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Karl XII-øya

360° Panorama

The end of the world and bey­ond! It does not get much remo­ter, cer­tain­ly not in Sval­bard. Karl XII-øya is a small, nar­row, slight­ly lon­gish island on the nor­the­as­tern rim of Sval­bard, well bey­ond 80 degrees north. Most of the island is made up of an elon­ga­ted, low-lying rocky hill, which is part­ly cove­r­ed with gra­vel. Only on the nort­hern end, the­re is the hill Dra­ban­ten. With a height of 105 metres you can’t real­ly call it a moun­tain but it is the hig­hest thing any­whe­re here. Its steep slo­pes are home to a sea­b­ird colo­ny, most­ly kit­ti­wa­kes. Of cour­se it is qui­te com­mon for polar bears to hang out under the bird cliff, wai­t­ing for the occa­sio­nal egg or chick to fall out of the nest, at least as long the island is not sur­roun­ded by ice. So when the area is ice-free, it is qui­te com­mon to find a polar bear on the island. And if the­re is ice around it, you don’t get ashore any­way. Lan­dings on Karl XII-øya are, in other words, a rare oppor­tu­ni­ty!

Karl XII-øya has some­ti­mes been descri­bed as one island in histo­ry and on other occa­si­ons as two islands sepa­ra­ted from each other by a nar­row, shal­low chan­nel. When I pho­to­gra­phed this pan­ora­ma, in August 2016, it was clear­ly two sepa­ra­te islands – the chan­nel was defi­ni­te­ly too deep to be cros­sed with rub­ber boots, and then it qua­li­fies as two islands, if you ask me 🙂

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last modification: 2019-05-12 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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