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Yearly Archives: 2021 − News & Stories


Hin­lo­pen Strait – 02nd Sep­tem­ber 2021

Exact­ly today was our chan­ce for a dash fur­ther east, into nort­hern Hin­lo­pen Strait.

Some days just turn out bet­ter than you could have plan­ned them or even wis­hed for. Wha­les befo­re bre­ak­fast! Two Blue wha­les, and one of them was even showing the flu­ke several times! A polar bear during the morning, and later the migh­ty cliffs of Alkef­jel­let. Not too many Brunich’s guil­lemots left at this time of year, the­re are more Kit­ty­wa­kes than guil­lemots. Still a lot of life, and even without birds, it would be an impres­si­ve place, after all.

Later we got our chan­ce to get an impres­si­on of the polar desert land­s­cape of Nord­aus­t­land, and we finis­hed the day by cele­bra­ting the cros­sing of the 80th par­al­lel (the third out of four in this trip, to be pre­cise).

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

Nor­thwest Spits­ber­gen & Woodfjord – 31st August / 01st Sep­tem­ber 2021

31st August / 01st Sep­tem­ber 2021 − A lovely, even part­ly sun­ny morning in nor­thwest Spits­ber­gen. We land with ease at Smee­ren­burg, which is gre­at, not only becau­se of the remains of the famous wha­ling sta­ti­on, a group of wal­ru­ses and the grand sce­ne­ry, but also becau­se we have Ben with us, who was invol­ved in the exca­va­tions about 40 years ago! Later we got to see some of his ori­gi­nal pho­tos.

We made yet ano­t­her short stop in the nor­thwest and then grab­bed the oppor­tu­ni­ty to get fur­ther east and into Woodfjord, whe­re we had a rather grey 01 Sep­tem­ber.

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

Krossfjord – 30th August 2021

After a cou­p­le of days in Lon­gye­ar­by­en – too short, as always – we are now on the move again. This time, we have set sail on SV Anti­gua. Final­ly! It has been far too long sin­ce the last time. We are out now for 11 days with an inter­na­tio­nal group.

Actual­ly, I thought to slow down a bit with the blog but I can’t help but send a small hand­full of pic­tures after a day as beau­ti­ful as this first full one out here! From the first steps ashore in Signe­ham­na it was not far to our first polar bear, some­thing we didn’t real­ly expect in Krossfjord, but well, you can meet them any­whe­re and at any time, as simp­le as that.

Lil­lie­höök­breen is a dra­ma­ti­cal­ly sad view now in 2021. Sin­ce 1906, it has lost some­thing near 50 % of its ice volu­me! A drastic examp­le of the chan­ges that are now hap­pe­ning in the Arc­tic. Nevertheless, still a stun­nin­gly beau­ti­ful place. We have to ack­now­ledge one aspect while we may still enjoy the other.

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

100 years Sval­bard church

On Satur­day, 28 August, Sval­bard Church cele­bra­ted 100 years. The first church was built in a very short time in 1921 and it was sanc­ti­fied on 28 August 1921, but it was des­troy­ed during a Ger­man attack in 1943. Work to build a new church was star­ted in 1956, but it was not befo­re 1958 that the new buil­ding could be sanc­ti­fied. Con­struc­tion work is cur­r­ent­ly done to ensu­re a long and strong future life for today’s church.

100 years Svalbard church

The ser­vice to cele­bra­te 100 years of Sval­bard Church was held on the place whe­re the ori­gi­nal church was built in 1921.

Yesterday’s ser­vice that cele­bra­ted 100 years of Sval­bard Church was held in the loca­ti­on of the first, ori­gi­nal church from 1921 by priest Siv Lim­strand tog­e­ther with the pro­tes­tan­tic and the catho­lic bishops from Trom­sø. The parish inclu­des the who­le muni­ci­pa­li­ty of Sval­bard. The­re is no other church. Bar­ents­burg has a cha­pel.

Bellsund & Isfjord

Now we are back in Lon­gye­ar­by­en, many of our litt­le crowd are alrea­dy back home or just about to get the­re. Yes­ter­day at this time, this trip was alrea­dy histo­ry. Incredi­ble how quick­ly 18 inten­se days can pass!

This voya­ge was spe­cial in many way. Not only becau­se it was the first time that we got to sail again in Spits­ber­gen in almost 2 years. But it was real­ly – yes, real­ly! – a spe­cial expe­ri­ence. Many lan­dings, qui­te a few of them in unusu­al pla­ces such as Tokros­søya, have con­tri­bu­t­ed to that, as well as the ama­zing wild­life.

But the­re are also the peop­le. All souls on board have con­tri­bu­t­ed to make it work so well and to always keep the spi­rits high. I want to men­ti­on espe­cial­ly my col­league Hel­ga Rüt­ten and skip­per Hein­rich Eggen­fell­ner, the owner of Arc­ti­ca II, who has navi­ga­ted us so enjoya­b­ly and always safe­ly through this adven­ture.

To round it up, some impres­si­ons of the last cou­p­le of days. In Bellsund, we saw Spits­ber­gen from a more grey and win­dy side, just for a chan­ge. Still, beau­ti­ful, and we did inde­ed sail a cou­p­le of miles without the engi­ne 🙂

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

We wrap­ped it off in Isfjord. You have to have seen one of the Rus­si­an sett­le­ments such as Bar­ents­burg to have kind of a com­ple­te impres­si­on of Spits­ber­gen. And then we said fare­well and good­bye for this time to the arc­tic natu­re at Kapp Lai­la.

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

Bellsund – 23rd & 24th August 2021

Bellsund – 23rd & 24th August 2021 We had almost for­got­ten that it can actual­ly be win­dy in Spits­ber­gen. Fleur de Lys­ham­na offe­red enough shel­ter to go for a hike, but later the boots could dry and the sails were put into good use. A walk over a litt­le island roun­ded the day off.

The next one star­ted with a moun­tain hike, which, howe­ver, did not yield the views that it could have, due to the clouds that just didn’t want to lift. Nevertheless, it was a fine walk. And the polar bear that had deci­ded to have a nap at our lan­ding site took off and went away just in time. It even left some rub­ber boots untouched that we had par­ked the­re. Very friend­ly!

Horn­sund – 22nd August 2021

A lovely hike fol­lowing a ridge along a pen­in­su­la gave us stun­ning views of the who­le Horn­sund, later fol­lo­wed by a crui­se in Bur­ger­buk­ta with a lot of ice­bergs.

The fine wea­ther con­di­ti­ons made it pos­si­ble to make a rare lan­ding on Dun­øya­ne on the west coast.

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

South Cape – 21st August 2021

The south cape can alway be a nas­ty area. Well, it is not Cape Hoorn, but it is a com­ple­te­ly expo­sed, long pas­sa­ge in seas that can often be rough. We had been kee­ping an eye on the wea­ther report for days, and this paid off today as we had the cal­mest pas­sa­ge that you can pos­si­b­ly ima­gi­ne! We were able to take a short­cut through a pas­sa­ge bet­ween the shal­lows and islands that saved us many miles, and we were even able to make a lan­ding on Tokros­søya. Ama­zing!

We still arri­ved Horn­sund ear­ly enough for a litt­le evening lan­ding in Gås­ham­na.

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

Straum­s­land & Bar­entsøya – 20th August 2021

Straum­s­land has always been one of my favou­rite parts of Spits­ber­gen. We spent most of the day in this wide-open tun­dra land­s­cape with its many rocky hills, wet­lands and beau­ti­ful coast. The local wild­life also made a good con­tri­bu­ti­on to the over­all expe­ri­ence, inclu­ding three polar bears who were slee­ping some­whe­re hid­den bet­ween the hills, without taking much noti­ce of us.

Later we still found the time for a shor­ter walk on Bar­entsøya, and then it was time to set cour­se for the south cape.

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Hin­lo­pen (2) – 19th August 2021

And yet ano­t­her long, full day in Hin­lo­pen Strait. We star­ted the day with 4 (or 5?) polar bears who were having bre­ak­fast, sup­po­sed­ly alrea­dy for some time.

A good moun­tain hike in Lomfjord gave us ama­zing views and a good bit of exer­cise.

And a final excur­si­on on Nord­aus­t­land gave us more than 100 wal­rus who were pret­ty busy with them­sel­ves.

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

Hin­lo­pen (1) – 18th August 2021

Hin­lo­pen Strait, this magi­cal place … in good wea­ther, any­way, it can as well be pret­ty rough. But the place is friend­ly to us. Whe­re should I start, whe­re should I stop … you have to see it yourself. It is hard to wri­te without wri­ting a who­le book (I did that alrea­dy, just in case you didn’t know …), this is just a litt­le blog. The moon-like polar desert land­s­cape of Nord­aus­t­land, wha­les, a late evening gla­cier hike up on the ice cap of Aus­t­fon­na … and this was just one day! The­re is more to fol­low, stay tun­ed.

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

Lågøya – 17th August 2021

It is time to move on to Hin­lo­pen Strait. Heinrich’s expe­ri­ence in the­se waters and the very mano­eu­vra­ble Arc­ti­ca II enab­le us to take the pas­sa­ge through Lady Fran­klin­fjord and Fran­klin­sund, whe­re we take the oppor­tu­ni­ty for a lan­ding on Lågøya, inclu­ding a visit to the old trap­per hut in Moll­buk­ta (no 11 in „Sval­bardhyt­ter“) and a sigh­t­ing of the rare Sabine’s gull.

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Nord­aus­t­land – 16th August 2021

An excur­si­on to the dar­kest years in Spitsbergen’s histo­ry, the second world war. The famous Hau­de­gen wea­ther sta­ti­on on Nord­aus­t­land.

Later, a ful­ly unex­pec­ted excur­si­on to the hig­hest levels of arc­tic exci­te­ment and beau­ty: more than a dozen polar bears were fee­ding on a wha­le car­cass on a tiny island on the north side of Nord­aus­t­land. An ama­zing specta­cle. I don’t have words to descri­be that.

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

Nor­dens­kiöld­buk­ta – 16th August 2021

An evening some­whe­re in Nor­dens­kiöld­buk­ta, on the north side of Nord­aus­t­land. A late evening lan­ding to stock up on freshwa­ter (Arc­ti­ca II has got a water­ma­ker, but it doesn’t want to do its job cur­r­ent­ly. No pro­blem, we just find water some­whe­re in natu­re).
 

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Drift ice under the mid­ni­ght sun.

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Nord­aus­t­land

An excur­si­on to the dar­kest years in Spitsbergen’s histo­ry, the second world war. The famous Hau­de­gen wea­ther sta­ti­on on Nord­aus­t­land.

Haudegen

Later, a ful­ly unex­pec­ted excur­si­on to the hig­hest levels of arc­tic exci­te­ment and beau­ty: more than a dozen polar bears were fee­ding on a wha­le car­cass on a tiny island on the north side of Nord­aus­t­land. An ama­zing specta­cle. I don’t have words to descri­be that.

Nordaustland Polar bears
Nordaustland Polar bears
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News-Listing live generated at 2021/September/25 at 09:46:52 Uhr (GMT+1)
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