Spitsbergen 2013

An online log of Atlantis' travels and adventures to Svalbard

Back at Sea

Posted by admin on June 12, 2013

We are back at sea, and back in comms. Remarkably, at 78° 20' North, within minutes of leaving the Adventfjorden where Longyearbyen is tucked away from the worst of the weather, our trusty satcom terminal once again locked onto its geostationary equatorial friend and the bits and bytes started flowing once again. We didn't expect anything in the fjord; nor did any alternative satellite service work either. Now, our link is back and blog readers will have to put up with our ramblings once again - for a while - we really do not know how far north this 'channel' will last. The same can be said for the ice! The most recent ice chart (above) shows a narrow channel of open water leading north along the west coast of Svalbard which we hope shall allow us the opportunity to extend our travels towards the northern tip of the archipelago. Once there, we can make a judgement about whether the ice is sufficiently open to permit us to round the northern most point and complete a circumnavigation of Spitzbergen or Svalbard as a whole. En route, we have places to go and much to explore.

Heading out

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Venturing North

Posted by admin on June 11, 2013

"The time has come, the walrus said...." and so it is for us and we very much hope to meet the walrus in the flesh within a few days.  After a few days incommunicado whilst conducting the necessary arrival procedures now that we are here in Svalbard, we have permit (to journey further), rifle (mandatory to defend, in extremis, against polar bears), detailed charts (where they exist), fuel and the necessary provisions, forecasts, ice maps etc etc etc that we shall require as we venture further north. 

Our plans now are to depart Longyearbyen tomorrow (Wednesday) and spend one or two nights within the Isfjord - the fifty+ mile long fjord which punctuates the western coastline of Spitzbergen; the largest island of the Svalbard group.  After that, we shall head north along the western coast to see where we get to.  Much will depend on weather, ice conditions and other factors.  This is what we came for and we are looking forward to it.

It marks a different style to the expedition.  Hitherto, we have been in 'passage-making mode'.  Working watches 24 hours a day we have been trying to cover the ground from UK to here in a safe, speedy and generally seamanlike fashion.  Now our forays are likely to be a series of long days inter-linking seldom visited fjords, bays, islands and anchorages.  Our appetites have been whetted by a visit to the Svalbard museum to get a timely reminder of the history, wildlife, birds, flora and fauna we are likely to encounter.  Relics of Airships, whaling, mining, abandoned endeavour and some extraordinary people will provide the framework of our stories; punctuated throughout, of course, by the constants of weather, ice, wildlife and more. 

Comms may be difficult but we shall attempt to re-connect our satellite terminal to its orbitting hub once we are out of the fjord.  It may not be possible as we are already outside the operating range.  If so, we shall try to get updates back by 'other means'.  If necessary, the tall tales, photos and anecdotes may have to wait until we are back online.  We shall do our best but they'll be worth waiting for we are sure.

Before departure, we have now explored much of what Longyearbyen has to offer, will eat ashore this evening and plan to slip lines by midday tomorrow.    Atlantis and crew are in good form and ready for the next phase of our trip.

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Live Webcam!

Posted by admin on June 10, 2013

Using the power of the interwebby thing, for a short time only, we are able to bring you live pictures of Atlantis safe at her mooring in Longyearbyen.  There is a constant coming and going of some fascinating craft.  Visit our 'Where is Atlantis' page and scroll down for more. 

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We are on top of the world

Posted by admin on June 9, 2013

Something of an exaggeration, we admit, but it does describe how pleased we are to have made it safely to the start point of the next phase of our expedition.  At 0110 on Sunday 9th June, after a cracking day's sail along the 50 or s miles of the Isfjord, we brought Atlantis alongside in Longyearbyen; the capital and administrative centre of Svalbard.   The boat and crew are all in one piece.  As expected, comms are now difficult so more follows once we have established a reliable internet connection.  In the meantime, we may just manage a wee dram to mark our arrival.

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Imminent Arrival

Posted by admin on June 8, 2013

Entering Isfjord.  This link likely to be unavailable in fjord - suprising its still working here.  Longyearbyen in approx 4 hours.

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