Environment/Nature

Setting sails

2 October – Ymerbukta

Antigua, Ymerbukta, Alaska, animals, Antigua, Arctic, Arctic Ocean, autumn, climate change, coal, Esmarkbreen, glacier, gratitude, hiking, ice, jigsaw, Longyearbyen, mine number 2, mines, mining, Norway, Oslo, perimeter, photography, puzzle, Recherchebreen, Recherchefjorden, Roads, scale, scree, slopes, snow, Spitsbergen, Svalbard, tall ship, talus, The Arctic Circle, travel, walkabout, water, west, winter, words, world, Ymerbukta

Tall ship Antigua at anchor in Ymerbukta

We left port yesterday afternoon with the motor but put up the sails quickly and fairly flew across the fjord. We helped with the sails – a token effort by the guests. Ropes everywhere, sails pulled up front to back and staysail in the bow. The wind was high and rough and almost everyone felt it. I did well outside but inside was pretty queasy. Eating helped and the food was good. I didn’t eat a lot and went to bed almost immediately.

Someone pounded on the door to say the aurora was visible. Lena (my cabinmate) and I got dressed and went out but there was little activity and after 10 minutes I went back to bed. By the time we went up for the aurora the crew had pulled down the sails and dropped anchor in a quiet arm of the fjord with a wall to protect us from the wind bombing out of the north. The water was calm, and the boat rocked gently for the night.

We did a landing this morning and a hike up the glacier edge. The grays and greens and blues are satisfying and intense. The glacier was growling and grumbling. Thunder came from within the glacier, massive rolling peals as it shifted and creaked into a new position. It calved audibly but we couldn’t see it from where we were, though we watched the wave from the calved iceberg cross the bay and wash up onto the shore.

The landscape is wide open and at the same time constrained within the walls of glaciers and the surrounding mountains. The beach is gravel and sand with gently lapping water. There is a tide, but it seems very small. Black guillemots in their winter attire were on the water and a few purple sandpipers along the beach. Two seals followed us when we first landed; they barked at us.

Antigua, Ymerbukta, Alaska, animals, Antigua, Arctic, Arctic Ocean, autumn, climate change, coal, Esmarkbreen, glacier, gratitude, hiking, ice, jigsaw, Longyearbyen, mine number 2, mines, mining, Norway, Oslo, perimeter, photography, puzzle, Recherchebreen, Recherchefjorden, Roads, scale, scree, slopes, snow, Spitsbergen, Svalbard, tall ship, talus, The Arctic Circle, travel, walkabout, water, west, winter, words, world, Ymerbukta

Human ants cross the gravel outwash plain at the foot of Esmarkbreen

Antigua, Ymerbukta, Alaska, animals, Antigua, Arctic, Arctic Ocean, autumn, climate change, coal, Esmarkbreen, glacier, gratitude, hiking, ice, jigsaw, Longyearbyen, mine number 2, mines, mining, Norway, Oslo, perimeter, photography, puzzle, Recherchebreen, Recherchefjorden, Roads, scale, scree, slopes, snow, Spitsbergen, Svalbard, tall ship, talus, The Arctic Circle, travel, walkabout, water, west, winter, words, world, Ymerbukta

Arctic Circle residents hike along glacier’s edge

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