April/May 11

Noorderlicht set sail again!
The 31st of May, 23:30 hours, Norwegian Coastguard vessel Svalbard appeared on the ice edge of Tempelfjorden. Always an exiting moment. The day before, we drove our last snow mobile drive, walked our last walk and viewed our last view. After so many months living on the frozen surface of the fjord,the ice feels like our own garden. KV Svalbard had absolutely no problem breaking our 80 cm thick backyard. Two hours after her appearance we were able to manoeuvre our self!
After a hard day work, putting snow mobiles and sledge, dog houses including one dog, boot room and garbage ashore in Longyearbyen, we welcomed our guests for the first sailing trip this season.

26th May Sunny days with our last winter guests!

The weather has been beautiful the last week.
Every evening the sun disappeared only for a few hours behind the mountains in the North,
and after midnight we could enjoy the sunlight again.
Our last winter guests left on Sunday the 22th of Mai.
We are preparing the ship for the summer sailing on Spitsbergen right now and
wait for the moment the icebreaker comes to break us out of the ice in Tempelfjorden.


22th May The snowbuntings in the fjord gave the first message of spring two weeks ago. The last days we see more and more bird’s pieces arriving. An ivory gull was circling around the ship for two hours last night, and today some pink footed geese landed in the delta of Sassenfjorden. The ringed seals have been on the fjord ice all winter, but the last week we had the first observations of the bearded seals on the ice. They are not able to make their own breading hole, so they have to wait till the breading holes of the ringed seals are getting bigger due to the mild temperatures, to come up on the ice. Today we passed a huge bearded seal with the dog sledge, he was too lazy to get back in the water so we passed him very closely. Their beautiful sounds in the water, made to attrackt a partner in the mating season, are already audible. Spring is in the air!

The day has come, Queensway, 30th of April 2011: Pup got a name!
As usual with such a contest it is difficult to choose.

The pup was acting and screaming like Marie Antoinetteby Peter de Waal from the
A very original entry was: Shirley Temple by Anne Christine from Sweden

But the lucky winner is: ODD MAGNE KVÅLSHAGEN from Longyearbyen with
RONJA røversdotter (de roversdochter), after the book of Astrid Lindgren.
Her nameplate will be revealed as soon as the winner reports himself to the ship.

The reward is waiting for you Odd Magne!


22th April. Puppy!

Another 'white out' on Monday the 11th of April;
strong winds with horizontal snowdrift.
But it was a day with a mission!
A little pup, 10 weeks old, was waiting in Longyearbyen to become a ships dog...
Off to Longyearbyen with the snow scooter, dressed well to face the snowdrift.
The little black and white pup was ready to go and luckily the strong winds calmed down at arrival in the town.
I put her into my scooter suit to keep her warm, and she did very well during the trip to the ship.
The noise of the scooter was a bit strange to her in the start but later on she even felt asleep in my scooter suit!
Already the second day she 'climbed' the gangway and checked out the ice, meeting our other dogs.
Seven dogs in total now:
Pup 10 weeks
Jules 8 months
Dubai 8 months
Cha-Cha 1,5 years
Tikka 6 years
Troika 12 years
IJsbrand 14 years

Of course she needs a name and therefore we asked the help of our guests and guides visiting the ship.
Everybody could fill in a paper with their suggestion for a name and put it in a box.
Soon the selection will be made and we will let you know!


On the 22th of February we had the first glimpse of the sun after the dark winter!
Sitting on the mountainside, we watched the ship caught in the sunlight. Beautiful!

Unfortunately this was not an 'everyday show', the sun disappeared for weeks...
One low pressure area after the other... Complete with 'white out' and mild temperatures.

But the temperatures went from mild to cold again, which caused big differences in temperature: one day we had zero degrees and the next morning minus 32,4 degrees below zero!!

In the 'white out' days it was hard to drive scooter or to mush dogs. Sometimes groups had to turn back to Longyearbyen, as the sight was too poor due to snowdrift and the wind too strong. Also groups who had to stay one night extra on the ship. They tried to get back to Longyearbyen, but had to turn back to the ship; the guide could not see the first snow scooter behind him...

So the last 6 days were like a present; blue sky and sunshine, with a temperature of minus 25 degrees below zero.
A lot of scooter traffic in the fjord, every rental scooter was in use today!

But the weather forecast is telling a different story, bad weather on its return.
The wind is picking up and visibility getting less..