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Spitsbergen 2013

An online log of Atlantis' travels and adventures to Svalbard


Posted by admin on July 19, 2013

After leaving the Arctic Circle we made steady but slow progress along the inner channels that separate a myriad of small islands and skerries (rocky patches) along the north Norwegian coastline.  In many places the main channel narrows to only a few hundred metres; in some, to a mere few hundred feet. And yet, this is a busy motorway for the shipping traffic plying its trade along Norway's coastline. Most regular and recognisable are the Hurtigruten ferries whose twice daily schedule north and south is the equivalent of a long distance bus service. 

Other passing ships of all shapes and sizes kept us on our toes, as did the complex and constant route finding challenges. Nevertheless the tidal current, which never seemed to turn in our favour, meant we had plenty of time to admire the extraordinary scenery too.  If we had witnessed it on our way north we would likely to have been more fulsome - and attentive with our cameras.  That we were comparing it with the even more impressive and imposing geography of Svalbard has perhaps left us a tad blasé?  The continuing persistent drizzle and consistent low visibility hasn't helped either.  In contrast to the UK's heatwave, locals are rueing one of the worst summers in recent years. The last time we remember savouring sunlight of any real strength was in Magdalene Fjord at 79º North on Midsummer's Day.

Even Vikings need rescuing occasionally

At 2300hrs on Wednesday night we reached Rørvik.  It is a small town but with a good range of services within easy reach.  With a ten day non-stop passage to UK ahead of us, we stopped for fuel, water, gas, some fresh food and other last minute preparations. It also provided an opportunity to visit the town's interesting post-modernist waterfront 'Norwegs' museum.  In truth, it isn't really a museum - more an imaginative diorama of Norwegian heritage and origins.  Inside, it is well done and we are glad we stopped by. Outside, the architecture is apparently prize-winning - in the rain its predominantly concrete block structure was not so flattering although it's probably an acquired taste.  The picture below taken in better weather is not ours.    

At midnight on Thursday (18th July) we have set off once more. Our route now takes us along the southern Norwegian coast and into the North Sea where we hope we may RV with some of the warmth that UK has been enjoying (enduring?) recently. The downside is that we may then run out of wind.  Nevertheless, in ten days or so we hope to be in the English Channel.


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