I am the egg man…

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We arrived at Poolepynten, which is about halfway down Prins Karls Forland, around 1pm on the 21st, so a day after we’d left our north pole. There was a boat of tourists ashore as we arrived but apart from a slight incident with their dinghy drifting away, they were off before we landed. I saved the day by picking up the radio and stuttering my way through a conversation with the boat driver: “Better moments better moments this is hal hal” … … Oh yeah – “over” “Hal Better moments over” “Hi um yes uh can we switch to a working channel. Oh uh maybe channel 6 … … over” It went on like this but eventually I got the message across. Yes your dinghy has floated away. No we can’t pick it up immediately as it will take us about 15 minutes to inflate our dinghy. Yes you’d better lift your anchor and get it before it drifts out to sea. Your welcome. (maybe I should write it out before I say it next time)… Oh yeah – Over. Going back to 16. (I’m a nightmare)

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Anyway, with Better Moments and their tour group heading off into the distance, we headed to the beach to find us some walruses. This cruise ship pottered by at some point. It was one of the smaller ones we saw. It’s impressive the places they get to!

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Walruses are fascinating to watch. They’re so sluggish and every movement looks oddly precise, almost melodramatic, like they know they’re being watched and want everyone to see how hard their lives are.

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The one on the right eventually decided she (or he) had had enough of us and just rolled down the sandy slope…

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And into the water below…

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Here we’re looking back across the beach and the lagoon to the rest of Prins Karls Forland. This island creats a channel off Svalbard running Isfjorden to about halfway to Magdalenefjorden. When the ice is bad, it provides protection to Isfjord, thus enabling boats to get in an out of Longyearbyen. When the ice gets really bad though, it stops boats from getting in at all!

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And Hal waiting patiently for us.

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Someone had made an effort to lay the bones out for people to see. None of them matched so we played spot the animal for awhile. Hopefully they were all animals…

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There was a hut, and a beacon, and some weird wooden tent thing that someone had constructed. It had no entrance.

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We spent awhile staring at it trying to figure out what it was…

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This was strewn outside the hut – maybe from an oven?

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We mostly just took loads of walrus photos though

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I tried to get in close…

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OK it doesn’t look that close, but it really was more the sufficient!

We headed off again and made it to Bellsund around 5:30am after two nights at sea with some absolutely lovely weather the whole way. We even had the spinnaker up for a bit!

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This is what it’s meant to be like up here! Captain Haddock got his legs out and I managed one sweater rather than three!

Snack time…

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Here’s some video footage of us floating along in the sun – the fishing rod out. 

I think our phone were working by this point too, which explains why Captain H and I haven’t looked up this entire time. I have to admit something here – we intentionally motored several miles out of our way into Isfjord to get a data connection from Barentsburg, the Russian mining town on the south side. Then, rather than just motor past and accept defeat when we lost connection again, we spun back and did circles until we’d finished checking and sending emails. It was pretty good going though, the last connection we’d had was a line in Ny Alesund that we could plug into a computer.

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Anyway, here’s a much more exciting photo of the midnight sun (or close enough to it).

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And some of the coastline going round to Bellsund.

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And this was motoring into Bellsund as the sun came round to the East again. The land on the right in Askeloya Island, which we passed to north of.

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We were vaguely aware that the tides flowing in and out of this little channel could get very strong, reaching up to 6 knots at their fastest. By some wonderful stroke of luck, we managed to get them right and were carried in beautifully with just a couple of knots under us. This is also one of the few places where there are actually channel markers!

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We anchored in a sheltered bay next to Fridtjovbreen glacier just inside Akseloya Island, which protects the entrance to the northern arm, Van Mijenfjorden. Time for a coffee and some breakfast… Then time for a sleep, maybe the coffee was a bad idea…

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