NATURE'S NOTES

- monthly bulletins of seasonal interest 

- commissioned articles undertaken 

Peace Dove of the Arctic

Day 11 & 12 Kapp Lee and Negribreen After a smooth over-night’s passage south, we sailed into Freemansund and beautiful Arctic light early this morning. Russet-brown slopes rising steeply from the beach with distant reindeer busy grazing on the mosses without a care of our presence. A Norwegian ‘octaganol’ hunting hut, from the 17th century, the only indication of man’s past on these shores. Zodiacs were lowered for the short transition onto land, where a small haul-out of walrus enjoyed warmth from the morning sun. In old Norse, they were called “whale-horses”, and the whalers believed them to be a cross between oxen and whale, a very puzzling animal indeed. Females and males alike were

Rubbish........

Polar Journals - Day 7 & 8 We were woken early this morning, a sound reminiscent of a horse chewing on its bridal, as “Expedition” chewed on her anchor at Phippsøya. From the breakfast room we viewed a stark, barren landscape, a frigid mountain plateau, covered with a patchwork of snow between steep curving valleys. An old trappers’ hut the only indication of man ever setting foot on the island. The whole scene gave the impression it was bereft of wildlife. The zodiacs were launched and we cruised along the edge of a rocky shoreline and found a small haul-out of Atlantic walrus. They were inactive, warming their enormous hulks on land before returning to the chilly seas, so we continued on

Encounter with ice and yellow fur.......

Polar Journals - Day 5 & 6 MS “Expedition” sailed a northerly course throughout the night, making the great distance to Liefdefjorden, before anchoring deep inside the fjord. After a hearty breakfast, we prepared ourselves for the first zodiac experience of the tour. The weather was glorious, sunny with no wind, the sea calm and the scenery awesome; jagged snow-covered mountain peaks and two vast glaciers which I remember from an earlier visit in 2004 as being one single ice front! Monacobreen glacier was named in honour of Duke Albert I of Monaco, who first mapped this area in 1906/07. With the zodiacs lowered we cruised a path, weaving through the field of assorted ice, constantly fed by t

Into the Arctic......

Polar Journals - Day 3 & 4 Oslo airport was as busy as usual this morning as we checked-in for our flight to Svalbard. The three-hour flight was uneventful and we landed on time at Longyearbyen airport. This was in complete contrast to the busy terminal at Oslo. Though it did seem busy at the time for the most northerly airport deep in the Arctic. The terminal building was small and packed with travellers from across the globe. Luggage reclaimed, off the single carousel, and we were soon on the transfer bus for the short journey into town and the hotel Funken. Once inside, this was a most splendid establishment and would not have been out of place in any capital around the world. Eager to ex

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