January / February 2013

22th of February Yesterday was one of those days that hardly can be any better.
We reached minus 26,6 degrees Celsius on the thermometer, but no wind at all.
We took the opportunity to work outside, and saw at first one, and later with
the binoculars, even two! polar bears.
And as a bonus, ten minutes later, a white artic fox was passing close by.
The day ended with the mountaintops colored purple in the evening sun.
But this is Spitsbergen, today was almost the opposite, a strong blowing wind by minus 22 degrees Celsius,
which you can imagine feels much colder, and a completely whiteout.
Tomorrow we are expecting less wind and the first guests.
 

21st of February At noon today we had minus 25,7 degrees Celsius on the thermometer!

The weather is beautiful, no wind, and the indirect sunlight gives beautiful colors on the mountaintops.
Coming weekend will be our first chance to see a glimpse of the sun...

 Monday, 18th of February    Happy Days in Tempelfjorden!
After a great cold Friday, we finally could put the gangway on the ice!
The last night watch was a fact and measurements with the ice drill showed more solid and thicker ice.
So cool to walk around the ship and happy dogs running around!

Solfrid and Erik came on skies from the coast on Satherday, checking the ice.
It felt great to meet each other halfway, after being out in Tempelfjorden for 28 days!!
Fresh grapes, liquorice and mail from town gave a big smile on our faces!

Today, the Basecamp Snowscooterguides checked out the ice in the complete fjord,
to have a good overview of the ice situation before the season can start.
We still need some patience, as some tracks needs more thickness of the ice,
but the start of the winter season is about to come!

13th of February Since last weekend we are struggling with mild weather and westerly winds.
So far we could keep our position, although we wish for thicker ice soon!
According to the weather forecast, we can expect a drop in temperature in
the night from Thursday to Friday. Looking forward!
 

4th of February After a cold and calm weekend we are surrounded by a thin layer of ice!
As it looks now, the weather forecast is on our side, to let the ice grow thicker the coming days.
Also more and more daylight...
The sun is on its return after the dark winter:
Each day appearing 20 minutes earlier and going down 20 minutes later as it speeds towards
the day in mid-April when it forgets to set altogether.
Spotting animal life is becoming easier now. Quite some ringed seals appeared around the ship in the last week.
And as they can be as old as 45 years of age, some of them might have seen the ship before...
 

26 th of January The days in Port of Longyearbyen always have a visit to the Base camp Dog yard on the program.
I joined Thea, the dog manager, to feed the 80 Alaska Huskies.
So nice to meet and greet all the dogs.
The dogs became quite familiar to us, as they came to the ship in the ice on many trips in the past years.
Some of them had their puppy time onboard with us. So cool to see them as strong sledge dogs now!

Also this winter, we will have two puppies on the ship.... They are around 5 weeks now,
for sure they will stay with their mother, Best, some more weeks.
They just got names in the Base camp name-competition: Ebony and Ivory.
Looking forward to live together in perfect harmony!

On Monday, 21st of January, temperatures dropped from minus 2 to minus 15 degrees Celsius.
Ready to go!!
But.. a strong wind blowing from West, together with snowdrift, kept us in the harbour till 5 p.m.
With calmer conditions we took off, for the four hours sail to Tempelfjorden.
Entering the Tempelfjorden, with the moonlight reflecting in the water, felt like opening a new book...

But..so far no luck.
Either cold, but too much wind for forming ice,
or no wind, but too warm for forming ice.
We hope to have the key for -freezing in- soon:
Cold and Calm
Looking forward to the full moon on Sunday..
 

15th of January Unfortunately I write this report with good internet connection directly from
the Port of Longyearbyen.
Despite the cold temperatures and great shows of Aurora Borealis, we did not succeed in
our first attempt to freeze the ship in. The ice was forming very well at the start, up to
3,5 cm in thickness. But before all open spots could freeze properly, the wind picked up....
In 24 hours time, the fjord was empty again. We waited another night,
but the wind did not calmed down at all...
A low pressure area is coming in: the temperature is rising and the wind will turn West soon..
 

13th of January Dark blue light in the sky already from 11.00am instead of total darkness...With Northern lights above us and minus 14 degrees on the thermometer we are on our way to Tempelfjorden!!

12 th January We are still in the middle of `Mørketid´, the period of total darkness.
But small signs are showing the daylight is on its return.
Like on our trip to Tempelfjorden, the 9th of January.
Although it was cloudy, upon arrival in Tempelfjorden around 14.00 pm, we could see the silhouettes of all mountains around us!
Happy moments, to see the familiar scenery, such a beautiful place to be...
But as there was no ice yet, and the temperatures were rising again, we returned to Longyearbyen.
Looking forward to lower temperatures and a decreasing wind!

From the Port of Longyearbyen we wish you all a great 2013!!
We hope for good ice conditions in winter 2013, to have a cold & cool season in Tempelfjorden! After two weeks in Harstad on the shipyard beginning of December, the ship was ready to head north again. The crossing from Norway to Spitsbergen was done in 4 days, smooth sailing! With good help of Jappie, Alex, Bennie and Johan, the ship arrived on the 15th of December in Longyearbyen.
Right now we are busy doing the last preparations for our stay in Tempelfjorden. Today, together with Thea, leader of the dog yard, we picked up 250 kilos of dog food, 4 doghouses and 6 blocks of hay with the trailer. All to be prepared for the dog teams coming out to the ship in the ice! We got helping hands from the crew of 'Nordic Chantal', a cargo ship, to lift all goods aboard 'Noorderlicht', nice guys! Their ship is unloading steel at the Port of Longyearbyen, to renew Gammlekai and Colekai.During Christmas the temperatures had been down to minus 25; also 60 to 70 cm of snow has covered the harbor. But just before New Year’s Eve a mild period started, together with a lot of wind. At the moment the temperature is minus 2 degrees Celsius and the wind has calmed down..
In a few days we will sail to Tempelfjorden, to see how the ice conditions are. But we don’t expect much ice yet.
 

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