27th June Wednesday
Valvaagen - Tromsoe
Not much for Gerd and Jonas to do but gather their belongings and start packing. Tomorrow will be their last hours with us. 8:00 am is their departure time.
Everyone was quite relaxed thoughout the journey to Tromsoe. Lunch was fish cakes, all the leftovers from the last couple of days. Tonight everyone wants a bloody steak. It’s been cloudy all day and it’s starting to rain hard just outside of Tromsoe.
On our arrival we see that “Joyant” (Tom and Dorothy) are already here. They arrived around mid-day. First we moored on “Lupus” a large pilot boat. Just as we finished the Harbour Master arrived and said the “Lupus” was on call all today/night, so it was not wise to stay. We moved over to the Guest Harbour and moored on the end of the pontoon. Before we go out for dinner everyone takes a nap for an hour. There is a Steak House near our first mooring, it’s full so we go and check out the next. Third time and then we get a table, six is alot of people. We
recive our drinks in two groups, beer first and after a long wait, out drinks finally arrive.
28th June Thursday
Jonas and Gerd are leaving at 7:15 am. Their flight is at 8:00 am. They don’t have to walk far to catch a taxi as there is a taxi stand on the other side of the Market. One taxi is left “It’s got their name on it”. Lars, Uno, Viola and myself go back to sleep for awhile, then it’s up again. Alot of washing to do today. The only facilities for washing is over at the Camping area, that’s the only place and it’s miles away. We end up doing it all on board the boat. We’ve been using the washing machine for a long time, since we got the boat last year, it’s only today that Lars finds a filter behind the machine. It was full and probably why we couldn’t dry anything very much. After giving it a good clean, the washing started to be alot dryer than before.
I’ve got a very long list of items
needed before we leave. Viola and I get most of them and extra’s today, tomorrow we’ll get a few things like milk, bread, fruit, so it’s fresher.
Later we all take a walk to “Polaria” and arrive just as a film starts about Svalbard. It’s a 180 degree film screen and as we’re sitting near the front it feels like you’re actually flying. It feels quite strange and a couple of times I grab Lars’s knee with the swooping into the valley’s and crevis’s. It was a beautiful film, then we go around looking at different things, like Whales that could be seen around this area. The Artic Aquarium with the Bearded Seals which are living and like to show off to people who are looking at them. They call the film we saw a Supervideograph showing “Svalbard - The Artic Wilderness”. Outside the building looks really stange as it looks like it’s fallen over and blocks have fallen over one another.
29th June Friday
Today Urban and Thomas will be arriving around mis-day. Before they arrive I must sort out
the single bed cabin and finish one more washing load. Also we have to get the last shopping in.
I’m quite nervous about the crossing to Bear Island and Svalbard. It will be my first time crossing for more than 24 hours. I’ve sailed from Martinique to Barbados in the Caribian but that only took 20 hours, so this is alot different, I’m not sure if I’m going to enjoy being away from land so long. We’ll have to see.
Urban and Thomas arrive around 13:00 pm just in time for lunch. They left Gothenburg very early this morning.
Thoughout the day alot happens for Thomas. Firstly his son Pontus, is accepted into the sailing colledge. Pontus has been working hard to be in this colledge in Oekeroe. Then Lars recives a call from Eva saying it’s a secret but she’s arranging for Thomas and herself to get married in Svalbard. Of course Thomas hears about it as she needs his signature on a few documents. I’m not going to be there to see the Wedding but I hope Lars takes lots of photo’s.
30th June Saturday
Tromsoe to Torsvaagen
Today is the day we start sailing to Bear Island then Svalbard. I’ve written alot of post cards to all my family and a few friends so first before leaving I had to post them. Before leaving the harbour I went over to “Joyant”, Dorothy and Tom to say that we were on our way. After leaving, Lars wanted to fill up with diesel Statoil depot was closed so we motored to the Shell depot. We filled on Starboard 407 liters and on Port side 338 liters. Finally we start off but realise that Urban has given the wrong amount of diesel to the office. We had only paid for the 407 liters so we turned back to pay the rest.
Everything was fine until Lars came into our cabin and said that we were stopping at the last harbour before going out to sea. The reason being that the winds were changing tomorrow, so it was best to wait.
Torsvaagen is just alot of fishing boats and a few houses. After our fishing that Urban and Thomas caught today, we all went for a walk to the Light House. As we were
following Thomas and Urban, Lars tried to catch me but I fell really hard and twisted my foot and hurt my back.
Tomorrow is the day. We all must get up early.
1st July - 2nd July Sunday/Monday
Torsvaagen to Bear Island
Early rise for an eraly start. There is wind enough to put up the main sail and genuoa. Later on we put up the Gennaker which is another type of Spinnaker, it’s just smaller. After the boys put up the Gennaker, the boat feels smoother, not too many rolls.
We all have a watch thoughout the night, Thomas/Urban 10:00pm - 1:00 am, Uno and Viola 1:00 am - 4:00 am, Lars and myself 4:00 am - 7:00 am.
6:10/6:15 am - Monday
Lars puts on the Radar and C.A.R.D system because around 5:50 am the fod started rolling in. All shifts were easy for everyone as the sun was up all though the night hours. Around 10:00 am Urban, Thomas and I see our first near sighting of a Whale. It was too big for a Killer Whale. It was approx. 200 meters off the Port
side. It was lovely to see one even for a few seconds before it dived down and disappeared. We sailed most of the day. At around 21:30 pm the winds die down and we put on the engine which we used all the way to Bear Island.
17:15 pm Monday
We arrive so suddenly. The Island has been covered with fog which didn’t disappear until around 16:00 pm. The mountains are full of birds and there are different types all around the island.
From Torsvaagen, about 5 Gannits have followed us all the way to Bear Island. Whether they are the same ones, no one is really sure but they have the same markings on their wings.
3rd June Tuesday
It took us 36 hours approx to get to Bear Island. On the way we all saw Killer Whales but they were too far away.
Bear Island is an Island just for the birds. They are all over the place, sitting on nests or some having young already. On one side is a Weather Station but other than that no-one lives
here. There is a ruin which we found in the second cove we motored to. We were moored firstly in Soerhamna and Uno, Viola and myself are left on the beach while Lars and Thomas check out the next Cove. Uno and Viola tryed to climb up but it was impossible. The sides just crumbled. Then Lars and Thomas come back saying they had found a better cove and that it would be alot easier to walk around the Island.
Everyone is ashore at the moment having shooting lessons on how to use the rifle which we must have with us at all times, it’s just in case we meet a Polar Bear. I decide to sit this one out as I hate guns. Later I went ashore as we were going to have a Grill party.
The beach is beautiful. There is lots of fishing floats all around and we also found some equipment belonging to “The Polar Institute”. It looked like it had been left there on the beach and forgotten but later we found out that was not the case. Lars sent an e-mail to
the “Sysslemannen” in Longyearbyn asking if the Polar Institute knew that there was alot of their equipment left on the beach of “Kvalrossbukta” (Walrus Bay) on Bear Island. There was alot of talk going back and forth but in the end we decided to leave it there on the beach, even though it was equipment for over 100 thousand SEK.
It was a good thing we did because the next day when we read our e-mails the Sysslemannen had sent us a mail saying that it was left there after a terrible storm and that several people will be going there soon and would need the stuff that they had left there.
4th/5th July Wednesday/Thursday
Bear Island - Hornsund Bay/Svalbard
Departure from Bear Island and everyone will be taking their shift. Lars and I are first as we had 4 - 7 am last time.
We’ve been sailing since leaving Bear Island. For the first time the winds were good as soon as we left Bear Island.
The main sail is put up and we have some wonderful sailing until early morning.
It’s so sudden when the wind disappears. Lars and I were on shift 22:00pm - 1:00am. The fog rolled in and we had to use the Radar, it was so thick. Thomas and Urban took over from us.
10:30 am 5th July Thursday
First sighting of Svalbard so it shouldn’t take long before we are in “Hornsund - The Polish Polar Station”.
BANG!!!!!!! The motor stalls and we come to a complete stop! After an investigation Urban and Thomas discover that a Fishing Net is stuck around our propeller. We check to see if we can release the propeller with the rotation blades that are around it but after several trys, nothing seems to work. Urban, Thomas and Uno go into the dinghy, to see if they can cut us free. No hope at all. Only a little bit can be cut away. WE ARE DEAD IN THE WATER. No wind, no motor. We can only wait to see if someone comes by to help us. We all take shifts again and hope to see some ship that’s going by that
Later in the evening a ship goes by and we try to get in contact. Unfortunately they haven’t any diver’s aboard so they can’t help us at all.
Urban and Thomas are on duty. They see the Coast Guard “KV Andenes - KV233” comes in sight. Thomas called up and told them what had happened and they said that we should wait and they would see what they could do for us. A small boat with 3 young guys come to our rescue. One is a Diver and another takes photo’s. 12 minutes later the Diver comes up with the largest mass of fishing net anyone has seen before and that was what was around our propeller. There was so way we would of got it off ourselves.
5:00am Thursday morning
18 hours of just floating around and Hurray!!!!! We are under way again and finally motor to Hornsund.
Before anchoring we motor into the Fjord at 8:55am. We go so near to the Glacier that we could just about touch it.
5th July Thursday
The anchor is down and we are finally
at our first stop in Svalbard.
Everyone goes ashore after lunch. Lars comes back for me later in the afternoon and we go and visit the Husky dogs that the Polar Station have. One of them, a female has 2 puppies. They are so sweet. One of them goes to sleep in my arms, they are just bundles of fur.
We pick up the rest of our party near the Glacier. When parts of it fall away there is the sound just like a pistol shot. Everyone looks to where they think it’s breaking away but it’s somewhere else. The Iceberg is free. It’s ice blue with pattens that must be years old. The Iceberg floats around us and the sound in the water is a 'Snap, crackle and Pop´. The water is talking to us, it’s beautiful, it’s all around the boat. It seems to come through the hull like a whisper.
6th July Friday
Hornsund - Polish Polar Station - Mariaholmen/Bellsund
Our days are all messed up after lying 18 hours adrift. This morning Viola should of
been on the Radio in Gothenburg at 6:45am but we all forgot went. Joyant came in yesterday around 20:00pm but we were all so tired to go visiting. I spoke to Dorothy on the radio.
Everyone was late today. With all the night shifts, the excitment concerning the fishing net and the Coast Guard, we all needed a good nights sleep.
After breakfast Lars and I went over to Joyant for a visit. We met the 2 other members of their crew Frank and John. Dorothy,Tom,Frank and John will be visting the Station today and maybe sailing straight to Longyearbyn. We will be there in a few days.
Viola talked to the Radio Station and now she has a spot on the Radio Monday morning. She’s going to talk about our trip to Svalbard and what we expect to do and see while we are here in Svalbard/Spizberg.
We have a very late dinner on our arrival at Mariaholmen/Bellsund. After dinner everyone wants to go ashore. I stay onboard. Because there is no night times are messed up alot. Everyone goes ashore at 22:45. After they go it’s quiet and peaceful.
watch from the boat and see Urban being attacked by a very large bird. They seem to like him alot. No-one else is attacked just Urban. The shore patrol comes back at 00:10am
7th July Saturday
Mariaholmen/Bellsund - Longyearbyn
Today everyone is up early. We want to visit the Hermit on the Island not far from us. After breakfast we all get into our dinghy. With six people in such a little dinghy it sinks quite a lot in the water. Lars takes the short cut between a rock reef and just about makes it. The tide is going out so it looks like we won't be going back that way. When we go ashore we notice that there is a lock on the door but we give it a knock anyway. No one at home. Never mind, we have a look around and find bones from a Whale. We heard that the man that lives here is a Hunter/Hermit. After the duck have gone from their nests with their young he takes the down and sells it.
There are alot of bird and different types
of duck around this area. They must feel secure around this man or they wouldn't lay their eggs around his house.
Taking up our anchor takes awhile. We have a tonne of kelp on the blades. I would pick it and put it in the bath with hot water but Lars said we have too much junk already. It takes both Urban and Thomas to remove it all and it takes at least 5 minutes to get it all off.
The winds are with us when we leave Bellsund. Quick! Get up the sails before the wind disappears. Talk about fast, both sails are up in record time, but alas, late afternoon we go from 8 knots to 2.7 knots. Boy oh boy! We did get a few hours which is good isn't it.
We pass on the way the Russian/Ukrain village. It looks like no-one lives there but we know that's not true. We feel that it might be unwise to visit so we just go by them.
Longyearbyn in sight! We are moored with the large cruise ships and
Tour boats. There is a little Guest pontoon which can take two boats our size.
(More news about Longyearbyn in my next Blogg)
We are about to leave and at the moment I am not up to date with my Log Book. When we visit Longyearbyn next week, I promise to have lots and lots of lovely news, with lots of lovely pictures of what we have seen and done.
So hope you will join me next week with more to follow.
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