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Liefdefjord: Andøyane

360° panorama images and general background

Andøya­ne (“The duck islands”) are a group of small islands in outer Lief­defjord, south of Reins­dyr­flya. They are low-lying, most­ly almost flat, and seen from a distance, they don’t appe­ar to be spec­ta­cu­lar. But if you get clo­se, then the mix­tu­re of litt­le beaches, cur­ved shore­li­nes, red rocks, flowers and lichens and many other litt­le sce­nic details unfold a charme that is hard to escape.

Andøya­ne Pan­ora­ma 1: Sørøst­re Andøya

The lar­gest island, Store Andøya, is a good two kilo­me­tres in dia­met­re, the second lar­gest one – Ves­le Andøya – less than half that size and the remai­ning ones are even smal­ler. This first pan­ora­ma is from the sou­the­as­tern island. It does not have an indi­vi­du­al name, let’s just call her Sørøst­re Andøya (“sou­the­as­tern duck island”) here. It is a good 700 metres long, but whe­re­ver you are, you are never more than a good 50 metres away from the shore.

Andøya­ne Pan­ora­ma 2: Søre Andøya

Also this island, “Søre (sou­thern) Andøya”, does not have a name on the map, and it is hard­ly more than 600 across. Nevertheless, a litt­le walk across the island can be very rewar­ding. As the name of the islands sug­gests, the­re are a lot of birds bree­ding here: next to the com­mon eider ducks which breed here in lar­ge num­bers, the­re are ple­nty of arc­tic terns, grey phalar­o­pes and pur­p­le sand­pi­pers, and if you look care­ful­ly, chan­ces to see a king eider are qui­te good, to men­ti­on just a few com­mon spe­ci­es for this area.

Andøya­ne Pan­ora­ma 3: Søre Andøya

So the­re is good rea­son to give the­se islands legal pro­tec­tion bey­ond the gene­ral rules of the Sval­bard­mil­jøl­ov (Sval­bard envi­ron­men­tal law): sin­ce 2020, they are a bird reser­ve, which means that it is not allo­wed to approach them to less than 300 metres during the bree­ding peri­od, legal­ly defi­ned as the time from 15 May to 15 August.

This does unfor­tu­n­a­te­ly not pro­tect the islands from the plastic lit­ter which the cur­r­ents bring. It is most­ly what is thrown over­board from fishing ves­sels. And we collect it on the beaches as much as we can. We – that’s both me per­so­nal­ly with col­leagues and pas­sen­gers and others in the arc­tic tou­rism indus­try – have alrea­dy done a num­ber of beach clean-ups on Andøya­ne, but I am afraid many more will be nee­ded until the pro­blem is sol­ved, if this ever hap­pens 🙁

Andøya­ne Pan­ora­ma 3: Søre Andøya

Land­s­cape-wise, Andøya­ne are very simi­lar to Reins­dyr­flya, the lar­ge plain to the north of Lief­defjord. The­re are some huge erra­tic boul­ders, small lakes and wet­land are­as and seri­es of old beach rid­ges and other geo­lo­gi­cal evi­dence for the post-gla­cial land uplift. The sand­stone belongs to the Devo­ni­an Old Red sand­stone and has hema­ti­te, hence the beau­ti­ful red­dish colour.

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last modification: 2020-08-29 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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