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Vibebukta: the last ice-free land next to Bråsvellbreen

Vibebukta and Bråsvellbreen, map

The tran­si­ti­on from Vibe­buk­ta to Brås­vell­breen on the south side of Nord­aus­t­land.

The­re is a small patch of land in the fur­thest east cor­ner of Vibe­buk­ta, boun­ded by the sea on one side and by the huge gla­cier of Brås­vell­breen, which is part of Aus­t­fon­na. This page is about this litt­le pie­ce of land. The­re is ano­ther one dedi­ca­ted to Vibe­buk­ta “pro­per”, the wide, ice-free land area to the north of Brås­vell­breen.

As so often, one pic­tu­re says more than a thousand words to descri­be the geo­gra­phy of this bizar­re place. Espe­ci­al­ly if it is a pic­tu­re like this, taken from a bird’s eye’s per­spec­ti­ve 🙂


The last bit of ice-free land in Vibe­buk­ta from a bird’s eye’s per­spec­ti­ve,
vie­w­ing towars the east (to the gla­cier).

The pie­ce of land in ques­ti­on is almost an island next to the ice cap of Aus­t­fon­na. It is just a few hundred met­res across and the last bit of ice-free land to the east – from here, the coun­try and coast­li­ne are com­ple­te­ly gla­cier-cover­ed!

This is illus­tra­ted by ano­ther aeri­al pho­to­graph:


The last bit of ice-free land in Vibe­buk­ta from an aeri­al per­spec­ti­ve, loo­king to the north.

This “island” is very bar­ren, it is main­ly melt­wa­ter sand and gra­vel; sedi­ment washed tog­e­ther by melt­wa­ter from the adja­cent gla­cier and its morai­nes. The only “inha­bi­tants” are polar bears that are migra­ting through the area quite regu­lar­ly.

Polar bear bones, Vibebukta

Polar bear bones.

On one occa­si­on we star­ted from here for a gla­cier hike up to the ice cap of Aus­t­fon­na. It was just a short hike, not at all to the cen­tral parts of the ice cap. But enough for an impres­si­ve expe­ri­ence (the­re are some pic­tures in the pho­to gal­lery below). It is defi­ni­te­ly an exci­ting fee­ling to stand on this huge ice cap even if it is clo­se to the rim. Wild stuff! Most peo­p­le who are lucky enough to see this magni­fi­cent part of the world have the posi­ti­on from a ship, loo­king towards the gla­cier. Which is, wit­hout any doubt, a gre­at expe­ri­ence. But the view down from the gla­cier to the sea is some­thing very spe­cial and cer­tain­ly quite dif­fe­rent from the “usu­al” per­spec­ti­ve, also wit­hout any doubt.


View over Brås­vell­breen.

Pan­ora­ma: the last ice-free land next to Brås­vell­breen

A 360 degree view of this wild, bar­ren land­scape.

But the sea ice is just as well part of Vibe­buk­ta. The­re is often drift ice the­re also in the sum­mer, and the ice is home to a ran­ge of arc­tic ani­mals. I enjoy­ed some of my most beau­tiful sightin­gs of polar bears and wal­ru­ses in ice-cover­ed waters in Vibe­buk­ta. Just one exam­p­le here – the­re are other ones in the pho­to gal­lery at the bot­tom of this page.

Polar bear, Vibebukta

Polar bear in Vibe­buk­ta.

Vibe­buk­ta-Brås­vell­breen: Pho­to gal­lery

Final­ly some impres­si­ons from this very last bit of ice-free land in Vibe­buk­ta and some of the other beau­ties that the place may have. This includes some older images. Tech­ni­cal­ly, the qua­li­ty of the pho­to of the bear that is feas­ting on a beard­ed seal does not live up to today’s stan­dards … I took the pho­to in 2005 with my first decent digi­tal came­ra in tho­se times (a Canon 300D). The memo­ry is part of what makes the pho­to pre­cious for me. No excu­ses are made for a pho­to like this being in the sel­ec­tion 🙂

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlar­ged ver­si­on of the spe­ci­fic pho­to.



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last modification: 2023-10-01 · copyright: Rolf Stange