Saturday, September 22, 2012

Day 14, Reykjavík

A bit delayed I have now managed to post the last day of my trip ;0)
We arrived in the early morning on September 19th at the pier in Reykjavík. The weather was still GREAT, sunny, no wind and around 7 degrees. Most of our passengers went a shore here, but one passenger decided to continue on the next trip to Bergen in Western Norway.
My girlfriend, Anna came on board and had breakfast with us. We brought a dog sledge with us from Greenland which my father had built in 1964 when he was at SIRIUS and later on the sledge was modified and used to transport us children after a snow scooter when we lived in Mestersvig, 1975-78. The sledge was taken apart and stuffed into our small Golf (long sledge!!!) and we drove it to our garage at our apartment in Seltjarnarnes. Here it will be stored until we one day return to Iceland. It will then be refurbished and painted and brought into the living-room where it will serve as a nostalgic icon of my familys´ time in Greenland and as a couch.

We will now stay in Iceland, having vacation until the 28th and then it´s more or less back to work.

The blogg will be updated with photographs as soon as I get the pictures sorted and then the blog will be more or less dead until I go to Greenland again (most likely next year ;0))

Thank you for following my blogg :D

my other blogg,   will off course be updated

Northern lights over Reykjavík

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Day 13, Grundafjörður

Early in the morning we sailed into the harbour of the small fishing village of Grundafjörður on the Snæfellsnes peninsula. The sun was shining and only a few clouds covered the strato-volcano, Snæfellsjökull.
During the day different groups on the ship departed on boat tour from the picturesque fishing village of Stykkishólmur and different bus excursions around the peninsula. The weather was GREAT all day long with no wind and beautiful warm sun. What a fantastic end to a magnificent journey from Svalbard along the coast of NE Greenland ending in Iceland.

To night we sail southwards to Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland where our guests and some of our guides will disembark and a new journey will begin...

Day 12, Isafjörður

During the night we had easy waves so we could have a good sleep over the Denmark Strait!
Clouds were hanging over some of the mountains around Isafjörður, but the weather looked fairly well. The mountains were all covered in snow. Later on I found out how much! I had do do a hike with a group of the passengers, from Isafjörður over the mountains to Hnifsdalur. Due to heavy snow, some where up to our knees and slippery and steep conditions our guide decided to make another tour. We had a great trip with mostly sun walking around in snow for almost 4 1/2 hrs with great views to Isafjörður and the surrounding mountains and fjords.
During the evening we left the pier and set course for Grundafjörður...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Day 11, Scoresbysund and the Denmark Strait

Today we visited the Greenlandic settlement of Scoresbysund. The town was established in 1924 by Ejnar Mikkelsen. Approximately 460 people live in this settlement, most of them Greenlandic. The weather was not the best, low clouds with a few rain drops. During the morning the wind picked up but everyone seemed to be enjouying a stroll on land and to sea all that the town had to offer. For a Sunday morning there was an impressive amount of people out-doors to give us a good day in Scoresbysund. Several puppies were also loose, roaming around trying to get some attention, which was not difficult!
Mid day we lifted anchour for the last time in East Greenland and set a course southbound for the Denmark Strait and Iceland...

Day 10, Alpefjord and Mestersvig

Early this morning the FRAM dropped anchour in the bottom of Alpefjorden. This fjord is a part of the Staunings Alps, a very alpine and mountainous area. Some of the peaks are over 2800 m and the landscape is impressive! We lowered our polarcirkel boats and the passengers got a cruise a long on of the glaciers terminating in the fjord. The glacier actually two glaciers mergin together. The names are the Gully Gletcher and the Sefstrøms Gletcher. The weather was a bit cloudy with light snow showers on the summits. As we sailed out of the fjord and into Segelselskapets fjord the sun broke through the cloud cover and a spectacular rock face with many different layers of rocks in different colours were visible to everyone.
We dropped anchour in Nyhavn, the harbour facilities of the Mestersvig area at1600 hrs. After landing at the pier with our polarcirkels we were greeted by three of people living at the Danish Naval Guard at Mestersvig. Mestersvig was built when a lead and zinc mine was opened in 1950s‘. They needed a harbour to ship the ore to Europe and an air-field. The mine closed in 1961 but the air-field continued to operate for the people in Scoresbysund. In 1985 the air-field was closed down as Scoresbysund got their own air-field in Constable Pynt. The military then took over the air-field in Mestersvig and has since „guarded“ the air-field with normaly two former members of the SIRIUS patrol, Station Nord or the other branches of the Danish Military.

Unfortunately I did not have time to go to the air-field to take a look :0(

Friday, September 14, 2012

Day 9, Blomsterbugten and Ella Ø

Early this morning we landed at Blomsterbugten. The weather was cloudy for the first time on this trip but there was no wind. We got everyone ashore and after a short talk about the Geology of the area people had the chance to have a look at the old trappers hut, Varghytten (wolf hut). The hut is very small but good enough on a stormy day, for two people. Several of our guests made a small walk further inland so they could get a good overview over Noa Sø, a lake coloured red by the sediments of the surrounding mountains with an age between 600 and 1000 mill yr.

During lunch we sailed slowly towards Ella Ø, passing by fantastic and spectacular Geology of the fjords. Huge ice-bergs were littered in the fjords and some where even grounded.
Getting closer to Ella Ø, we saw smoke from a fire and eventually people. It was the remaining eight members of the Sirius patrol. They had been stationed here for a search and rescue exercise and are to be picked up by a
Danish naval ship in the morning. they were so kind to let us come into the station and have a look around. We made a 45 min walking tour for our guests and the two dogs even tangled along on the first round. in the mean time, five of the Sirius guys went out on the Fram to look at the ship and ended up in the jacuzzi on deck 7!
While we were at Ella Ø, the sun came and we got perfect conditions. During the evening we lifted the anchor and sailed through Narhval sund, southbound for Alpefjord and Mestersvig...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Day 8, Waltershausen Gletcher and Strindberg

During the night the ship had slowly sailed through the pack-ice and had made it to the mouth of Nordfjord, where they had to use the forward looking sonar to measure the depth further in towards Waltershausen Gletcher. The glacier is 11 km wide and between 5 and 20 m high. The light and weather was great and cruising with the polarcirkel boats along the glacier front was a good way for our guests to see the scenery. The glacier was not very active but the were numerous seals in the water.

After a short lunch we sailed over to Strindberg, which took us only half an hour. One of our guides, Emanuel said "I see 15 foxes". Later on we found out that there were actually 17 foxes, eating on a carcass of a dead seal. Most of our guests made the walk over to this place to have a good look or a photo or two.
At Strindberg there are three huts. One is quite new and belongs to the Sirius patrol, then there is a Norwegian trappers hut and a Danish trappers hut. Strindberg has a good sized river with some of the best salmon/arctic charr fishing in the National Park. This time of the year it was still water in the river, unfortunately it was to late for us to fish since it is late autumn now.
The landing site was in shadows all the time we where there because the sun is lower on the sky now and high mountains are blocking the last rays. We made a hike to the lake further upstream, approx 9 km back and forth. Quite many guests joined us and we got a good view to the opposite side of the fjord and the inland part of Strindberg. Not to mention a good appetite;0)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Day 7, war, eskimos, ice and 4 polar-bears

Early this morning we lifted anchor at 0500 hrs and set course for the East side of Clavering Ö. At 0800 hrs we landed with the first boats on Dödemandsbugten (dead mans bay), named after all the dead people here!

There is the remnants of the first HQ of the North East Greenland Sledge patrol during the war. It consists of one main building and the foundations of two others. Two fortifications made of old fuel drums filled with rocks and sand are placed in the area, littered with .50 caliber cartridges. The station was built in 1943 but was moved to Daneborg in 1944.

Many eskimo ruins are in the area, most likely a couple of thousand years old.

Some of our guests saw 2 polar foxes and Dominique got some great shots;0)

At the moment we are sailing south in the pack-ice, trying to reach Nordfjord tonight...
Sailing in the ice we saw many polar-bear tracks on the ice, but now bears. Suddenly during dinner we heard polar-bear on the speaker, so everyone ran away from dinner and desert. The disapointment was big as we could not find the bear again, but a few of the passengers saw it.

Half an hour later the loudspeaker roamed again "Big pola-bear on the pack-ice" everybody ran out again and there it was! Not only one but two, three and four. It was a moder with 3 large cubs, which is very un-normal. Usually a mother bear only get 1-2 cubs and if she get 3, usually they get skinny and die. What a GREAT evening :0)

Day 6, Science and dogs

Today we visited the scientific station of Zackenberg. The station is beautifully situated amongst high mountains and the fjord. They even have one of the best salmon fishing rivers in Greenland ;0)
We did a walk up to the station, where i met a lot of people I know!
The logistical personell  and some of the scientists gave us a tour on the station.
On out way back to the landing site some of the guides, my parents and I waded over the Zackenberg river, most of us without getting wet and walked for approx 25 min to get to the old trapper station Zackenberg.
All day long the weather was beautiful, with cool, crisp air.

On the landing site the other guides and tourists had huge problems with falling water due to the tide, so we took a boat over there to help. This meant getting wet! Eventually after 1 1/2 hours of delay we had managed to get everyone out to the ship.

We sailed over to Daneborg, HQ of the Sirius patrol only 22 km away from Zackenberg. Anchour was dropped at 1600 hrs and after a quick lunch and some dry clothes we were ready to go ashore again.
The patrol only numbered 4 men now, as the others are on Ella Ö taking part in the SAREX exercise.
My good old friend, Anders from my time at Sirius gave a tour along with Jesper (with me the last year at Sirius) and Stian and Troels. I took the last group around on the station. We visited the dogs and saw the hole place.
After the tour we took the Sirius guys on board for some dinner and showed them the ship. The guys also brought a lot of souvenirs to sell to the passengers.
Late in the evening we said good bye and wished  the patrol a good winter...

Monday, September 10, 2012

Day 5, Land!!!

This morning when we woke up we had anchored at Myggbukta in NE-Greenland. This used to be a Norwegian trapper and radio station. It was also the place were Norway tried to occupy and area between 71-74 N, called Eirik den raudes land. This happened in 1931, but Norway lost in the international court in Haag in 1933. Since then the station has been used by travelleres in the national park and the Sirius patrol.

We had a wonderful day, the weather was great and Steffen and I even went on a hike for a couple of hours. We saw both arctic hares and muskox aka hippie-cow.

During lunch we started sailing north towards Danmarkshavn, but around Kap Broer ruys we had haevy pack-ice slowing us severly down. We had to change our plans and have just anchored at the research station, Zackenberg where we will make a landing tomorrow. It seams like I know quite a bunch of people here too;0)

After lunch we will then sail to Daneborg where we will do another landing and meat all my Sirius friends...

I ended my evening with sitting in the hot out-door jacuzzi sailing slowly through Young Sound, watcing the lights at my old station, Daneborg :0), try beating this!!!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Day 4, in the ice

Today is has been marvelous weather, as usual in NE-Greenland. The guides have been giving lectures on different topics and different languages, as German and English. Olav and I also had an unformal discussion about the Norwegian annexation of a part of NE-Greenland, called  "Eirik den raudes land".

Most of the day we have been following the edge of the pack-ice. We saw flocks of seals, a whale blowing in the distance, polar bear tracks on the ice flow and birds (some sort of sea-gull ;0)).
At the end of the day we finally turned the ship westwards towards the coast. Right now we are south of Bontekoe Ö heading for Myggbukta where we will make a landing tomorrow to stretch our legs.

Right now we had a beautiful sun set, but the days are getting shorter by 20 min each day so the light is fading quickly. The ice we have been sailing through all day has loosened up and the mountains are rising up from the sea.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Day 3, at sea

Today we have been at sea. This means lectures. I gave a lecture about the Sirius sledge patrol in English and in German (with a translater). the weather was a bit cloudy in the early day, but later on the sun came and the clouds disappeared. The pack-ice from the polar basin is moving south at the moment, making our way to the coast of Greenland more difficult. At the moment we are steaming south to try to go on the inside of the pack-ice. Hopefully we will be able to do this and arrive at Danmarkshaven someday on Monday... time will show ;0)

My paretns seem to enjouy the trip, eating a lot of wonderful food and enjoying lectures and the company of their fellow passengers.

This night we have to host and attend a fashion show, not the favourite of the guides to try out different clothes in front of everyone hehe

Day 2, Winter is coming...

In the early morning of day two on the Fram we arrived at the small scientific settlement of Ny-Ålesund at 78° 55´N. Ny-Ålesund has not always been a scientific settlement. It started out as a Norwegian mining town, owned and Kings Bay. The mining here was the tertiary coals which were produced some 50-55 million years ago, when Svalbard was on a more southerly and warmer latitude.

Mining commenced in 1917, disrupted by WW2. There were many difficulties with mining the coals here, due to a lot of faults and folds in the bedrock and the fact that methane gas could accumulate in the mines which resulted in numerous explosions and casualities. Until mining was closed down in 1962, 76 souls had perished. The high number of casualities as well as difficulties with mining and bad working conditions led to the fall of the Norwegian Gerhardsen government.

After being a “dead” town for some years (1964), scientific work started up in Ny-Ålesund and until present day has grown into a popular and important community. During the summer month up to 200 scientists and logistical personell have their daylie work here. In the winter months most people leave and left behind is a small handful of around 20-30 logistical, technical staff and scientists which most likely will enjoy the quietness and tranquillity of this magnificent landscap. Because this is a truely magnificent place with a spectacular scenery to the 3 kroner (the three crown) which are some pyramide shaped mountains formed during the Carboniferous (290-360 mill yr). These mountains consist of chalk and anhydrite and dolomites deposited from the drying up of salt-water lagoons.

Large calving glaciers are at the end of the fjord as the magnificent Kronebreen and Kongsbreen.

The settlement has the history of Amundsen, Ellsworth and Nobile which flew to the North Pole in Airships in 1926 (Norge) and in 1928 (Italia). The mast or tie-point of the large airships is still visible just outside the settlement

More than 20 000 tourists visit Ny-Ålesund every year, most of them come on smaller and larger cruis-ships, although there is a small air-port.


At 1600 hrs we cast anchor at Trinity harbour at Graveneset in Magdalenefjorden on the NW corner of Spitsbergen. This is the same are as Willem Barentz came to when he discovered Svalbard in 1596. The name Spitsbergen means “Spitze berge” or jagged peaks which we also recoqnize today when we visit this place. There are approximately 130 whalers graves here, hence the name Gravneset, which means the grave point. During many centuries from the 1600 and until the 1800 several nations where hunting the whale in the waters of Svalbard. Mostly it was Dutch and British whalers later on smaller nations as Denmark-Norway.  In the early days hunting started in the bay in small rowing boats, later on they had to move further out with their ships and eventually they were hunting in the open sea and cocking the blubber and skinning the whale on the ships. The whale stock almost perished in the waters around Svalbard.

The weather was quite good, only a cloud cover on some of the summits and with the top of the jagged peaks covered in sugar snow.


After Magdalenafjorden we steamed NE through Smeerenburgfjorden and to the island of Moffen. We arrived here at hrs 2323, in twilight so it was difficult to see the walrus on the beach. A number of guest stood on the front deck in the occasional snow showers to try to get a glimpse of this animal.

Day 1, Off we go...

The beginning of my summer vacation and also the beginning of the cruise to Greenland and Iceland.
In the early morning the expedition team and I went to the shooting range to freshen up on our abilities of using a fire-arm.
Our passengers arrived from 1200 hrs and we left the quay at 1400 hrs.
We started out from Longyearbyen to the Russian settlement of Barentsburg in beautiful weather.
In Barentsburg we walked a guided tour to see the town. The town has become muche cleaner since the first time I saw it in 2002. Old building have been torned down or got a new layer of insulation and colourful steel plates. They are even building the wolrds northern most brewerie ;0)
As we lef Barentsburg at 1945 hrs, the sun started to set and we sailed north, out of Isfjorden, turning right along the island Prins Karls Forland heading for Ny-Alesund...

good night

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Update of the pack-ice

Winter is coming, as well the pack-ice...


Tomorrow my parents and I will board the ship and head on a 14 day adventure ;0)


Today is my last day of work!
Tomorrow I will start my vacation. The first 14 days I will spend as a guide and lecturer onboard the MV Fram, a Norwegian cruise ship.
The journey starts in Longyearbyen, Svalbard. After a two days in this area we will head over to the NE coast of Greenland where we will do landings and look at the beautiful scenery. This is my back-yard, after living here as a little kid and being in the Sirius patrol for 3 1/2 years.
I have also been soo lucky that there was space onboard for my parents :D
Anna will be flying to Iceland to spend one month with her family.

I will try to update my blog during the trip if the internet conection is up and running ;0)