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Straumsland and Heleysund

360°-Panoramas

Heley­sund is a sound that sepa­ra­tes Bar­entsøya at her nort­hern­most end from the eas­tern part of Spits­ber­gen. Plea­se refer to the info page about Heley­sund and Straum­s­land for more geo­gra­phi­cal infor­ma­ti­on and more pho­tos.

Here we have got some pan­ora­ma images to illus­tra­te the beau­ty of Straum­s­land, on the north side of Heley­sund.

Straum­s­land: Tun­dra, wet­lands and hills

We start our hike with a cros­sing of Straum­s­land. The inland con­sists lar­ge­ly of wide, shal­low depres­si­ons. The­se are most­ly fil­led with wet­lands that are not that easy to cross. It is important to find a pro­per place for a cros­sing whe­re you can cross without much dif­fi­cul­ty and without dama­ging a lot of vege­ta­ti­on. Wet tun­dra is very vul­nerable!

Other than that, the­re are some wide tun­dra are­as in Straum­s­land. The­re are Spits­ber­gen rein­de­er and arc­tic foxes in the­se are­as, and occa­sio­nal­ly polar bears. The­re are many birds, like dif­fe­rent geese and ducks and smal­ler tun­dra birds like the snow bun­ting. I have also seen the pret­ty rare Sabine’s gull here and even Who­oper swans, which occur only as qui­te rare vagrants in Spits­ber­gen!

Next to the wet­lands, the­re are low hills of doleri­te, a rock simi­lar to basalt. This is the kind of rock that makes up the bed­rock in the who­le area of Straum­s­land and Heley­sund, inclu­ding the nort­hern tip of Bar­entsøya. On the­se hills, the sur­face is dry and the vege­ta­ti­on is com­pa­ra­tively poor. Lichens are more pro­mi­nent here.

Straum­s­land: New­ton­vi­ka

On the east side of Straum­s­land, the­re is the litt­le bay of New­ton­vi­ka. Unfor­tu­n­a­te­ly, it is very shal­low, only the smal­lest boats could pos­si­b­ly anchor here.

Straum­s­land: Heley­sund

The most sce­nic part of Straum­s­land is argu­ab­ly the south coast, that is forming a steep cliff towards Heley­sund. From the top of the cliff, we have a view over all the neigh­bou­ring waters, from Gine­v­ra­bot­nen, as the nor­the­as­tern part of Storfjord is cal­led, and to Bar­entsøya in the south (under the sun, it is mid-day) with her wide pla­teau-shaped hills and rol­ling tun­dra are­as. To the north (left in the pic­tu­re) of Bar­entsøya, the­re are Heley­sund and Orm­ho­let, sepa­ra­ted by Küken­t­haløya and some smal­ler islands.

The per­spec­ti­ve on the land­s­cape is chan­ging while we are fol­lowing the top of the cliff for a while.

Again and again we find dif­fe­rent, but always stun­ning lar­ge colum­ns of doleri­te rocks, which give the sce­ne­ry a bit of a wild west cha­rac­ter. Black guil­lemots are bree­ding in some pla­ces on the cliffs, and Glau­cous gulls have their nests on top of some of the colum­ns.

It is pure sce­nic plea­su­re to hike in this land­s­cape for hours on a sun­ny days like this. Depen­ding on the tides, the cur­rent can be very strong in Heley­sund, and it can be ama­zing to watch that for a while, espe­cial­ly when the­re are some pie­ces of gla­cier ice drif­ting with the cur­rent.

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last modification: 2019-05-25 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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