Bjornaoya Island/Bear Island – July 16
Took a full 24 hours to reach Bear Island from the North coast of Norway which marks the halfway point on our voyage to Svalbard. Due to the warm gulf stream pushing north and the cold Arctic air blowing south it created a heavy mist. We drifted for a few hours waiting for the fog to lift and when it did massive cliffs with hundreds of birds perched on the ledge appeared. It took all our breaths away because we didn’t know what to expect and when we finally got to see the island, it was beautiful.
Spectacular scenery, a tiny island literally in the middle of nowhere, with cliffs rising straight up out of the sea.
My Grandmother and I were the only ones not wearing those ridiculous red coats, we were not about to be THOSE tourists haha. Instead we just packed our own clothes from Alaska and were so happy we did!
After slowly putting along the coastline, careful not to get too close as the island is protected and a minimum distance is enforced, a lone, rusty-as-hell ship caught my eye. Looks like it had washed ashore years ago, but I could still make out the haul and the ship still held up its cabin. I love shipwrecks, they’re just my favorite thing!
Anyone ever seen Bear Island?! I feel so lucky to have seen it, as it is so small and so lonely.
A Day at Sea, traveling form Bear Island to Svalbard.
Another long stretch of ocean to cross before seeing land. I can't help but have a full heart as I'm reading about ships that have made this same passage centuries before. In fact I named the Resolute Boutique after the HMS Resolute whose voyage made history along it's route in search of the lost Franklin Expedition who was looking for the Northwest Passage. I just love exploration, the unknown, the anticipation, and everything about the sea. I feel completely at home.
Oh look! Whales!
Hornsund, Svalbard - July 17
Cruising into the bay we are surrounded by glaciers. The air is crisp and cold, and there's definitely birds in the area! We can hear them all the way from the ship. Today we are to take zodiacs from the ship on shore to check out the sites and view the thousands of birds inhabiting the area!
Felt so good to hike a bit uphill and work out my sea legs.
As I got closer to the cliffs, more and more birds appear, how many are there?! The smell of these guys also get's stronger. They definitely own the place!
After taking in the sites and just breathing in that fresh Arctic air a little fox appeared and came so close to checking me out! I wasn't expecting to see him, but was happy I did. Animals are always welcome in my world!
Bellsund, Svalbard - July 17
Cruising into different bays and inlets and exploring Spitzberg one glacier at a time reminds me of home. I have been drinking French coffee with a scoop of chocolate ice cream all day every day and by now my favorite crew members bring me a mug as soon as I show up. Ahhh the luxurious life I'm currently living, only two more days of this and then it's back to brewing my own coffee in my kitchen with Axel pulling on my legs waiting for his sippy cup of warm milk.
This part of the trip was something I wasn't expecting, and couldn't have been a better surprise! We took zodiacs out to explore glaciers, cruise amongst the ice bergs and occasionally go to shore where we could.
I never get tired of skiff rides!
I so wish they would have let me drive, I would have been able to explore so much more! Maybe next time I'm in the Arctic I'll have my own skiff and can investigate for myself.
Longyearbyen, Svalbard - July 20
Practically the only town on Spitzberg, this little place is crazy. Why would anyone live this far in the Arctic? Turns out I actually have a friend who moved from Juneau to this little town of just over 2,100 residents! She runs boat loads of students to and from study destinations and she apparently can't get enough! Can't blame her, I'm a boat person myself.
There is a main drag through the town center with a few gift shops and a hotels. I stopped in for a traditional Scandinavian breakfast since they had wifi. The best part about these northern places is that you're expected to take your shoes off at the front entrance, so you immediately feel at home! I was only here for a half day but was able to get a feel for the area rather quickly since the town was so small and most of the locals don't leave the town without bear protection. Snow machining and skiing are the top favorite winter activities and it's no wonder since the island is surrounded by gorgeous mountains that slope gently down to sea level.
This was the last stop on our journey. I would have LOVED to continue north through the Northwest Passage over the top of the Arctic however that was not in the Captain's itinerary hah. One day though, I will follow the path of the HMS Resolute and see for myself the wonder and awe the Resolute's crew felt as they entered the most untouched, and unbearable place on earth.