Quiet on the northern front ..?
“Quiet on the northern front” is, of course, not entirely true. There is always something going on in Spitsbergen, but currently not much that would shake the world. The locals can still be happy about not having a single case of Corona/Covid 19 in Spitsbergen. Hurtigruten Svalbard considers to sell their local properties to a “serious investor” to rent their hotels etc. then on a long-term basis. I guess you have to have studied something other than geography to understand that kind of business model. The Sysselmannen will release 18 employees this year and replace them with new ones, mostly because the people have to return to their long-term engagements in mainland Norway if they want to keep them. Such as large turnover is, of course, not what anyone would want – the Sysselmannen has 45 positions in total, currently, so that is an exchange of staff of more than 30 %.
Polar bears and people have recently managed to keep a healthy distance from each other. Fortunately.
It’s things like that which are currently going on. Everything is important for some people, but it is not shaking the world.
New book projects on the way
The corona-year has, amongst others, resulted in more time at the office table than originally planned. A new book project has already more than 300 pages of text, another one is also making some progress. But many more pages will have to be written in both cases before anything will be ready for release. “New book project” is, of course, not entirely true. Both have been work in process for more than just a couple of months, to put it mildly. So there is something positive in having more time than planned.
Another thing that has taken up at least some speed is re-doing a number of pages within spitsbergen-svalbard.com. Many pages that I was proud of 10 years ago are getting a bit … well, old now. A number of pages have got new maps, illustrations, photo galleries and revised text as necessary. This includes pages about beautiful fjords that many of you will know, and pages about more unknown places that you can explore if you feel like travelling Spitsbergen online – the door is open, just come in, there is plenty of good stuff waiting!
- The renewed page about Dickson Land and Billefjord. One of the most beautiful and interesting parts of Spitsbergen, believe it or not! An area that certainly deserved something better than what I had in that place until a few days ago.
- The same can be said about the page about the area in outer Isfjord between Kapp Linné and Festningen.
- Kongsfjord Krossfjord used to be merged into one page until recently, an unbearable situation 🙂 now both of these beautiful and frequently visited fjords have got their own, improved page.
- There are, of course, also a couple of new panorama pages, dedicated to individual sites rather than larger areas (in contrast to the pages mentioned above), some of them with many images (both panorama and conventional photos) and a lot of background information, such as the page about Svenskehuset.
- The same is the case with the new page about Brucebyen, a lovely and very interesting place in Billefjord. I have a lot of fond memories from Brucebyen, but the new page is, of course, not about my own stories. It is rather about the history of the famous Scottish polar explorer William S. Bruce and his Scottish Spitsbergen Syndicate.
- What else do we have? Oh, of course, Collinsodden at the entrance of Krossfjord. That’s a place I bett most of you won’t have been to, but it is worth a visit, the scenery is not exactly what you would initially think of when you mentally picture Spitsbergen, but it is beautiful and there is, of course, an interesting little story connected to the place.
- And Wigdehlpynten in Woodfjord. Colours, colours … that is Christiane Ritter’s red desert sand.
… to be continued.
So there is plenty of reading material for one or two rainy autumn days or dark winter evenings. By the way, as you may have noticed, it comes not only completely free, but also without all the online ads popping up that you have on most other “free” websites, which gather a lot of your data and reduce the reading experience greatly in my opinion. That’s how other website owners make their money. Nothing like that on spitsbergen-svalbard.com. Not that economy didn’t play a role for me, obviously, and this years I would have more reason than at other times to tap that resource. But I don’t want to do that, because I like my website as it is and I want to keep it this way. If you want to support it – have a look at my webshop, there is a lot of good arctic books and fine other things that might give you (or someone you like) pleasure.
So … have a look at these new/renewed pages listed above. I greatly enjoyed making them and I hope they find your interest.
Spitsbergen-Svalbard: the guidebook – now coming up in Dutch
The guidebook Spitsbergen-Svalbard has been translated and it is now printed, soon it will be ready for shipping 🙂 another big project that has come to an end – well, not really, but the process of making the book in the first place. More about that soon.