January/February 10

25th February Dog sledge-guests without dogs and lunch without lunch guests
As the ice was thick enough to start the season last Satherday, we ware expecting 4 dog sledge teams coming out to Temepelfjorden on Tuesday.
But as we still had no snow on the ice, it was too salty for the 28 Alaska Huskies to stay out on the fjord ice.
The dog teams had been camping in tents the night before (it was the coldest night so far, minus 24 degrees Celsius) and drove the dogsledges to Fredheim on Tuesday. This is a spot on landside not far from the ship.
All the dogs were hooked up in the fresh snow at the coast, Øyvind and Trine stayed with them. The guests were picked up by scooter to overnight on the ship. For them it was good to warm up as they had a cold day of dog driving behind. The next morning Klaus and Ted brought them back to the 'dog camp' by scooter.
During the night the weather changed quite a bit, the wind had increased and the visibility was poor, a complete 'white out'. Ok, we wanted some snow, but in combination with such a storm...
Luckely for the dog teams they had the wind in the back while heading for Longyearbyen.
And the 'white out' brings us to the lunch without lunch guests.
As there were 20 guests booked in for lunch at Wednesday, we ware preparing a big pan of hot soup to warm them up.
But then at
10.30 am we got a phone call; the whole group was on their way back to Longyearbyen...
The visibility was so poor, it was almost impossible to see the snow scooter in front of you.

A good reason not to continue the stormy ride.
Maaike

23th February Exciting weekend!
The last two days were very exciting!
On Saturday we had the first reconnaissance trip to check out the fjord ice.Solfrid and Audun came from the landside (Fredheim) and measured all the ice on the route to the ship. It was very good to see them and all of us were satisfied with the ice-thickness. They brought the mail and the last news from town, very well after 18 days in Tempelfjorden.
As the ice was safe to drive now, we welcomed the first overnight guests already the same evening.
And the nice thing was: this group was also our last guests in winter season 2009!
On Sunday the weather was very clear, so clear that we had the first glimpse of the sun!
For a few minutes it came just above the valley.
Every day we have twenty more minutes of daylight. At night the moon is giving quite some light now, it reflects on the white mountains.
The ice is still without snow, only a very thin layer of salty snow. This is very good for the ice to grow, as the snow will isolate the ice. But the dogs still live on the deck, it is too salty for them to be out on the ice.
And soon we can expect our first lunch guests, as the guides were checking the routes today.


Maaike

16th Febrary Finally, some ice, at least thick enough to stand on. This year it went very strange with the mild weather and yet unexpected cold water. Since our last stay in Longyearbyen we first had 4 days of temperatures around zero. There was some slush ice in the fjord and fortunatly not much wind, what made us stay there. And as soon as the temperature went below minus 6 the water started to freeze. Peculiar, for normaly, in the former years, we needed at least a temperature colder than minus 10. A few days of this, minus 6 to minus 8, did the ice grow to circa 5 cm. And this was thick enough to withstand an Easterly storm that blow for 24 houres. Lucky that it was from the East, with a Westerly storm the ice would certainly break because of the waves and swell. Last two days we had temperatures around minus 13, and the ice grows a 2 cm in 24 hours. Today we measured 15 cm and tomorow we will put the snowmobiles on the ice. My guess is, when the temperature stay this low we can expect the first visitors coming weekend. And that is a good timing for we just finished painting inside.

Ted


26 January "Mildt og glatt" as Svalbard Posten(lokal newspaper) wrote about weather from the last week.

The runway on the airport was extrem slippery as the the rain froze directly into ice.
All flights were cancelled during 3 days.
But there was one bright spot in the weatherforecast, as on thursday minus 16 degrees Celcius was forecasted.
Another chance for Noorderlicht to see if the ice in Tempelfjorden started to grow. We left early this day, and the temperature went down to minus 13,6. But not long enough, during the night it became mild again, even plus 2 degrees Celcius! And as the Westerly wind became stormy, all ingredients you need to freeze in were gone.
Back to Longyearbyen...
During the days in Longyearbyen the Swinging Sisters arrived on board. Three Alaska Huskies pups, born of motherdog Danse. Danse grew up with us during winter 2008. ChaCha, Samba and Polka are now running around on the deck!
And as we checked the weatherforecast tonight a colder period with winds from East and North is about to come. As it looks now a new try end of this week.

17 January Mild weather.

As we went to Tempelfjorden last Monday the weather was nice and cold. But later in the week the temperatures were getting warmer and warmer. At Frydayevening the thin icelayer was getting too soft to hold the ship. We sailed back to Longyearbyen harbour. During the weekend it was raining a lot, and due to the permafrost the whole city turned into an icefloor! At the moment we have plus 5,4 degrees Celsius. Last days we had a temperature difference with the mainland Norway from 30 degrees!!

Maaike

12 January '10 In Tempelfjorden!

Temperatures around minus 20 and a scooterreport from a friend telling about iceforming at the Fredheim-coast of Tempelfjorden, made us leave the harbour at Monday.
Already in Sassenfjorden we met some 'pancake ice'.
The description of this type of ice, according to the Mariner's Handbook is:
"Predominantly circular pieces of ice from 30 cm to 3 m in diameter, and up to about 10 cm in thickness, with raised rims due to pieces striking against one another"
Entering Tempelfjorden, there was a little slush-ice and open water. But as we came closer to our winterposition a very thin icefloor already formed. We stopped the engine, and observed.
First the ship was pushed a little through the ice by wind, but as soon as the wind dropped we could hold position. The icefloor is moving up and down by the rhythm of the swell.
The sun is still 10,5 degrees under the horizon at noon, but today there was some lightness to see in the south. The sky on the southern horizon was not black anymore, but darkblue.
Maaike


6 January '10 Checking iceconditions.

Just after Christmas Gert and Erik Rødesjo went out on a scootertrip to Tempelfjorden to check iceconditions outthere. From the mountainside they could only see open water in Tempelfjorden.
After a few cold days in the NewYear we decided to take the ship into Tempelfjorden for another icecheck. This time it was Ted and me onboard.
With a temperature from minus 16 degrees and a SE wind Bft 4 we left Longyearbyenharbour the 5th of january. The days are dark but with a clear sky and
Northernlights (white and a little green this time) around us we had an smooth trip into Tempelfjorden.
We did not see any signs of ice in the fjord, so we turned the bow towards Longyearbyen. At midnight we arrived in the harbour of Longyearbyen.
Maaike

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