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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.

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