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Sjuøyane: Phippsøya, Isflakbukta

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Sjuøya­ne – Phippsøya: Isflak­buk­ta


Pan­ora­ma Sjuøya­ne – Phippsøya

The Sjuøya­ne („Seven Islands“) are the nor­t­hern­most part of Sval­bard. Situa­ted on 80°40’ nor­t­hern lati­tu­de, they are just around 1040 km away from the North Pole. They have, accor­din­gly, many cha­rac­te­ristics of high arc­tic islands: bar­ren polar desert with few spe­ci­es of hig­her plants, most­ly Pur­ple saxif­ra­ge and Sval­bard pop­py. Vege­ta­ti­on, as far as the­re is any, is lar­ge­ly domi­na­ted by mos­ses and lichens. Wal­rus­ses and polar bears are com­mon.

Due to the nor­t­hern branch of the West-Spits­ber­gen cur­rent, they do have some sub-arc­tic cha­rac­te­ristics at the same time, such as a sur­pri­sing num­ber of puf­fins which are bree­ding on steep kliffs. You can often see them in flight near Sjuøya­ne. But the­re are also small colo­nies of the high-arc­tic Ivo­ry gull. A pret­ty uni­que mix­tu­re!

Phippsøya is the lar­gest island of the Sjuøya­ne. The lar­ge islands (Phippsøya, Mar­ten­søya, Par­ry­øya) are all quite simi­lar regar­ding their sce­n­ery: rocky hills with more or less steep slo­pes with bar­ren low­lands bet­ween them. The coast­li­ne has wide bays bet­ween steep rocky cliffs.

Merck­oll-hut Isflak­buk­ta (I)

The­re is a litt­le hut stan­ding in Isflak­buk­ta on Phippsøya. This is Svalbard’s nor­t­hern­most hut. It was built on behalf of the Nor­we­gi­an govern­ment in 1936 as an emer­gen­cy hut for sail­ors or anyo­ne else in need. The lea­der of the expe­di­ti­on which built this hut was mining inspec­tor (berg­mes­ter) Hans Ing­vald Kris­toff­er Merck­oll. The huts from 1936 are today known as Merck­oll-huts.

Merck­oll-hut Isflak­buk­ta (II)

This hut is just an emer­gen­cy shel­ter. It is accor­din­gly very small and it has never been used for a win­tering or any other pur­po­se. Neither has it ever been used by casta­ways, as far as known.

The­re were and still are 4 Merck­oll-huts. One (Heim­land) is stan­ding on nor­t­hern Barent­søya. Merck­oll-huts no. 3 and 4 are on Kong Karls Land.



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last modification: 2019-05-03 · copyright: Rolf Stange