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Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Canada Day Walrus

Photo and story by Linda Thom

Overnight the ghost of Lauren Harris conjured up an iconic Arctic scene which we viewed on waking - snow-mantled mountains with not a cloud in the sky! Larry hoisted a large Canadian flag in place of the normal sized one and we were off to look for walrus up Forlandsund at Poolepynten on Prins Karls Forland. The latter is a long mountainous island paralleling the coast from Isfjord to Kongsfjord providing not only an inside passage but fabulous views. We were indeed blessed with a rare sunny day as Svalbard is very often blanketed with low overcast.

As advertized, at Poolepynt there were a dozen magnificent walrus basking on the sunny sand: many with tusks heavenward, some lazily scratching their tummies. Others, it was easy to imagine, might be snoring. As we approached, those on the 'qui vive' raised up to have a look as we took pictures.

In the evening we motored up Kongsfjord and Larry gingerly nosed us in amongst bits of ice toward the glacier opposite Ny Alesund. It's the most Northerly town on the planet barring military installations such as Alert. The Blomstrandhamna glacier is much diminished compared to its extent when Don and I visited in 1973. Being amongst the bits of ice sounded as if we were floating in a bowl of Rice Krispies, with the popping and crackling sound they made, punctuated with the occasional rumble or pistol crack from the mother glacier.

At last we settled down in a little cove named Ny London where the British tried and failed to establish a marble quarry.

This blog is coming to you courtesy of some lo-bandwidth shortwave radio wizardry in the absence of internet access. We are lucky to be able to send you one small picture with a greatly reduced number of pixels.

At 7/2/2012 10:04 (utc) our position was << <<79°09.24'N 010°58.71'E>> >>

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