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Dunøyane: Store Dunøya

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The Dunøyane are a small group of islands near the west coast of Spitsbergen, north of Hornsund. The coast of the main island is mostly very exposed, but in this area, it is to some degree sheltered by the islands, providing some useful anchorages for smaller vessels. There is a well-known trapper’s hut in Hyttevika, just east of Dunøyane. And as the name of this little archipelago – Dunøyane means “The down islands” (small “feathers”) indicates – it used to be a place where trappers went in spring to collect down from nests of common eider ducks.

The waters around these islands are very shallow so you have navigate very carefully even with small boats such as Zodiacs. But there is not much traffic here anyway: The Dunøyane are protected as a bird reserve, which means that it is not allowed to go ashore from 15 May to 15 August and you have to keep a minimum distance of 300 metres from the nearest shore during this period. This makes sense, because there is a high density of breedings birds on these islands. The nests have provided fertilisation to the tundra during thousands of years. Hence, there is a thick carpet of mosses in many places, sometimes even accumulating to form layers of peat.

Pano 1 – Dunøyane: Store Dunøya

Here, we are on Store Dunøya (“The large down island”), which is the largest island in Dunøyane. But even Store Dunøyane is not much more than a kilometer across. At this place, we are standing next to a accumulation of stones which appears to be man-made. It may well be an old grave.


last modification: 2019-10-15 · copyright: Rolf Stange