The Arctic part 1, Svalbard

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The Arctic part 1, Svalbard

Postby Tony » Thu 03 Oct, 2013 7:40 pm

After a 5 hour flight from Oslo via Tromso we landed at Longyearbyen Airport, on the west coast of Spitsbergen, Svalbard. We still had a couple of hours before we could board our Arctic cruise boat the MS Expedition, so we were dropped off in the town of Longyearbyen, after a walk around the town we visited the Longyearbyen museum, it was then time to board the boat, after doing the life boat drills the ship departed Longyearbyen and headed north up the west coast of Spitsbergen.

In the morning the boat dropped anchor in a sheltered bay in the north west of Spitsbergen that was surrounded by mountains and glaciers, the guides were preparing for the passengers to land at a nearby very early 17th century wailing station Smeerenburg, that was in use 1614-1655, as the old station was so old the only remains of the blubber cookeries could be seen. The landings were not as simple as putting the passengers in the Zodiacs and running them to shore, the Spitsbergen is inhabited by Polar Bears which at the end of summer they are very hungry and are more dangerous than ever, before we could go ashore the guides armed with rifles would land and scout the surrounding land for signs of Polar Bears while some guides would patrol the water in Zodiacs as Polar Bears are good swimmers.

That evening we then cruised to Fuglefjorden / Sallyhamn where did a zodiac cruise of the Fjord to a glacier face and went in search of the elusive Polar Bears, the weather closed in some snow fell and the wind came up, fortunately we came prepared with some good warm wet weather gear but lacked a bit in the glove department. Unfortunately we did not see any Polar Bears only a few sea birds. This was the furthest north we travelled at 79 degrees 47.11 minutes.

That evening we spent moored in the Fuglefjorden before cruising to Gravneset where we landed at another old whaling station that was used by Dutch, English and Basque expeditions between 1612-1650, there is also a large burial ground from that era, again only some old blubber oven remains are all that is left. It was here we saw our one and only Walrus.

That evening we left Svalbard and headed for Greenland which I will post about in part 2.

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MS Expedition

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Some typical Svalbard coast

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The remains of a blubber oven at Smeerenburg

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A glacier on Spitsbergen

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Our one and only Walrus
There is no such thing as bad weather.....only bad clothing. Norwegian Proverb
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Tony
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Re: The Arctic part 1, Svalbard

Postby Tony » Thu 03 Oct, 2013 7:52 pm

Some more photos from Svalbard.
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An Arctic Tern

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The sunset on the way to Greenland
There is no such thing as bad weather.....only bad clothing. Norwegian Proverb
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Re: The Arctic part 1, Svalbard

Postby michael_p » Thu 03 Oct, 2013 8:52 pm

So jealous. Looks like a great trip Tony.
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