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Monthly Archives: July 2020 − Travelblog


Spits­ber­gen with SV Anti­gua in Sep­tem­ber also can­cel­led becau­se of Coro­na

Unfort­u­na­te­ly, but not real­ly sur­pri­sing, we also have to can­cel our last Spits­ber­gen-voya­ge this year with SV Anti­gua (08-18 Sep­tem­ber 2020). Even though Nor­way will start to allow most Euro­pean tou­rists into the coun­try again, cur­rent health safe­ty regu­la­ti­ons in place to con­trol the Corona/Covid 19 risk make it impos­si­ble to ope­ra­te this voya­ge and other ones. A small ship in remo­te are­as is not a good situa­ti­on the­se days.

The par­ti­ci­pan­ts will now be cont­ac­ted by the Geo­gra­phi­schen Rei­se­ge­sell­schaft.

Corona-Virus, Spitsbergen

With Anti­gua in Spits­ber­gen: won’t hap­pen in 2020 becau­se of the Coro­na virus.

This appli­es also to our hiking and pho­to­gra­phy trip in and around Pyra­mi­den (31 August – 07 Sep­tem­ber 2020). This will also be can­cel­led, the par­ti­ci­pan­ts will be cont­ac­ted soon.

Spits­ber­gen with Anti­gua – some thoughts

Nor­mal­ly, on this site I wri­te and publish artic­les and blog posts about things that have actual­ly hap­pen­ed, and I try to keep it most­ly in unemo­tio­nal style. But the world isn’t nor­mal the­se days, so this article/blog/whatever is a bit dif­fe­rent.

It is about some­thing that does not hap­pen and it is latent­ly emo­tio­nal.

Yes­ter­day, on 09 July, we would have board­ed good old SV Anti­gua in Lon­gye­ar­by­en. About 30 pas­sen­gers, pro­ba­b­ly quite exci­ted, in good spi­rits and with high hopes and expec­ta­ti­ons. Ten crew: the Cap­tain (pro­ba­b­ly Robert), mates, deck­hand, gal­ley and ser­vice, three gui­des – Alex, Kris­ti­na and me. Ever­y­bo­dy had been loo­king for­ward to this trip for quite some time alre­a­dy, until the who­le thing fell vic­tim to the coro­na virus, as so much this weird year. 19 beau­tiful days in Spits­ber­gen – gone. Not just any kind of days. Spits­ber­gen under sail, that is always spe­cial, inten­se and rich with all sorts of expe­ri­en­ces. On every trip, we see and expe­ri­ence stuff whe­re I think “wow, how ama­zing is that …” and that is after almost 25 years of tra­vel­ling Spits­ber­gen.

Antigua, Spitzbergen

Spits­ber­gen with Anti­gua: would have star­ted yes­ter­day (9 July).

Nobo­dy will ever know what we will actual­ly have missed this sum­mer on this trip and others that don’t hap­pen now. But of cour­se it is pos­si­ble to dream and guess a bit. Let’s try to take it a litt­le step up onto an infor­med level. As always, it starts with a look at wea­ther fore­cast and ice­chart:

Marine weather forecast Spitsbergen

Mari­ne wea­ther fore­cast for Satur­day (12 July).

Today (Fri­day), the­re would still have been a fair bit of wind on the west coast. May­be not gre­at for a first day on a ship, but it should be calm in Isfjord, albeit pos­si­bly a bit wet, at least during Fri­day night and Satur­day ear­ly mor­ning. I think we might have well spent our first day in the­re. The­re are so many fjords with an end­less num­ber of beau­tiful places the­re. Tem­pel­fjord, Bil­lefjord, Nord­fjord with Ekm­anfjord, Cora­hol­men and so on, Bohem­an­flya, … just to men­ti­on a few (click on the links for a bit of online tra­vel­ling). The list is end­less.

On Satur­day, the wind on the west coast is sup­po­sed to turn south. I guess then we might have left Isfjord to set sail and a nor­t­her­ly cour­se with fine sai­ling wind. The fore­cast indi­ca­tes calm wea­ther for a cou­ple of days next week in the north, and then it is just a won­derful world to explo­re.

Marine weather forecast Spitsbergen

Mari­ne wea­ther fore­cast for Sun­day (12 July).

And now a quick look at the ice chart, which is real­ly an inte­res­t­ing one now. The­re is still a lot of drift ice in the east and nor­the­ast and many of the fjords, espe­ci­al­ly on Nord­aus­t­land, are still fro­zen solid. As it looks now, this trip would not have been a cir­cum­na­vi­ga­ti­on. This is, in times of cli­ma­te chan­ge, not com­mon for a trip that starts near mid July, but obvious­ly not impos­si­ble. Of cour­se it would have been exci­ting just to go and check it out, but it is also inte­res­t­ing to keep che­cking the ice chart every once in a while during the next cou­ple of weeks and see what hap­pens.

Eiskarte Spitzbergen

Ice chart Spits­ber­gen as of 09 July (© Nor­we­gi­an Meteo­ro­lo­gi­cal Insti­tu­te).

But then, have a good look at, say, Lief­defjord and Wood­fjord! Open – pro­ba­b­ly most­ly navigab­le, in other words – drift ice, with some lar­ger ice fields, such as the yel­low dot clo­se to Reins­dyr­flya, and solid (“fast”) ice in inner Wood­fjord! We could cer­tain­ly have spent a cou­ple of gre­at days the­re. And then on to Nord­aus­t­land and Hin­lo­pen. The com­bi­na­ti­on of drift ice, stun­ning sce­n­ery and a lot of wild­life, from guil­l­emots to wal­rus, polar bears and pro­ba­b­ly wha­les would most likely have made for some unfor­gettable expe­ri­en­ces.

Isfjord

Who knows what we might have done and seen the first day(s) in Isfjord? Just a few impres­si­ons from pre­vious years. Could have been some­thing like this. Or some­thing com­ple­te­ly dif­fe­rent.

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

For­lands­und

We spent quite a bit of time in For­lands­und last year, as tho­se who were the­re will remem­ber with no reg­rets 😉 all the For­lands­und pic­tures are from 2019.

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

Wood­fjord and Lief­defjord

Just a few pos­si­ble impres­si­ons as we might have met them now in Wood­fjord and Lief­defjord. And Spitsbergen’s north coast is, of cour­se, much more than “just” that. The­re is also the Raud­fjord, Wij­defjord, Sorg­fjord … oh, well …

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

A lot of “might have” and “would” and so on. It is curr­ent­ly not­hing but ima­gi­na­ti­on and dreams. Unseen, not expe­ri­en­ced, not lived. The 40 polar enthu­si­asts that should have met on a sai­ling ship to explo­re the far north, to share the excit­ment and fasci­na­ti­on, will never meet in this com­bi­na­ti­on. Sad.

So, fin­gers crossed that we will meet next year or in 2022 in Spits­ber­gen, or else­whe­re bet­ween the north pole and the south pole!

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