Wednesday, 23 June 2010

BBQ in Skansbukta

Is it really the last day already? Most of us are flying out in the early morning of the 23rd, so lets use the time: Bridge visits with Captain Hansen in the morning, lectures by Camille, Martin and Ralf about photography, history and glaciers, beautiful scenery, writing the last postcards... I tell you- this is quite busy.

Our last landing today was at Skansbukta, named after the nearby mountain Skansen. For people interested in geology- that is an amazing place regarding color of the stone and the steep cliffs! In the layers one has found anhydrite, a mineral that is chemically identical with gypsum (Calcium sufate). It has been mined at a few places, including Skansbukta. Mining started in 1918 but closed down relatively quickly again. What can be seen today are remainings of the mining town including the mine entrance as well as a short railway line.
Walking around you stepped on tundra with a comparably rich vegetation. A few sea bird colonies are in the area as well including Kittiwakes and a few Puffins

Many passengers have asked me how Svalbard compares to Greenland or Antarctica! And you will not like the answer- you can not compare it at all, but you have to see it! I have been here on a holiday trip and have been working in Greenland now 10 years and in Antarctica for around 6 years as Expedition Leader. And no, you can really not say what is nicer!
Antarctica- one needs to see it! The scenery, the Drake Passage, the wild life, the penguins, the weather changes, icebergs en mass and glaciers coming down to the sea everywhere-it is hard to describe.
Greenland- that is more or less home for me. I love the people, the interaction, the nature., the remote settlements and the icebergs. But if you want to see wildlife, it is maybe not the prime place to go to due to the hunting culture. But if you want to experience nature and culture – you will love it!
And now to Svalbard: It is an amazing place for scenery and wildlife. If you want to see a polar bear- it is definately THE place to see! I found myself constantly watching through my binoculars- and doing a happy dance if there was a Polar bear or a whale or a walrus or....
So you get by now what I want to tell you: it is all not comparable- but that you have to come and see it yourself!