And we’re off exploring again. This time armed with cameras and drones and dinghy. First around icebergs.
We got a little close at times
But they seemed to like this particular ‘berg so they always made their way back
And this is the Fridtjovbreen glacier.
Here’rs Dr D ready for anything.
First stop was the other side of the little cove where we were anchored.
We weren’t sure what to make of this boat, it was built from oil drums. Unfortunately the metal doesn’t last very long in the cold.
Dr D and Captain H both had a go with the rifle. Just in case we get chased by polar bears.
They did pretty good too
Along the beach we found seals hung to dry on a massive stand (assumingly to keep out of reach of the polar bears)
Finally, there was enough calm ashore that we could play with my (our) drone!!! Meet Drone…
He’s friendly really. And provided fantastic entertainment (and distraction!) for the Arctic terns, who were already pretty unimpressed that we were invading on their territory! Fortunately Dr D is providing some good old fashioned protection in way of a dinghy paddle.
We took Drone and headed towards the other side of the bay and the glacier. Going ashore, we tried to have a bit of a hike but unfortunately there was a melting glacier in the way!
We motored a little further and went for a wonder along the shoreline instead, going almost under the glacier itself. Captain Haddock slowed down a bit in the mud…
And we flew the drone off an iceberg!!! Awesome 😛
We had a little group glacier selfie too – not sure why it had to be in the water…
After exploring the glacier we set off for the South side of the fjord, to an area called Ahlstrandodden. The area runs from a bay called Malbukta along the southern shore of Van Keulenfjorden, to Ingebrigtsenbukta. The headland itself is called Kvitfiskneset, which means “white whales point” in memory of the whales and hunting that took place. Right in the middle is an area called Fleur de Lyshamna where we landed first. Two landmarks site either end of the long beach. To the East, a trappers hut all closed up.
Here’s an arty photo of Hal – I think Dr D’s camera won 😉
We went for a wonder through the tundra up the hill. It was incredible how green the landscape was all of a sudden. Prime feeding ground for reindeer!
Then we jumped in the dinghy and headed right up to the other end of the beach to see the old grey seine whaling boats, incredibly well preserved in the cold climate.
These aren’t as old as the remains we saw up north, but served a similar purpose; they were used for hunting white whales in the 1930s. Large seine nets were tied to the land and transported out in the fjord with the rowboats. When the whales swam in they closed the seine and rowed it back to shore. Once the whales were trapped they were shot or lanced near land. It was awful imagining what the fjord must’ve looked like in those times.
We took Hal round the corner from Fleur de Lyshamna to Ingebrigtsenbukta, where there is am entire beach lined with whale bones, all piled up along the shore. Fortunately there was almost no wind so we anchored easily along the shore line and were able to look around. Not that we wanted to stay long – it was an incredible site but not particularly cheerful. On the other hand, I do love this photograph with the fog and the bones all lined up.
We tried to break into another cabin, Bamsebu (the Norwegians are excellent at remembering to shut the door behind them when they leave) and checked out some of the other remnants of past times along the beach and then headed to Calypsobyen – a happier place in so many ways!
This is what it looked like inside – we managed a peak through the windows. So cosy!
Here’s Hal quietly waiting just off the beach to take us to Calypsobyen…