Saturday, 10 August 2013

Glacier, Lagoon and "Polar Bear's Hut"

Early in the morning we entered through Bellsund into Recherchefjorden. Low clouds and fine rain did not stop us from going ashore. The tide was very low, but one or two days earlier the high tide must have been very high since a couple of meters of the moraine that is bordering the outflow of the lagoon had been washed away.

Many kittiwakes again and again were flying up the outflow, landing on the water and then let themselves drift down while carefully watching for small fish and other food.

With the high tide that had reached into the lagoon many ice blocks drifted ashore or grounded close to the shoreline.

Many passengers were interested to learn about the birds the surrounding geology and having the great view over the lagoon towards the Recherche Glacier, they of course wanted to learn about the ice.

After a lunch break we landed at the neighbouring Ahlstrandodden to visit the former Beluga hunting station "Bamsebu" which means "The polar bear's hut". At this place in the 1930s a group of men from Norway, led by Ingvald Svenson, carried out a more or less land based whaling method. They caught belugas by fixing one end of a net ashore and rowing with the other end out into the bay. When belugas were swimming into the net the men rowed back to the shore and slaughtered the animals. Their blubber was cooked for oil and also the whale's skin was used. The men piled up the bones of an estimated 550 belugas along the beach.

While doing a walk with the passengers the sky cleared a bit and we could see the wonderful succession of sediments from Permian to Tertiary on the northern side of Van Keulenfjord.

On our way North towards new adventures we passed by some fin whales with their blows shining in the evening sun.