Friday, 23 August 2013

Our first day is paradise

With nice sunny weather we started the day in the research village Ny Ålesund and former Norwegian coal mining town. Some passengers took part in one of the guided tours and learned about the several attempts to reach or cross the North Pole from Amundsen and Nobile. The airship’s anchor mast is still standing there as a monument of these exciting times.

Some of us went out to explore the Conway Glacier and did a nice hike there. 

After lunch we all got the information and safety briefing about AECO and how we do landings, Ina and Karin gave us some useful hints! Manuel and Tessa gave each a lecture about “Svalbardian” topics and soon it was time to get proper rubber boots for eventual wet landings, and we got our personal pair during the “Boot shop”. This means we were ready to go to spend the late afternoon in the stunning Magdalenefjord with just great scenery besides the hill of whalers graves and blubber ovens. 

Some of us were even brave enough to go bathing in the icecold waves of the bay! And while three groups were hiking up the moraine of the Gully Glacier and the kayakers were paddling just in front of it, Manuel spotted a polar bear – no two (!) – a female with a cub! The excitement was big! Luckily they were on the other side of the bay, so we had a safe distance to watch the fury couple! Happily we returned back to the MV Fram, day 1 and already a polar bear – and a cub! But for some of us the day was not quite finished, as they went out with two Polar Cirkel boats and drove to Virgohamna, another place with a lot of Polar exploration history! Tired but happy we sank in our beds, dreaming about today’s impressions.