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Kiepertøya

Kie­per­tøya is a small island in sou­thern Hin­lo­pen Strait. It is made up of three pen­in­su­las, which are con­nec­ted by low-lying land brid­ges; in some pla­ces, the shores on both sides are no more than 100 m away from each other or even less!

Geo­lo­gi­cal­ly, Kie­per­tøya con­sists of doleri­te, a mag­ma­tic kind of rock that resem­bles basalt. Wea­the­ring is attacking doleri­te only slow­ly and the result are coar­se blocks. As a con­se­quence, the island is very rocky and wal­king is not exact­ly easy.

All three of the abo­ve-men­tio­ned pen­in­su­las have low-lying rocky hills, the grea­test heights not excee­ding 34 metres. Local­ly, ther are small, steep rock cliffs. Altog­e­ther, Kie­per­tøya makes a very bar­ren, deso­la­te impres­si­on.

A sad bit of histo­ry adds to the gloo­my atmo­s­phe­re. It was on 31 August 1995 that the seaman Hel­mer Kris­ten­sen was kil­led on Kie­per­tøya by a polar bear. Kris­ten­sen was one of several crew mem­bers of a small, ice-streng­t­he­ned expe­di­ti­on ship car­ry­ing pas­sen­gers who went ashore for a litt­le walk. The group was atta­cked by a very aggres­si­ve polar bear. The only wea­pon the group had was a litt­le pis­tol, far from strong enough to stop a furious ani­mal of that size even though several bul­lets hit the bear’s head. Kris­ten­sen was kil­led and ano­t­her mean inju­red. The polar bear was later shot by the Sys­sel­man­nen (poli­ce).

A group of tou­rists from the same ship was also ashore on Kie­per­tøya at the same time. The gui­des of the tou­rist group were, in con­trast to the crew, ade­qua­te­ly armed.

Kiepertøya, Memorial for Helmer Kristensen

Memo­ri­al for Hel­mer Kris­ten­sen, who was kil­led by a polar bear here on Kie­per­tøya
on 31 August 1995.

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last modification: 2019-03-16 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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