2023-04-14 ARRIVAL LONGYEARBYEN
Greetings from Longyearbyen. Here a clip from my arrival in Longyearbyen and before embarcing MV Villa.
2023-04-15: EMBARCING MV VILLA
The provisions have been taken onboard, the vessel is bunkered up and the passengersarer on their way.
2023-04-17: NEW ÅLESUND
After a couple of short stops at the Lilliehööks glacier and July 14th Bay on Svalbard's west coast, we went straight up towards the pack ice. Met by quite a few walruses, seals and a few polar bears. The combined picture from the maps and downloaded satellite images predicted that the limit of the pack ice could be expected at the northwestern tip of Svalbard. This was not correct. Had to work ourselves up to latitude N 80 deg 20 min's before we reached the pack ice. After completion of planned filming, headed for New Ålesund - the world's northernmost settlement.
2023-04-19: POLAR PLUNGE
Today, the 19 april, the First Polar Day occurred up here in the Arctics. What’s the big deal, you might ask. Well,, it is the first day when there is sunlight 24 hrs a day. When that said, it did not start out very well. Two a clock in the morning, when we were passing between Prins Karls Forland and Oscar the second land on Spitsbergen, the wind increased from 4 m/s to 24 m/s within an hour which created vawes up to 7 meters. So, we had to interrupt the route plan, and seek protection in Isfjorden. But as sudden as the wind hit us, as suddenly it disappeared later on in the day. Whereafter we went North to the Dickson Fjord, where we invited our passengers for a Polar Plunge. Two very brave passengers took the chance and I say - Respect (!).
2023-04-22: MANY THANKS..
..for all the congratulations on my birthday. Even though it's a bit "bity" and cold right now up here on Svalbard (-15 C), the inside is warm. We are right now berthed in Longyearbyen, awaiting the passengers for the next expedition starting on Friday 28th. Gives us time to get the provisions onboard and bunker up in a controlled manner. Stay tuned =)!
2023-04-24: CREPES SUZETTE..
..was a dessert on the menu a couple of evenings ago. Have enclosed a video clip showing when Francois, our French Chef du Cuisine, is in a pancake frying mode.
The story behind Crepes Suzette is just as interesting. According to legend, it was created by accident when the famous French chef Henri Charpentier prepared a dessert for Prince Edward (the future Edward VII) during a visit to Monte Carlo in 1885. By accident, Charpentier set fire to the Drambuie added to the pancake. The clock ticked and it had to be served as it was - unplanned flambéed. But it was so appreciated that Edward asked Charpentier what the dessert was called. He quickly came up with the name "Crepes Edward", whereupon Edward asked Charpentier to rename it Crêpes Suzette, after his table lady - a young French woman in the party. Believe it or not =)!
2023-04-30: WHAT ABOUT THE POLAR BEARS?
Are Polar bears they as dangerous as people say? And how many are there - are they becoming more or fewer? The warnings around Longyearbyen on Svalbard are no joke. Onboard MV Villa, we don't take one single step on either the ice or land up here without someone in the group having a fully loaded gun in his/hers right hand. Fact is that it is illegal to not wear a gun outside the Longyearbyen settlement. So there are guns everywhere. To the extent that there are signs out side shops and restaurants demanding to not bring them inside. It is however well organised with safes for storage around the place. No studies exist to suggest that the polar bear population is declining (according to the Global Warming Policy Foundation). The bears don't starve, they don't drown and there are no signs of cannibalism. To the contrary, it seems that the polar bear population increases with reduced summer ice. Ice that is replaced by an extended "open-water season" and thinner sea ice. Something that seems to be in their favour. The world population is now around 32,000 bears, of which around 3,500 are in Svalbard.
2023-05-17: SUM UP OF THE ARCTIC EXPEDITION 2023
We have now left the pack ice behind us and are heading south towards Longyearbyen. We are today passing the 14 July Glacier on Northwestern Spitsbergen. Am flying home on Sunday. Have attached a video clip which sum up the events of the last weeks, to the tune of "Roar like thunder, Bröder". The song was performed on a warm summer evening in 1905 by 65,000 Swedes with their tears streaming down their cheeks when sang out their grief outside King Oscar II's summer residence, shortly after the dissolution of the Norwegian-Swedish union was a fact. For the same reason, many Norwegians sing today, May 17, "Yes, we love this country" with tears of happines. Regardless, today we rejoice with our Norwegian brothers and sisters on their national day 😀!
2023-05-19: A TRIPPING POLAR BEAR
Saw yesterday a polar bear that tripped. It seemed to like it. It even tried to get a little extra speed. I would have done that too. I mean, when you're still on it 😊.
2023-05-20: THE WALRUS COLONY ON PRINS KARLS FORLAND
The walruses on Prince Karls Forland were early this year. Here some clips from yesterday's landing. They live largely on mussels. Since a walrus grows as big as a smaller passenger car and can weigh up to two tons, it probably means that there is a lot of that stuff up here. Likewise because the walrus population is growing at an tremendous rate. From a two-digit number just a few dozen years ago to over 4,000 today. The walrus is one of the most charming animals of them all up here. If one day I were to start believing in reincarnation (against all odds), I probably wouldn't have said no to becoming a walrus =). But, now it is destination Longyearbyen that applies. Flying home tomorrow. After a spring of the cooler kind in both the Antarctic and the Arctic, I'm looking forward to eventually being able to pick out both shorts and short sleeves =).
RECENTLY ON TV4:
The Arctic Expeditions 2023
Log book and video clips from the expedition yacht Villa in the Arctics during Spring 2023:
2022-11-06: End of game
NANSEN EXPLORER EXPEDITIONS
Expedition Log book
2022-10-09: TV highlights