Friday 12 August 2011


Artifacts and ruins of buildings left by
whalers and Scientists at Gåshamna

We had a busy morning.
This morning we had a mandatory safety drill at 09:30.  We were all checked on the manifest as we joined our muster stations on deck 5. The air was damp and cold as we watched the crew demonstrate how to put on a survival suit and life jacket.  Right after the drill we were invited to the Observation Lounge for the Captain’s Welcome and a glass of champagne to toast the start of our voyage.
At 10:30, on decks two and three, we were able to try on rubber boots which were available to rent for a small fee for the entire voyage.
At 11:00 we had two lectures.  There was a lecture in English on Seabirds and a German lecture entitled, Walfang entlang der Küste Svalbards – Das friesische Hinterland.
At 14:30 we started our landing at Gåshamna in Hornsund.  It was a cold, damp, grey day but it wasn’t enough to dampen our spirit of adventure.  We were led on a hike around the artifacts left behind by whalers and in later years by Polish researchers.  There was a large flock of Black-legged Kittiwakes that would periodically take off in unison.  Arctic Terns were in abundance but at this site there didn't appear to be any chicks.  There were also six Arctic Skuas.  Two of them were keeping a watchful, protective eye on a very large chick.  At times the beautiful Skuas seemed more curious than protective.
It is not yet mid August but fresh snow was covering all of the mountain tops.  The last of the summer flowers were struggling in the cold.  Soon they will be buried in snow.