Burgerbukta Fjord (off Hornsund Fjord), Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard

Burgerbukta Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #1 – a panorama of our ship in the Burgerbukta Fjord

Burgerbukta Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #1 – a panorama of our ship in the Burgerbukta Fjord

 

On our last afternoon sailing down the coast of Spitsbergen Island of Svalbard, our ship repositioned from our morning position at the point on the Hornsund Fjord where it meets the Burgerbukta Fjord – Gnålodden – to an “anchorage” near the far end of the Burgerbukta Fjord (where the fjord actually splits into two bays, Vestre Burgerbukta and Austre Burgerbukta, with tidewater glaciers pouring down the mountainsides into each bay).  The best way to explore the area was in hour-plus-long Zodiac boat tours, providing us an opportunity to get up fairly close to the tidewater glacier faces and to sail through the icebergs and ice floes which proved to be very photogenic.  We were very sad at the end of the cruising to realize that this would be our last encounter with the fjords, glaciers and icebergs, as that evening we began the long sail to the south to reach the northern tip of Norway and the city of Tromso, from which we had embarked on this remarkable journey in the Arctic.

 

Burgerbukta Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #2

Burgerbukta Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #2

 

Burgerbukta Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #3

Burgerbukta Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #3

 

Burgerbukta Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #4

Burgerbukta Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #4

 

Burgerbukta Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #5

Burgerbukta Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #5

 

Burgerbukta Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #6

Burgerbukta Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #6

 

Burgerbukta Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #7 – the top, white edge of the glacier looks like a meringue

Burgerbukta Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #7 – the top, white edge of the glacier looks like a meringue

 

Burgerbukta Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #8

Burgerbukta Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #8

Burgerbukta Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #9

Burgerbukta Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #9

 

Burgerbukta Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #10 – a double hanging glacier; note that as the front edge of each glacier is pushed forward and melts, the falling ice can

Burgerbukta Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #10 – a double hanging glacier; note that as the front edge of each glacier is pushed forward and melts, the falling ice can create dangerous situations for any boats too close to the cliff edge!

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2018 by Richard C. Edwards.  All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Gnålodden, Hornsund Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard

Gnålodden, Hornsund Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #1 – a panorama of the storm clouds over Burgerbutka Fjord and our ship “anchored”

Gnålodden, Hornsund Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #1 – a panorama of the storm clouds over Burgerbutka Fjord and our ship “anchored” (stationary, as the water is too deep to drop an anchor) where the Hornsund Fjord becomes the Burgerbutka Fjord

 

On our last day of the Svalbard expedition, we visited the Hornsund Fjord on Spitsbergen Island which some call “Spitsbergen in a nutshell” because it has wild scenery with impressive mountains and glaciers and bays filled with glacial ice.  We made a Zodiac landing at historic Gnålodden at 8 a.m. when the mountains were still partially covered by fog, with the low summer sun trying to break through in places – yielding some stunning vistas from the beach and further uphill.  The tall, narrow rocky cliff at Gnålodden reminded us of the similar imposing cliff at Alkhornet at the entrance to Isfjorden that we visited the prior week [see our blog post “Alkhornet, Isfjorden, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard”].  The large seabird colony on the cliff face high above the beach provides fertilization for the rich moss beds and tundra at Gnålodden.

At the base of the cliff is a small trappers’ hut from the early 20th century.  It was made famous by having been used for overwintering by some of Norway’s greatest trappers: Henry Rudi (“King of the Polar Bear) in residence 1925-1926 and Wanny Woldstad, author of “The First Woman Trapper on Svalbard” in residence 1932-1933 and with her two sons from Tromso (who grew up to also become famous trappers) in 1934–1935 and Woldstad with other trappers in 1935-1936 and 1936-1937.

We took a long walk on shore and found many great photo opportunities as we walked and reminisced what a terrific expedition we were wrapping up in the Arctic.

 

Gnålodden, Hornsund Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #2 -- the tall, narrow rocky cliff at Gnålodden reminded us of the similar imposing cliff at Alkhornet at the entr

Gnålodden, Hornsund Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #2 — the tall, narrow rocky cliff at Gnålodden reminded us of the similar imposing cliff at Alkhornet at the entrance to Isfjorden

 

Gnålodden, Hornsund Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #3 – this was the most fertile stretch of tundra that we encountered on Svalbard, with thousands of flowers on the

Gnålodden, Hornsund Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #3 – this was the most fertile stretch of tundra that we encountered on Svalbard, with thousands of flowers on the hillside

 

Gnålodden, Hornsund Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #4

Gnålodden, Hornsund Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #4

 

Gnålodden, Hornsund Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #5

Gnålodden, Hornsund Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #5

 

Gnålodden, Hornsund Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #6

Gnålodden, Hornsund Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #6

 

Gnålodden, Hornsund Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #7 – this small deposit of soil on a shore rock gave life to a wide variety of plants

Gnålodden, Hornsund Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #7 – this small deposit of soil on a shore rock gave life to a wide variety of plants

 

Gnålodden, Hornsund Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #8 – tiny mushrooms were a rarity in the tundra

Gnålodden, Hornsund Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #8 – tiny mushrooms were a rarity in the tundra

 

Gnålodden, Hornsund Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #9

Gnålodden, Hornsund Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #9

 

Gnålodden, Hornsund Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #10 – the historic trappers’ hut (for overwintering) that was made famous by having been used by some of Norway’s greatest trappers: Henry Rudi (“King of the Polar Bear) in residence 1925-1926 and Wanny Woldstad, author of “The First Woman Trapper on Svalbard” in residence 1932-1933 and with her two sons from Tromso (who grew up to also become famous trappers) in 1934-1935 and Woldstad with other trappers in 1935-1936 and 1936-1937

 

Gnålodden, Hornsund Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #11

Gnålodden, Hornsund Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #11

 

Gnålodden, Hornsund Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #12

Gnålodden, Hornsund Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #12

 

Gnålodden, Hornsund Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #13

Gnålodden, Hornsund Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #13

 

Gnålodden, Hornsund Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #14

Gnålodden, Hornsund Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #14

 

Gnålodden, Hornsund Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #15

Gnålodden, Hornsund Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #15

 

Gnålodden, Hornsund Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #16 -- our ship “anchored” where the Hornsund Fjord becomes the Burgerbutka Fjord

Gnålodden, Hornsund Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #16 — our ship “anchored” where the Hornsund Fjord becomes the Burgerbutka Fjord

 

Gnålodden, Hornsund Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #17 – a panorama of Burgerbutka Fjord from the top deck of our ship after the storm clouds had lifted somewhat and

Gnålodden, Hornsund Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #17 – a panorama of Burgerbutka Fjord from the top deck of our ship after the storm clouds had lifted somewhat and the sun came out shorty after we returned by Zodiac from our coastal hike at Gnålodden

 

Gnålodden, Hornsund Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #18

Gnålodden, Hornsund Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #18

 

Gnålodden, Hornsund Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #19

Gnålodden, Hornsund Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #19

 

Gnålodden, Hornsund Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #20

Gnålodden, Hornsund Fjord, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #20

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2018 by Richard C. Edwards.  All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Pyramiden, Grønfjorden, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard

The welcoming “pyramid” (in English and Russian) greeting visitors to the abandoned “ghost town” of Pyramiden, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, that was home to up to 1,500 people i

The welcoming “pyramid” (in Russian and English) greeting visitors to the abandoned “ghost town” of Pyramiden, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, that was home to up to 1,500 people in the Russian coal mining town in 1989 before it was abruptly abandoned in 1998

 

One of the world’s most fascinating ghost towns, according to National Geographic. At first glance it looks like an idyllic settlement with urban architecture consisting of apartment buildings made of brick or wood. But there is one thing missing: inhabitants.

“Pyramiden was founded by Sweden in 1910 and sold to the Soviet Union in 1927. In the 1980s, the mining community had a population of more than 1,000. It is named after the pyramid-shaped mountain of the same name nearby. Pyramiden is now mostly visited by seagulls, polar foxes and, not infrequently, polar bears. Tourists visit too – by boat in the summertime and by snowmobile in the wintertime – to experience this surreal place

 

A railroad “car” with the last load of coal mined in Pyramiden, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, on 31 March 1998

A coal mine railroad “car” with the last load of coal mined in Pyramiden, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, on 31 March 1998

 

The pier at the harbor at Pyramiden, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, with a crane that helped load the locally mined coal onto transport boats for the journey back to the motherland (Russi

The pier at the harbor of Pyramiden, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, with a crane that helped load the locally mined coal onto transport boats for the journey back to the motherland (Russia)

 

“Visiting Pyramiden is like stepping into a time machine. The architecture and buildings are so well preserved that many visitors feel like they are ‘Back in the USSR’. When the mine was closed and the settlement was abandoned, it seems like everyone left in a hurry. Cups were left on the tables, newspaper clippings on the walls and skis in the corridors. The beautiful indoor swimming pool and painstakingly made cultural centre both feature Soviet era architecture and bear witness to the settlement’s golden days. Pyramiden was a good place to live with a family-friendly community and facilities such as a petrol station, greenhouse and cowshed, school, kindergarten, hotel and restaurant. Most of the buildings remain just as they were left. At the top of the main street, a statue of Lenin watches over the abandoned town and the beautiful Nordenkiöld glacier. The statue is surrounded by grass imported from Siberia.

 

An abandoned factory building adjacent to the harbor at Pyramiden, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard

An abandoned factory building adjacent to the harbor of Pyramiden, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard

 

Site of the future Trump International Hotel in Pyramiden, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard

The structure for the future Trump International Hotel in Pyramiden, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard

 

Shutes running down the mountainside from the mine (at 500 meters (1,640 -feet) elevation) to protect the buckets of coal that were gravity fed to the processing plant in Pyramiden, Spit

Shutes running down the mountainside from the mine (at 500 meters (1,640 feet) elevation) to protect the buckets of coal that were gravity fed to the processing plant in Pyramiden, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard

 

“The ghost town at the foot of the Billefjord is now home to eight people, who work at the hotel and as tourist guides in the summer. During the dark winter months, the population is halved to four who have the task of maintaining the buildings and checking the power generators. It’s possible to stay at the very authentic Pyramiden Hotel, which has a fascinating history in the walls, delicious borsch on the table, locally brewed beer from Barentsburg on tap and smiling people to welcome you. Remember to bring cash (NOK), as they don’t take credit card payments.

 

This abandoned building housed the children_s school in Pyramiden, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard; at the peak population of the coal mining town, there were approximately 300 children o

This abandoned building housed the children’s school in Pyramiden, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard; at the peak population of the coal mining town, there were approximately 300 children out of the 1,500 personnel from Russia

 

One of several Svalbard reindeer (smaller than their cousins in Norway) we saw freely wandering around Pyramiden, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard

One of several Svalbard reindeer (smaller than their cousins in Norway) we saw freely wandering around Pyramiden, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard

 

The “Champs Élyseées” – so-called by the locals -- is the parade ground around the town_s central buildings with a statue of Lenin at the high end of the parade ground, in fr

The “Champs Élyseées” – so-called by the locals — is the parade ground around the town’s central buildings with a statue of Lenin at the high end of the parade ground, in front of the town’s cultural center, Pyramiden, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard

 

A statue of Lenin and Russian insignia in front of the town_s cultural center, Pyramiden, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard; [Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, better known by the alias Lenin, is re

A statue of Lenin along with Russian insignia in front of the town’s cultural center, Pyramiden, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard; [Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, better known by the alias Lenin, is revered in Russia as the founder of the Russian Communist Party, leader of the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, and first head of the Soviet state]

Still hanging on the pegboard on the mezzanine above the lobby of the town_s cultural center is this child_s drawing of 2 children in Pyramiden and the ghost of a comrade child, Pyra

Still hanging on the pegboard on the mezzanine above the lobby of the town’s cultural center is this child’s drawing of 2 children in Pyramiden and the ghost of a child comrade, Pyramiden, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard

 

“The abandoned mining settlement is ‘one of 10 ghost towns in the world you need to visit’, according to National Geographic.” — https://en.visitsvalbard.com/visitor-information/destinations/pyramiden

 

The cantina – where the community dined for free, 24 x 7 – has been partially restored and contains evidence that the town_s inhabitants left suddenly in 1998, Pyramiden, Spitsberg

The cantina – where the community dined for free, 24 x 7 – has been partially restored and contains evidence that when the town’s inhabitants left suddenly in 1998 that they expected a group of coal miners and some families would return and repopulate the town, Pyramiden, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard

 

The unlit right-side staircase to the upper floor of the cantina where the workers and family dined – part of a symmetrical, dual stairway – shows the elaborate workmanship and decor

The unlit right-side staircase to the upper floor of the cantina where the workers and family dined – part of a symmetrical, dual stairway – shows the elaborate workmanship and decoration that the coal mining company invested in to make Pyramiden, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, a Russian “worker’s paradise”

 

At the top of the dual staircase in the cantina is an elaborate, hand-made mosaic panorama of the Pyramiden site with the mountains and town overlooked by a female polar bear and her cub

At the top of the dual staircase in the cantina is an elaborate, hand-made mosaic panorama of the Pyramiden site with the mountains and town overlooked by a female polar bear and her cub and a husky dog, Pyramiden, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard

 

The abandoned kitchen of the cantina gives evidence that the departing workers expected the kitchen to be back in use a year or two after the 1998 evacuation of Pyramiden, Spitsbergen Is

The abandoned kitchen of the cantina gives evidence that the departing workers expected the kitchen to be back in use a year or two after the 1998 evacuation of Pyramiden, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard

 

At the end of our extensive tour (by a young Russian woman who grew up near Volgagrad), we stopped at the restored Pyramiden Hotel, Bar & Restaurant for tea or Pyramiden vodka, Pyramiden

At the end of our extensive tour (by a young Russian woman who grew up near Volgograd — formerly Stalingrad, a city in southwest Russia, on the western bank of the Volga River), we stopped at the restored Pyramiden Hotel, Bar & Restaurant for Russian pastries and tea or Pyramiden vodka (produced in Russia, as there are no distilleries in Svalbard – although there is a brewery in Longyearbyen), Pyramiden, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard; on the sign the large lower word is “Pyramiden” in Russian

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2018 by Richard C. Edwards.  All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard

The harbor and pier of Longyearbyen, Svalbard, a small coal-mining town in the center of Spitsbergen Island – on the Adventfjorden (Advent Fjord), off Isfjorden -- located at latitude

The harbor and pier of Longyearbyen, Svalbard, a small coal-mining town in the center of Spitsbergen Island – on the Adventfjorden (Advent Fjord), off Isfjorden — located at latitude 78˚ North, just 1,316 km (818 miles) from the North Pole

 

Longyearbyen is a small coal-mining town in the center of Spitsbergen Island – on the Adventfjorden (Advent Fjord), off Isfjorden — in Norway’s Svalbard archipelago, located at latitude 78˚ North – just 1,316 km (818 miles) from the North Pole.  Svalbardi literally means “the land with the cold shores”.  Svalbarði fundinn was mentioned in traditional Icelandic accounts dated to 1194.

“Longyearbyen, the administrative centre of Svalbard, is a tiny Norwegian metropolis with 2,100 residents from almost 50 different countries.  The small Arctic town is inhabited by nature enthusiasts who live in close unity under tough climatic conditions with the High Arctic wilderness right on their doorstep.  Longyearbyen is the gateway to the nature-based experiences and the starting point for most adventures in Svalbard.  This Arctic wilderness starts virtually in the town centre and never ends!  Maybe it seems a bit over the top to call our little town a metropolis.  However, with its vitality, international vibe and warm people in wonderful surroundings, that’s exactly how we perceive it.  Longyearbyen’s central location in a geopolitically interesting Arctic also contributes to it being perceived as larger than it actually is.  Furthermore, the range of services on offer to residents and guests is surprisingly extensive with a wide range of shops, restaurants and bars, along with varied cultural offerings.  In Longyearbyen, the North Pole is right around the corner from the pub.  Perhaps some find it strange that a settlement so incredibly far north has its own brewery, chocolaterie and greenhouse that supplies us with fresh herbs and vegetables, but that’s just the way it is!…

 

A church on the hill behind some apartment buildings in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard

A church on the hill behind some apartment buildings in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard

 

We had local cuisine (fish soup and cod) at Restaurant Kroa in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard; at dinner, another specialty is their local moose burger

We had local cuisine (fish soup and cod) at Restaurant Kroa in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard; at dinner, another specialty is their local moose burger

 

A graffiti polar bear decorates the outside wall of one of the shops in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard

A graffiti polar bear decorates the outside wall of one of the shops in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard

 

“The residents of Longyearbyen feel that we live completely normal everyday lives.  However, those looking from the outside often perceive our everyday life as somewhat extraordinary.  The polar bears are never far away, so it’s a necessity to carry weapons when we venture outside the settlement.  The climate is harsh and unpredictable.  Some people find the contrasts and changes between light and dark challenging, while others think it’s wonderful.  There are several other things about Longyearbyen that may seem “strange” to visitors.  There are separate “roads” in the town centre for snowmobiles, we only have one grocery store and we are used to living next door to reindeer.  We still take off our shoes when we enter hotels and restaurants, a tradition that has arisen from the problem with coal dust in the old days.  All the mining infrastructure is protected and remains as surreal monuments in and around the settlement.  The streets in Longyearbyen have numbers instead of names.  Longyearbyen has a university centre with 300 students, all of whom must learn to use firearms.  Seeing whales swimming in the fjord from our lounge window is not an uncommon occurrence.  We gladly have a beer with our colleagues outside after work while wearing mittens.  During the winter darkness, we wear a headlamp on our way to work, and it’s not uncommon to see the Northern Lights dancing in the sky when we head outside to meet a friend for lunch.  In the summertime, you often go out with the Midnight Sun shining brightly on your face.” — https://en.visitsvalbard.com/visitor-information/destinations/longyearbyen

 

This stuffed polar bear is over the inner lobby entrance to the one and only grocery store in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard

This stuffed polar bear is over the inner lobby entrance to the one and only grocery store in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard

 

Brighly painted homes on the hill just above the central business district in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard; presently there is a severe housing shortage in town (rentals an

Brighly painted homes on the hill just above the central business district in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard; presently there is a severe housing shortage in town (rentals and homes for purchase), so that many friends are sharing living quarters in cramped conditions

 

Fruene Kaffe, in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard; we enjoyed a cappuccino with the bun, along with some homemade chocolates

A Norwegian bakery specialty, kanelsnurrer (cinnamon buns), at a bakery, Fruene Kaffe, in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard; we enjoyed a cappuccino with the bun, along with some homemade chocolates – from the northernmost chocolaterie in the world

 

The Royal Yacht, SS Norge, with the King of Norway aboard, was visiting Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, at the same time we were docked at the town pier

The Royal Yacht, SS Norge, with the King of Norway aboard, was visiting Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, at the same time we were docked at the town pier

 

These wooden structures supported cables strung from the coal mine to the coal processing plant; buckets containing coal were lowered by gravity from the mine to the now closed plant; Lo

These wooden structures supported cables strung from the coal mine to the coal processing plant; buckets containing coal were lowered by gravity from the mine to the now closed plant; Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard; only one of the original seven coal mines in Longyearbyen is still operational and it mainly supplies the local electrical generating station

 

These local sorrel plants grow in the tundra – the leaves are miniature compared with sorrel plants in more temperate climates, Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard; note that so

These local sorrel plants grow in the tundra – the leaves are miniature compared with sorrel plants in more temperate climates, Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard; note that sorrel contains some vitamin C which whalers and trappers in the 1700s and 1800s discovered and ate for the prevention of scurvy

 

These are the biggest flowers and tallest plant that we saw in all of Svalbard; Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen Island

These are the biggest flowers and tallest plant that we saw in all of Svalbard; Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen Island

 

A popular tourist attraction is visiting the husky dog kennels and then going for a sled ride on the outskirts of Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard; we saw these sleds as we hik

A popular tourist attraction is visiting the husky dog kennels and then going for a sled ride on the outskirts of Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard; we saw these dog sleds as we hiked down from the mountain with a deserted coal mine that was located on the edge of town

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2018 by Richard C. Edwards.  All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Smeerenburgfjorden, Amsterdamøya, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard

Smeerenburgfjorden, Amsterdamøya, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #1

Smeerenburgfjorden, Amsterdamøya, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #1

 

In the afternoon we sailed slightly north from Raudfjord (Red Fjord) to round the northwest corner of Spitsbergen Island to anchor just off Amsterdamøya Island, the most northwestern small island dotting the west coast of Spitsbergen, in Smeerenburgfjorden (Smeerenburg Fjord).  Amsterdamøya Island was used by whalers in the 17th century for their shore-based whaling activities – beaching the (already killed) whales, cutting their blubber up into blocks (euphemistically called “bibles”), and then boiling the “bibles” in large cauldrons over fires to extract the whale oil.  The oil was shipped in casks to England and the European continent where it preceded electricity as the main source of lighting in homes and cities.  On the island are the remains of two 17th century blubber cauldrons bearing witness to the dangerous business of the English and Dutch whalers who ventured this far north.  There’s also a protected cemetery with the remains of over 100 whalers, many of whom died of scurvy.  It was interesting, but sad, to learn that subsequent visitors to other sites on Spitsbergen discovered that the local miniature sorrel leaves (the plants grow in the tundra) contain some vitamin C, so that eating a lot of the local sorrel could prevent scurvy.

 

Smeerenburgfjorden, Amsterdamøya, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #2 – a thin layer of tundra near the beach with a mountain behind it dominating the fjord in between

Smeerenburgfjorden, Amsterdamøya, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #2 – a thin layer of tundra near the beach with a mountain behind it dominating the fjord in between

 

Smeerenburgfjorden, Amsterdamøya, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #3 – this lush layer of tundra looked a little like a putting green on a golf course

Smeerenburgfjorden, Amsterdamøya, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #3 – this lush layer of tundra looked a little like a putting green on a golf course

 

Smeerenburgfjorden, Amsterdamøya, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #4 -- the remains (in the foreground) of one of the two 17th century blubber cauldrons

Smeerenburgfjorden, Amsterdamøya, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #4 — the remains (in the foreground) of one of the two 17th century blubber cauldrons bearing witness to the dangerous business of whaling

 

Smeerenburgfjorden, Amsterdamøya, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #5 – small ground cover that looks a little like gold dust

Smeerenburgfjorden, Amsterdamøya, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #5 – small ground cover that looks a little like gold dust

 

Smeerenburgfjorden, Amsterdamøya, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #6

Smeerenburgfjorden, Amsterdamøya, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #6

 

Smeerenburgfjorden, Amsterdamøya, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #7 – a whale bone on the beach, a reminder of the activity in the area in the mid 1600s

Smeerenburgfjorden, Amsterdamøya, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #7 – a whale bone on the beach, a reminder of the activity in the area in the mid 1600s

 

Smeerenburgfjorden, Amsterdamøya, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #8

Smeerenburgfjorden, Amsterdamøya, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #8

 

Smeerenburgfjorden, Amsterdamøya, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #9 -- frost heaves were visible throughout the tundra by the beach

Smeerenburgfjorden, Amsterdamøya, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #9 — frost heaves were visible throughout the tundra by the beach

 

Smeerenburgfjorden, Amsterdamøya, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #10 – a seal recuperating on an iceberg after escaping from an attack by a polar bear

Smeerenburgfjorden, Amsterdamøya, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #10 – a seal recuperating on an iceberg after escaping from an attack by a polar bear

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2018 by Richard C. Edwards.  All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Raudfjorden (The Red Fjord), Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard

Raudfjorden (The Red Fjord), Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #1

Raudfjorden (The Red Fjord), Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #1

 

After two days looking for wildlife in the Arctic Pack Ice north of Svalbard (setting a record for the furthest north the ship has ever sailed — reaching Latitude 82º 41’ North and Longitude 022º 57.91’ East), we sailed south overnight and in the morning anchored in a beautiful long fjord on the northwest corner of Spitsbergen Island, Raudfjorden (The Red Fjord).  We explored the area in Zodiacs, guided by experts from our expedition team.  The fjord features little bays with tumbling glaciers and old Devonian red sandstone.  We enjoyed our hour-plus 8 a.m. exploration of the small bay with glaciers, icebergs, a bird cliff and rock islands.

 

Raudfjorden (The Red Fjord), Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #2 – three_s company; just after I pressed the shutter, like ballet dancers, all of them dove down underwater to

Raudfjorden (The Red Fjord), Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #2 – three’s company; just after I pressed the shutter, like ballet dancers, all of them dove down underwater to hunt for lunch

 

Raudfjorden (The Red Fjord), Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #3

Raudfjorden (The Red Fjord), Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #3

 

Raudfjorden (The Red Fjord), Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #4

Raudfjorden (The Red Fjord), Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #4

 

Raudfjorden (The Red Fjord), Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #5 -- stunning glacial erosion (Where_s Waldo? Where is the red?)

Raudfjorden (The Red Fjord), Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #5 — stunning glacial erosion (Where’s Waldo? Where is the red?)

 

Raudfjorden (The Red Fjord), Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #6 – thank you, Ansel Adams, for the inspiration from your “Frozen Lake and Cliffs” which is a favorite image!

Raudfjorden (The Red Fjord), Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #6 – thank you, Ansel Adams, for the inspiration from your “Frozen Lake and Cliffs” which is a favorite image!

 

Raudfjorden (The Red Fjord), Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #7

Raudfjorden (The Red Fjord), Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #7

 

Raudfjorden (The Red Fjord), Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #8 – this is a natural scene, not some “blue” added in Photoshop…

Raudfjorden (The Red Fjord), Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #8 – this is a natural scene, not some “blue” added in Photoshop…

 

Raudfjorden (The Red Fjord), Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #9

Raudfjorden (The Red Fjord), Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #9

 

Raudfjorden (The Red Fjord), Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #10

Raudfjorden (The Red Fjord), Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #10

 

Raudfjorden (The Red Fjord), Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #11 – not everyone sees a crocodile in the center (a face of ice, a body of rock…)

Raudfjorden (The Red Fjord), Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #11 – not everyone sees a crocodile in the center (a face of ice, a body of rock…)

 

Raudfjorden (The Red Fjord), Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #12

Raudfjorden (The Red Fjord), Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #12

 

Raudfjorden (The Red Fjord), Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #13

Raudfjorden (The Red Fjord), Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #13

 

Raudfjorden (The Red Fjord), Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #14

Raudfjorden (The Red Fjord), Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #14

 

Raudfjorden (The Red Fjord), Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #15 – our ship at anchor behind the icebergs in the middle of the fjord

Raudfjorden (The Red Fjord), Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, photograph #15 – our ship at anchor behind the icebergs in the middle of the fjord

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2018 by Richard C. Edwards.  All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Arctic Pack Ice Cruising (and polar bears) north of Svalbard

Arctic pack ice, north of Svalbard, at Latitude 82º 37_, photo #1, with the forward section of deck 7 of our ship (packed with viewers on the lookout for polar bears) visible at the b

Arctic pack ice, north of Svalbard, at Latitude 82º 37’, photograph #1, with the forward section of deck 7 of our ship (packed with viewers on the lookout for polar bears) visible at the bottom of the photograph

 

From Lilliehöökfjorden on the northwest side of Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, we headed due north towards the North Pole to cruise in the Arctic pack ice, looking for wildlife.  Midday we were at Latitude 82º 37’ North and Longitude 022º 58’ East where we spotted and watched a number of polar bears from the outdoor decks and bridge of our ship.  Later in the day, we continued sailing north, reaching Latitude 82º 41’ North and Longitude 022º 57.91’ East – setting the record for the furthest north our ship has ever sailed.  At that point we were only 439 nautical miles from the North Pole!  We had a Champagne celebration before dinner that evening on board the ship to commemorate this new milestone.  [Note that in 2017 our ship set the record for the furthest south any ship in history had ever sailed – while visiting the Ross Sea in Antarctica.]

 

A male polar bear on Arctic pack ice, north of Svalbard, at Latitude 82º 37_, photo #1

A male polar bear on Arctic pack ice, north of Svalbard, at Latitude 82º 37’, photograph #1

 

Arctic pack ice, north of Svalbard, at Latitude 82º 37_, photo #2

Arctic pack ice, north of Svalbard, at Latitude 82º 37’, photograph #2

 

A male polar bear on Arctic pack ice, north of Svalbard, at Latitude 82º 37_, photo #2

A male polar bear on Arctic pack ice, north of Svalbard, at Latitude 82º 37’, photograph #2

 

A male polar bear on Arctic pack ice, north of Svalbard, at Latitude 82º 37_, photo #3

A male polar bear on Arctic pack ice, north of Svalbard, at Latitude 82º 37’, photograph #3

 

Arctic pack ice, north of Svalbard, at Latitude 82º 37_, photo #3

Arctic pack ice, north of Svalbard, at Latitude 82º 37’, photograph #3

 

A male polar bear on Arctic pack ice, north of Svalbard, at Latitude 82º 37_, photo #4

A male polar bear on Arctic pack ice, north of Svalbard, at Latitude 82º 37’, photograph #4

 

A male polar bear on Arctic pack ice, north of Svalbard, at Latitude 82º 37_, photo #5 – an enlargement of the previous photograph (#4)--

A male polar bear on Arctic pack ice, north of Svalbard, at Latitude 82º 37’, photograph #5 – an enlargement of the previous photograph (#4)

 

Arctic pack ice, north of Svalbard, at Latitude 82º 37_, photo #4

Arctic pack ice, north of Svalbard, at Latitude 82º 37’, photograph #4

 

A male polar bear on Arctic pack ice, north of Svalbard, at Latitude 82º 37_, photo #6

A male polar bear on Arctic pack ice, north of Svalbard, at Latitude 82º 37’, photograph #6

 

A male polar bear on Arctic pack ice, north of Svalbard, at Latitude 82º 37_, photo #7-

A male polar bear on Arctic pack ice, north of Svalbard, at Latitude 82º 37’, photograph #7

 

Arctic pack ice, north of Svalbard, at Latitude 82º 37_, photo #5

Arctic pack ice, north of Svalbard, at Latitude 82º 37’, photograph #5

 

A drone photograph of our ship in the Arctic Ice Pack at Latitude 82º 37"; photograph © 2018 by (and courtesy of) Richard Sidey

A drone photograph of our ship in the Arctic Pack Ice at Latitude 82º 37″; photograph © 2018 by (and courtesy of) Richard Sidey

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2018 by Richard C. Edwards.  All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.