Svalbard

Posts from Sunday 23 September, 2007

Oslo – Longyearbyen

By Ben // Sunday 23 Sep // 23:57:50 // 1 Comment // View

If the first day of our voyage is at all reprensentative of the trip to come-and I have every reason to believe that it will be-then I’m going to have a lot to learn about expressing awe. It’s a simple exercise to take something finite and describe it in great detail; it’s terribly more difficult to forge an account of something as massive and moving as this place. But we must try.

Flying from Oslo, our crew was collectively jolted from the weary fatigue of travel (this correspondent tallied up six airports in the 36 hours prior). The sense of shared bewilderment of 20 relative strangers upon landing in Longyearben was nearly as stirring as the scene into which we touched down.

A beautiful day blessed our arrival-not common for this place, according to David-with a mat of clouds keeping temperatures comfortable, if still below freezing. A jaunt through town yielded the group many a precious souvenir score-mugs were purchased, a couple of savvy travelers posted cards, and a run on canvas shopping bags (branded with the ubitquitous Longyearbyen polar bear, who we fortunately never met in the flesh) impressively left the local supermarket sold out.

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Oslo > Longyearbyen > Trygghamna

By Cape Farewell // Sunday 23 Sep // 23:55:48 // View

I’m counting Sunday as day 1 of our voyage. After a long 24 hours of travel we made it on-board the Noorderlicht in one big, sprawling group, plus luggage. I was up all night squeezing my final few hours of good, reliable internet access in Oslo. Stupidly. Now I’m exhausted, but finding energy to talk to the rest of the crew on flights and waiting rooms rather than catching up on sleep. We flew through Tromso with it’s dry, red hillsides, then on to Svalbard which was vast and beautiful from above. Black/grey earth and highlights of snow, mountains, ridges and bays. Everyone was completely awestruck. Amy and I rapidly tag team photographed as we descended into Longyearbyen. It’s a different world up here, a different sort of place.

Onto the Noorderlicht and our luggage together looked so excessive, littering the upper deck. Longyearbyen  sits fairly uncomfortably in it’s landscape, with the look of a small border town. Mining, science/teaching and tourism are the main industries here. Each year around half of it’s 2000 strong community move on and are replaced. We cleared the town out of Longyearbyen canvass shopping bags, had a drink at the Wham playing sports bar, then headed back to the boat where we set off straight away to moor overnight 4 hours sail away, near Trygghamna. As the sun set we were all on deck to watch a postcard pink sunset with a vertical band of light cutting up into the sky. Beautiful, but apparently warning of bad weather ahead. Hmmmm not so beautiful.

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Journey to Longyearbyen

By Nick // Sunday 23 Sep // 21:05:45 // View

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Greenland Voyage reaches Oslo

By Cape Farewell // Sunday 23 Sep // 00:20:37 // View

After a long day, and many months of preparation, we’ve all made it to Oslo and the Greenland Voyage is finally away. Tomorrow morning we fly out direct to Longyearbyen where we take over from the Youth Expedition and board the Noorderlicht. The current ice maps for our route are “interesting”. What this means for us we’re not sure at the moment. Our first step tomorrow is to analyse the latest satellite information available, and I’m sure we’ll be posting more about it soon…

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