Thursday, 12 September 2013

Myggbukta, but no midges!

A little more snow had fallen over night, and now all the land down to the shore was dusted with a thin layer of snow. Apart from this adding to a magnificent scenery, the white snow is also very practical to spot musk oxen. They really stick out now as dark brown spots. And we saw quite a number of these spots at our landing in Myggbukta! The musk oxen were calm and unafraid, so we got in closer and had a good look at them. Myggbukta is also a place with a special history, as this is where Hallvard Devold in 1931 raised the Norwegian flag and declared “Eirik Raude`s Land” to be Norwegian. His station buildings are still in place, just the cages in which they kept alive foxes fell into disrepair.

Two groups set out for a long hike up a hill in the background of the coastal plain. We were lucky to see ptarmigan and snow hares perfectly blending in the white landscape, and a gyrfalcon flew over our heads.

We entered Kejser-Franz-Josephs-Fjord and further up deep in one of its Northern branches, Nordfjord. At its end, we thoroughly inspected Waltershausen glacier. This is one of the largest glacier fronts in Eastern Greenland, with a width on its front of 11 km! The glacier is connected to the inland ice. In the evening light, the mountains lit up in warm colors while shadowed parts contrasted nicely in dark blue.

In the late evening, the crew demonstrated us their skills in producing these nice fruit and ice decorations on our buffets. Pineapples, melons, carrots and peppers turned into all kinds of animals, cakes were artistically decorated with marzipan roses, and a huge bird with spread wings were chiseled out of a block of ice.