July/August 09

21th August 2009

Finally, the third " around trip" of this season, we succeed in getting trough Hinlopenstreet. We sailed into the Street with a Northerly breeze, which served us in two ways by blowing the ship under sail south, and a good deal of the ice out of the street.
Still there was some ice east of Wilhelmoya. It took us 6 hours to sail trough, and when we were out of this the sun disappeared behind clouds and a little later we had suddenly big waves from the Northeast, the forerunner of a strong wind. There was snow and temperature below zero. An uncomfortable trip when there are waves but not enough wind to keep the ship steady. In the Freemansundet the wind was there, and also the guest on deck again, feeling much better then on open sea. There was no shelter from this hard north-easterly wind at Edgeoya (2 bears), and there for we anchored lee from Barentsoya. Visits at Kapp Lee (solid ground), Ardalsnuten (beluga's) and Delitschoya (walruses) and are now, in very calm weather, at sea (whales) to Sorkapp.

Ted16 th August 2009

Last trip around, which we didn't manage because of a blocked Hinlopenstreet, we saw on the alternative route, Northeast, at Lagoya, a dead beer. A death rather skinny mother beer and a little further away, two death very little cups. as if they were sleeping. That is the sad story of the hard live in the artic. That it is a struggle and can be too short. Now at this moment, 300 meters away from the ship on anchor, we see a death whale. A Fin whale washed upon the shore. Maybe it is as sad as the dead beers on Lagoya, but this whale means food for other beers. One is standing on his meal and we see four other laying on snow patches around. Sleeping on their back, digesting their meal, looking as if they enjoy the good live.

We, Human beings, now certainly do.

Ted

6the August 2009

As they say, there is a first time for everything. Nothing can be truer of the past week. I arrived at Spitsbergen for the first time and also for my first trip as mate onboard the ‘Noorderlicht’. For me, every day is as full of surprises as it is for the guests. The islands are impressive with their high cliffs and glaciers. The guests are a nice mixture of Dutch a Flemish people, ranging in age from thirty to sixty. The guide on board is a fanatic animal-spotter. At the wheel I am mainly busy navigating the ship and my eyes are apparently not trained for spotting animals (yet), but as soon as Kees gets on deck, he sees a bird, walrus, polar-bear or even a whale. Every day I bring the guest ashore, where the go on a hiking trip with the guide, to enjoy the beautiful nature. The come back on board with a lot of pictures. Personally I find the old abandoned settlements very impressive, as they tell a story of hard labour and suffering. Unfortunately we could not circumnavigate, as the Hindelopen-street was still full with ice. The alternative programme, a visit to Nordaustlandet and the Sjuøyane islands in the northeast, is definitely worthwhile. On our way back west, we encounter a lot of drift ice, which seems to come out of the Hindelopen-street, so hopefully we will be able to get through next week.

David

Bijna rondom Spitsbergen, 13 - 28 juli 2009

Nadat zes van onze groep de sneeuwschoenwandelreis 2007 met de Noorderlicht hadden gemaakt, bleef het kriebelen. Spitsbergen, zeilen en zeker ook wandelen: een prachtige combinatie. We schreven in voor zomer 2009. Ergens was ik bang dat 'zomerse' omstandigheden de reis minder ruig en spectaculair zouden maken, maar dit bleek absoluut onterecht. Het extreme klimaat, het onherbergzame landschap en de onvoorspelbare weersomstandigheden verdiepten de indruk die Spitsbergen eerder had gemaakt. Hetzelfde en toch anders: natuurlijk waren er nu veel meer planten en bloemen te zien, net als polygonen en de variatie in gesteenten. Ook mochten we maar liefst negen ijsberen en veel soorten vogels aanschouwen. Verder hadden we ontmoetingen met rendieren, walrussen, poolvossen en, heel uitzonderlijk, een blauwe vinvis. De restanten van menselijke activiteiten kregen meer nadruk: de hutten, traanovens, graven, vossenvallen en overblijfselen van – vaak mislukte – expedities en ondernemingen waren nu goed zichtbaar.
Zomer in Spitsbergen geeft sneeuw- en ijsliefhebbers nog steeds voldoende te genieten: gletsjers, besneeuwde bergen, grote drijvende ijsbergen en kleine, natuurlijk gevormde ijssculpturen: ronduit fantastisch. Dat hier in een poolklimaat ook een keerzijde aan zit, bleek toen de bemanning in het hoge noorden de beslissing moest nemen om niet de doorsteek te maken door de Hinlopenstraat, maar langs de westkust terug te keren. Doordat wind en stroming het pakijs zuidwaarts hadden gedreven, werd de oostelijke doorgang zodanig belemmerd dat doorvaren niet verstandig was. Voor de meesten van ons was dit even slikken: we zouden de oostkant niet te zien krijgen. Maar ook achteraf bleek de beslissing om terug te keren juist te zijn en uiteraard hadden we daar vrede mee.
Met weer nieuwe plekken aan de westkust waar we met de zodiac landden – soms kon dat wel drie keer op een dag – hebben we op de terugweg naar het zuiden veel gezien. Grote delen hebben we gezeild waarbij ook het eten een avontuur werd. Voor zover ik weet, was gelukkig niemand echt zeeziek. Onze zuidelijkste bestemming was de ruige Hornsund waar we toepasselijk donker weer hadden. Hier hadden we ons tweede keerpunt. Via de prachtige Bellsund met stralend weer en ons letterlijk hoogtepunt met een avondlijke beklimming voor het adembenemende uitzicht, keerde de Noorderlicht terug naar Isfjorden. Het bezoek aan deprimerend Barentsburg heb ik overgeslagen. Sommige groepsgenoten zagen er kleine verbeteringen als lichtpuntjes na hun vorig bezoek. Ter afsluiting hadden we nog twee landingen aan de oostkant van Isfjorden: Gipshuken en – met hemelsmooi weer – Skansbukta. Hier heb ik zelfs op het strand liggen zonnen, al was het niet in badpak.
Ook deze reis, uitstekend verzorgd door gids en bemanning Jan, Gert, Dicky, Thomas en Sonja was een voltreffer en heeft de noordelijke kriebels alleen maar verder gevoed. Hoeveel we ook gezien en gedaan hebben: de uitdaging om toch een keer met de Noorderlicht geheel rond te varen, blijft. Dus wie weet: tot een volgende keer!

Karin

 

North Spitsbergen 02 July-12 July
Last trip we could not get that far as we wanted, as there was to close drift ice in Woodfjorden. This trip we could come a little further. Still there was drift-ice but much opener then we saw before. But sadly, a few miles into Liefdefjorden the ice was still to close to get to the places we had in mind. A small disappointment, but with only two days of clouds and drizzle and the rest of the trip bleu sky, good winds and warm temperatures it was s great voyage. We traveled many miles with all sails up with good speed. When traveling in the northern part of Spitsbergen we saw almost each day a polar bear, even one with a cup. As the weather was so calm, and the sea as flat as a mirror, it was excellent circumstances to spot sea life, with many seals and Minky wales as result. The last day we hoised the sails again and with 9 knots speed we were heading for Longyearbyen. The last few miles in Adventfjorden where against the wind, with a few tacks we reached our harbour.
We are now on the way to get around Spitsbergen. The last ice charts still show a lot of drift ice between Hindeloopen street and Woodfjorden. We are very curious how the conditions will be as we are in that area in a few days.

North Spitsbergen 21 June-02 July

With a bit delay, we could start with the first sailing trip of this season. A group of 20 Russian people from WWF organization joined us.
On our way North we sailed into a lot of drift ice, we tried to go into Liefdefjorden but the ice was to close to get any further. Also longer hiking on the shore where difficult as there was still much snow on the land. We decided to turn the ship. In the next morning we saw two polar bears near by the ship. The days we needed to get back to Longyearbyen we did several good landings, as there was less snow then in the North. On the moment nature and wildlife is present in full beauty.
We are now sailing with our new passengers to the North. Bleu sky, white mountains.....We will keep you informed.

leeg3TT.png
louk.png