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Ros­søya

360 degree panorama of Svalbard's northernmost island

The Sjuøya­ne (“Seven Islands”) are the nort­hern most out­liers of Sval­bard, and the litt­le island of Ros­søya is the very nort­hern­most one. The­re is no land fur­ther north in this part of the Arc­tic, just water.

Ros­søya – Pano 1

Ros­søya lies without any shel­ter on the edge of the Arc­tic Oce­an. It is actual­ly just a sker­ry, just a lar­ge, steep rock. Its shape loo­ks like the back of a turt­le from the distance. Nobo­dy would pay any atten­ti­on to Ros­søya if it was not the nort­hern­most island. It has to be said, though, that the­re are islands and land fur­ther north in other parts of the Arc­tic, such as Frans Josef Land (Rus­sia) and Green­land. The lat­ter goes up to almost 84 degrees north. Here on Ros­søya, we are at 80°49.7’N/20°20.8’E.

Ros­søya – Pano 2

Ros­søya does not make it easy for visi­tors. The sea has to be flatcalm, other­wi­se one should stay away from this steep, rocky and com­ple­te­ly expo­sed coast. The­re might be ice, fog or polar bears, and none of the­se fac­tors is good for lan­dings, let alo­ne a com­bi­na­ti­on of several ones. And once you have mana­ged to put your feet on solid ground (good old crystal­li­ne base­ment rock), the­re is a bit of a climb wai­t­ing in case you want to get up to the top, some­thing that will not be ever­y­bo­dies cup of tea.

Ros­søya – Pano 3

The­re were a few ice­floes around and a litt­le bit of fog, just enough to add to the atmo­s­phe­re as we took the rare oppor­tu­ni­ty to climb up to the top of Ros­søya. To the south, just under the sun, we can vague­ly see Ves­le Tav­leøya, Rossøya’s sou­thern neigh­bour, which is a bit lar­ger and stee­per. The­re are even puf­fins bree­ding on the cliffs the­re, almost on 81 degrees north!

The sun is pain­ting a halo into the fog banks to the north.

Rossøya, Vesle Tavleøya

For ori­en­ta­ti­on, an aeri­al pho­to­graph from by book Nor­we­gens ark­ti­scher Nor­den (2): Aeri­al Arc­tic. Ros­søya in the front, then Ves­le Tav­leøya. The rest of the Sjuøya­ne in the back­ground, Nord­aus­t­land in the far distance. More pho­tos like that in the book 😉

Up the­re it was – rocky. Who would have expec­ted anything else?

Ros­søya – Pano 4

The­re are some lichens and Svalbard’s nort­hern­most bree­ding bird is very likely the Skua that has a nest on top of Ros­søya. The­re are three solid cairns, pro­bab­ly built by Swe­dish 19th cen­tu­ry explo­rers and sci­en­tists such as the famous Adolf Erik Nor­dens­kiöld (yes, the one with the nor­the­ast pas­sa­ge) and the Rus­si­an-Swe­dish Arc de Meri­di­an expe­di­ti­on that did sple­ndid work in Spits­ber­gen bet­ween 1899 and 1902.

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last modification: 2020-01-17 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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