery – Northwest Spitsbergen – 22nd September 2019

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Kongsfjord – 21st September 2019

It is a great start into the day, waking up with the noise of a thundering glacier. We are anchored near Blomstrandbreen.

Blomstrandhalvøya is the theme of the day. The choice is either a walk closer to sea level or a crossing of the island including the highest „peaks“ reaching 385 metres above sea level. Not Mount Everest, but absolutely enough for some stunning views of Kongsfjord. Back to the ship along the old mining place Marble Island / Ny London. We are a bit late, but it is worth spending every minute outside on such a golden September day.

The small islands of Lovénøyane are bird reserves, it is not allowed to visit them during the summer. But all breeding birds are gone now and we can visit legally. These small islands are treasure chests of arctic nature. Thousands of years of intense fertilising have created a thick carpet of moss tundra. Ice on the beaches and harbour seals nearby, two reindeer, many large erratic boulders, beautiful scenery everywhere around us. Silence.

Gallery – Kongsfjord – 21st September 2019

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In Ny-Ålesund they kindly open Kongsfjordbutikken for us Saturday evening. I think it was worth the effort for all involved. Our town walk and the little walk to Amundsen’s airship mast turned out to be late evening excursions. The sun went down at 19:39.

Krossfjord – 20th September 2019

The last evening was very beautiful, with red evening light and the moon above the mountains. This morning it was … a bit bumpy. Northern wind in Forlandsund. Not so great.

Well, we were in calm waters again in Krossfjord a few hours later, where we made our first walk in arctic wilderness in Signehamna. Ice on the shore, polar foxes, reindeer, frost patterned ground, remains of a German war weather station.

Gallery – Krossfjord – 20th September 2019

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The glacier in Tinaybukta was pretty active and noisy. Later we went to yet another glacier, hidden behind a huge moraine. We could easily enter a huge mouline from the bottom end, something that is quite unusual.

Isfjord – 18th September 2019

Back in Spitsbergen – home, sweet home 🙂 this rapid change from one world to the next one – Greenland, Iceland, Germany, Spitsbergen in just a few days – is quite crazy … the first impression of Spitsbergen from an altitude of 30,000 feet: the glacier bridge between Hornsund and the east coast. Shrinking. Heavily.

Galerie – Isfjord – 18th September 2019

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Now we are moving at sea level, on good old Antigua. Looking forward to 10 beautiful days in Spitsbergen!

Dalvik – Akureyri – 08th September 2019

A ship that is not rocking and rolling during the night is not a bad thing, actually. Also nobody getting ready for his watch at 4 a.m. and no sails being adjusted in the middle of the night benefits a good sleep. Not bad. Sunday morning breakfast at 9 a.m., everybody seated around one table for the first time since Greenland.

The first thing we wanted was a little walk. There is a small nature reserve next to Dalvik. A nice river landscape with wetlands and associated birdlife.

The Café in Dalvik is definitely worth a visit 🙂

Gallery – Dalvik – Akureyri – 08th September 2019

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Now it is a calm, scenic passage of few hours to Akureyri, with some humpback whales on the way. And the waterfall opposite of Akureyri that is pretty unique: it is artificial and geothermal. The story is that it was suddenly there when they built the tunnel.

Then we are suddenly alongside in Akureyri. An amazing voyage has come to an end. Big thanks to all of you who were part of it, first of all to skipper and boat owner Heinz and his good crew and ship!

Denmark Strait – 06th/07th September 2019

The timing of our departure from Greenland was good. After a few initial hours with some more wind and sea, it calmed down considerable and it has been a reasonably smooth crossing so far. Almost no wind yesterday, just some swell. Today the wind started to blow again, but we are still making 5-6 knots speed. Not record-breaking, but reasonable. We have already passed the latitude of Kolbeinsey and we expect to reach Iceland tonight.

Maritime everyday life until then: shifts on the wheel, mealtimes, time to read, sleep, …

Photo – Denmark Strait – 06th/07th September 2019

Denmark Strait - 06th/07th September 2019

The Denmark Strait turned out to be a bumpy road today. But we got a lovely sunset at sea. Now we are entering coastal waters and later tonight we will go alongside in Dalvik, a little harbour in Eyafjordur, north of Akureyri.

Hall Bredning – 5th September 2019

It is an early start into the day. Well, actually it was even earlier than that. The northern light. And then, a few hours later, the alarm went. We have a lot of miles ahead of us. Soon we are on our way. And get a stunning sunrise above the rugged islands of Bjørneøerne. And a very atmospheric morning mist.

The idea was to make the distance to Ittoqqortoormiit (Scoresbysund village) today to make a visit to this northern one of only two communities in east Greenland tomorrow. But after a look at the latest weather forecast we decided to set course for the open sea and Iceland straightaway. It will be good to get into a harbour there before the next storm hits the area of our open sea passage. We do still have a chance to make it in time and we don’t want to miss it. Fingers crossed.

Gallery – Hall Bredning – 5th September 2019

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The passage through Hall Bredning, as the large, wide-open central part of Scoresbysund is called, is stunning. Mirror-flat water, sun, blue sky and icebergs. We put the Zodiac on the water once again to circle around an especially beautiful one. A lovely way to say goodbye to Greenland. For this time.

It is still lovely and cosy. I am curious what the next two days bring. It might not be this calm all the way through.

Øfjord – Bjørneøerne – 4th September 2019

The Øfjord („Island fjord“) connects the innermost branches of the Scoresbyund such as Harefjord with the large, more open part in the middle known as Hall Bredning. It is, out of the three fjords around Milne Land, the one with the grandest scenery: five to seven kilometres from shore to shore, the waters in many places more than 1000 metres deep, surrounded by steep mountains up to more than 2000 metres high. One vertical tower of gneiss and granite next to the other one, wild, uncounted and most certainly unclimbed, most of them, with high, vertical walls. And just by the way, the landscape where we are happily moving through under sun and sail was once the deep-seated root of a mountain range of the distant geological past.

Gallery – Øfjord – Bjørneøerne – 4th September 2019

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We find a lovely anchorage in Jyttes Havn in the islands of Bjørneøerne. Soon we are on our way, hiking up one of the rocky hills to enjoy a stunning panorama view.

The night is not as calm as we had anticipated, but we are happy to accept the interruption caused by a lovely display of northern lights.

Harefjord – 3rd September 2019

As mentioned, there are not too many good anchorages in many parts of Greenland, aber there are some. We spent a calm night in a small bay in Harefjord, one of Scoresbysund’s inner branches.

The inland ice is not far from here, so we wanted to get as close as we could. It does not have to be a crossing of the inland ice. If that is really what you want is a question that everyone has his or her own answer for. Personally, I appreciate the variety and the beauty of the fjord landscapes. Such as here, in Harefjord. Musk oxen here and there on the slopes. We climb a ridge and a moraine to find ourselves sitting above a crevassed glacier. Stunning views of an amazing landscape. This is as close to the inland ice as we can get here and now. We are more than happy with this.

Gallery – Harefjord – 3rd September 2019

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There are beautiful hills and mountains everywhere here, and you can walk or climb as far and as high as you wish, can and have time. Time is not unlimited for us, but we have enough for absolutely stunning views of Harefjord and suroundings.

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