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Published: July 14th 2007
7th July Saturday
Mariaholmen/Bellsund - Longyearbyn
Today everyone is up early. We want to visit the Hermit on the Island not far from us. Six in our dinght must look very strange. It’s a fair size boat but six audults is a bit much. We took a short cut to the Hunter/Hermits home. We only just made it, the tide was going out. We knocked on jis door but there was no answer, it wa also bolted so today we were unlucky. We believe he collects feathers from the nests of the Eider ducks who have their young around his area.
It’s going to be a long day as we’re going the rest of the way to Longyearbyn. At first we have no wind so sailing turns to motoring. Later in the day the winds change and we put up the sails really fast. We don’t want to loose a minute of wind. We pass the Russian/Urkraine village and looking through the binoc’s it looks like no-one lives there but we know that there are people there.
We’ve arrived finally. It’s taken 2 months to get here and 2580 nautical miles
and Viola and I are leaving next Sunday but our group will continue after us and I am hoping they will write all that they see and do when we leave.
8th July Sunday
No one is in a hurry today. We visted the town center last night. From where we are moored it takes about 20 mins to get to the shops. We went after dinner and found an unusual Pub. It has so many different Whisky’s and Brandy’s that to count them was unbelievable. Urban thought they many have every sort of Whisky throughtout the World but no, they didn’t have a couple he asked for that were from The Isle of Skye.
Today we tried to get Internet at a Hotel called Polar Base Camp but we couldn’t get connected so Lars and I tried at the Radisson and finally got it to work. I was able to send one part of my Travel Blogg, tomorrow I’ll send the other half. We did some shopping while we were there. It was quite
a walk to get it back to the boat.
Tomorrow is Viola’s day in the “Spot Light”. She’s going to be on Gothenburg Radio again. We missed it on Friday, but not tomorrow. They have been following our trip to Svalbard and Viola is their reporter.
We had a lovely Buffet at the Radisson. It was different in that we got to try Whale and Reindeer Tougue. Both are hard to discribe and not something that I would like to eat every day. At least we can now say that we have tried them if anyone asks.
9th July Monday
Longyearbyn to Ny Aalesund (Poolepynten)
Lars and I biked into town, Lars to see the Sysslemannen (he’s like the Governor of Svalbard) and I went to the Radisson to finish my Travel Blogg so that it’s up to date. Now I can continue writing about the rest of our trip so that when we come back to Longyearbyn I’m able to just put in my Blogg what we’ve done on my last week. I will
be keeping it up afterwards as Lars has promised to write everything that goes on after Viola and I leave on Sunday.
Before departure we filled up with Diesel. Everyone has said that the winds are difficult where we’re heading and that we will do alot of motoring. The weather is glorious today. It’s sunny and clear in the sky. We’ve decided to go directly to Ny Aalesund so it’s going to be a long sail/motor again.
Before leaving this area we stop at an Island called Poolepynten where we’ve heard are alot of Waluses. We stop late in the afternoon and take the dinghy in. There is a boat load of people already on the island and they have so many look-outs with rifles. One of them helps us ashore and behold, so many fat, smelly, beautiful Walrus all gathered together. Further up the beach we find a couple coming out of the water. The bigger one looks like the male. He has long white tusk’s and the smaller one, which
is the female has smaller tusk’s. Both struggle to get ashore and then rest, another struggle then a rest. Both of them at one time have what looks like a little kiss and cuddle then carry on struggling up the beach. In the water are other Walruses and they look like they are guarding the other ashore. They start snorting at us when we get too close.
4 am Tuesday
Ny Aalesund - Gravnest
We arrive early morning at Ny Aalesund.
It was a long trip from Longyearbyn but we made it. We all took a couple of hours to rest then went into the village. This is the most Northern Community in the World and has a Post Office that is the last one before the North Pole. It’s 79 degree’s North. I bought lots of Post Cards so that all my family and friends have a least one card from this last outpost. We’re not staying long but the fees are terrible. First the Harbour Master asks for 560 NOK per person but Lars talked him into only taking 100 NOK per person instead. We didn’t even stay one day.
We left Ny Aalesund after we had post all our cards. It’s time to carry on.
Just outside Ny Aalesund. We hadn’t been going long, maybe 45 mins, we see our very first close up of a Whale. It’s so close to our boat we could nearly touch them. It is what we think is 2 Minke Whales and they seem to like staying around this area. We follow them for a while. So all we have left is a Polar Bear to see. We tried to put up the sails but the wind wasn’t in our favour. I tried to cook Gratinerade Potaoes and end up with cream everywhere. I ended up cooking the last bit on top instead of in the oven.
We arrived at Gravnest and were called on the VHF radio by a woman who is staying in the cabin which we could see from our boat. “There’s a Polar Bear in the area........” We couldn’t believe it! In 24 hours we’ve seen Walrus, Whales, Snow Foxes and now a Polar Bear.
It was a Male as he was by himself. We watched him as he came towards the beach not far from us. He wasn’t white as we thought they would be but cream. He has a black nose and dark eyes. He must be huge because where we are he’s a big mass of fur. We see he has a collar on, which we assume was how the people in the cabin knew he was around. From the boat we can also see those very sharp claws which would rip us to pieces if we were near him.
Lars had just put out his light when Viola came in and said that there were more Polar Bears out side near the beach. It was a Mother with 2 very young cubs. It’s just unbelievable that we have seen 4 Polar Bear in just a few hours.
It was sure hard to sleep after all the excitement. We heard later that after we saw them disappear the Mother had dug out the snow near where the cabin was. She laid down on her back and
the babies started to feed from her. All 3 fell asleep not more than 50 meters from the cabin where the women were. They took some very nice photo’s.
11th July Wednesday
Gravnest - Virgohamna
Everyone asks if we all had the same dream at 01:00am this morning. No! 3 Polar Bears, Mother and her 2 cubs. Beautiful, fantastic.
Today I’m taking it easy. Everyone else is ashore having a look around. There are some graves of what we think are Whalers. It’s all cornered off so that tourists can’t walk all over the graves. From where I am, I can see our group going over to the same ridge where we saw the Male Polar Bear yesterday. That’s when I notice that no-one has thought to take a radio with them. I just hope none of the Bears come back.
Well everyone got back in one piece. They had visited the women staying in the small cabin near where the Bear’s had walked. They also had visitors from 2 guys who were
over from another camp. They were looking at birds in the area.
This evening we are going to the Site where André, a very important Swede, set up his ballon to cross the North Pole. It is exactly 110 years old that he started his journey. He went the wrong way and it was over 30 years before he and his crew were found. They had all starved to death. There were other men who had used the same are but at different times.
12th July Thursday
Virgohamna - Blomstrandhamna
Lars and Urban have talked me into going ashore. I don’t feel very safe, I keep thinking we may meet up with a Polar Bear and I’m not sure what I would do if one came along.
I looked at the ruins of Lord Arnold Pike’s house. He built a wooden house to live in over a winter. He wanted to know what it would be like. There is also alot of bricks and pottery pipes that are broken all over the place. They were made at Dolton Factory in Lambert, England.
It’s perfect sailing winds. We’ve turned back towards Longyearbyn. Viola and I have to be there by Saturday. We had planned to go to Signehamna in Krossfjorden, but after talking to Tom and Dorothy from Joyant, Lars changed course and started sailing to Blomstrandhamna where they will be. It might be the last time of this journey that Viola and I will meet them, so it would be nice to visit one last time. We have had dinner on the way.
Lars reckons I have my sea legs and can do just about anything.
Joyant crew came over for drinks after we moored. I’ve asked Dorothy and Tom to give me a ring after they take up their boat in Hernaen, and before they catch their flight home to the States.
13th July Friday
Blomstrandhamna to Trygghamna
By the time everyone got up Joyant and her crew had already left. Viola, Uno and I
were up early as Viola was interviewed again, for Gothenburgs Radio, about our trip around Svalbard. It went really well and on Monday Karin from Gothenburgs Radio will ring Viola again. After the interview was over we all went back to our cabins for a couple of hours.
We started to get under way before 11:00am, but the anchor and chain were thick with mud which took ages to clean off.
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