January/February 11

16 Th February First Polar bear!

The morning started with violet light above the Murdochbreen and the moon just above the mountains. The photo I made with the dogs starring in the middle of this beautiful background looked like photo shopped, too good to be truth!

Svein, the guide who joined our overnight group, was alarmed by the barking of Alaska Husky ChaCha just before breakfast.
When we came outside to check if everything was OK, ChaCha her nose was pointing in the direction of a polar bear! On a few hundred metres the bear was passing the ship in a slow pace. As you understand the breakfast was a little later...

The polar bear trudged in the direction of Fredheim. The good direction for our lunch guests!
As they arrived in the fjord on their snow scooters with guide Victor around 12 o'clock, they also got a glimp of the King of Arctic.

Tomorrow a group of Russian scientists will arrive at the ship. For 5 days they will do research in Tempelfjorden in cooperation with UNIS, the Longyearbyen University. Their stay is in continuation of their work around the ship last year.
I am curious to hear about the projects they are planning to do..

7th February Start of the winterseason!

After a regonnaissancetrip in the fjord and a testride from Longyearbyen to the ship with snowscooter and with dogs, the ice and snowconditions were found OK to start the season!
Already 35 cm of ice around the ship.
The 18th of January all Basecampstaff came over to have dinner and a overnight onboard. With this overnight a new record was set with opening of the ship in the winterseason so early.

The last weekends of January we welcomed two groups of inhabitants of Longyearbyen to have a stay on the ship. It was nice for us to meet people from the town and to hear their stories about life in the Artic.

Two Alska Huskies joined the first transport out to the ship. Dubai and Jules, 6 mounths old, embarked for the winter!
They felt at home very soon, running on and off the gangway as if they have been sailors for a long time.

A big difference in temperature this January, the coldest was 29,4 minusdegrees, the warmest was 1,4(!)plusdegrees. The mild days helped to upright the ship, as she had list to starboard after freezing in with strong Notheasterly winds during Christmastime.

The light is coming back! Every day we get almost 20 minutes more...
Today from 10 o'clock in the morning till 3 o'clock in the afternoon we had good visibility in the fjord. In the dark periods we have a lot of Northern Light up in the sky, almost every day!

15th January Minus 22,2 degrees when we woke up this morning. A mornings trawl around the ship with the dogs, illuminated by Northern Light and moonshine.
The moonlit hull looks majestic. She has a slight list to starboard, due to the strong winds while freezing in the last days of 2010. On her port side a big pile of snow. Finally the wind is gone, the fjord is calm and fascinating.

This year Basecamp Spitsbergen celebrates 10 years in the ice!
And already the 8th winter for Noorderlicht to be ship in the ice.

Probably we will set a record this year of starting the season so early, as the ice is in very good condition around the ship already now.
Some checks will take place in the weekend, we keep you updated!