Wednesday, 27 June 2012


Fridtjovbreen Glacier

After a fast sail from northern Norway to Bjørnøya, the forecasts for the rest of the trip to Spitsbergen could only offer calms and light headwinds. This was nonetheless better than being stuck in Bjørnøya indefinitely - so off we went on the two day trip to Longyearbyen, the principal settlement on Spitsbergen.

It is difficult to appreciate the immense scale of this island, the largest in the Svalbard archipelago! After almost twenty four hours underway, we reached Sørkapp [South Cape] at the southern tip but still had another day of travel ahead to reach our destination. In those remaining 130 miles, there were only three [very large] fjords that held sheltered anchorages.

Birds decorating a bergy bit

We began to regret having passed up the shelter of Hornsund when the wind started to increase from ahead but we struggled on to Bellsund, the second of the fjords.

We reached Fritjovhamna, a tiny side fjord off Bellsund at 2 o'clock in the morning under bright sunshine. It was just the oasis we needed for a rest from the wind!  In it we found ingredients to delight the eye and to rest the mind -: a tidewater glacier calving into the sea; calm; a shallow corner containing the world's thickest mud to glue the anchor into position; and, finally, walrus on the beach and reindeer on the hillside.

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