Friday, 3 August 2012

Longyearbyen and Barentsburg

Longyearbyen welcomed us with overcast and drizzle. After a bus city tour, and at about 17:30, we embarked on the MV Fram. The check in and expedition jackets distribution went quite smooth. After mandatory safety drill we set sail towards Barentsburg. This Russian mining settlement is located only 45 km away from Longyearbyen but it can be reached only by sea or by air. At 21:00 MV Fram went alongside the pier and shortly after that we started a guided tour over the settlement. The Russian Sate owned company – Arktikugol, bought the mine and surface plant from Dutch N.V.Nederlandsche Spitsbergen Compagnie in 1932. It its heyday Barentsburg had up to 1000 inhabitants, today, the mine is still in operation and about 450 people stay here year round. We were able to do souvenirs shopping, send home some postcards and watch a really good folklore show done by talented Russian miners. Shortly before midnight we were back on board.