The evening before last, we entered Isfjord, the biggest of the
west coast fjords, in thick mist, using the radar to avoid the occasional
blocks of ice. With almost no wind, we motored up nearly to the
head of the fjord, crossing a curiously striking demarcation between
the clear, 6 degree sea water and the cloudy, 1 degree fjord water.
After dropping anchor in a small cove and seeing the vague shape
of a suspected Arctic fox disappearing into the damp cold gloom,
we settled down to a hearty fondue.
Lucy, Anja and Isabelle (and the departure of Angelo, Christine
|| Yesterday morning at 5 am - rude awakening to the sound of
ice crashing against Imram's aluminium hull. Time to leave our
anchorage. In the space of a few minutes, the wind had risen
from nothing to force 7, thus dissipating the fog. The fjord
crossing was rough but we arrived late afternoon in Longyearbyen,
the capital of Spitzbergen. In the freezing misty conditions
it didn't look that delighful a town, especially as the port
area is surrounded by industrial installations, particularly
connected with coal mining. However, this morning bright sunshine
greeted the arrival of the new team members -
Our biological clocks are totally upset here. When it's cloudy
there is no perceptible difference in light intensity between "day"
and "night" this far north (78 degrees). Thus, a few days
ago we found ourselves eating lunch at 1 pm local time!
We have discovered that Longyearbyen has a particularly aggressive
inhabitant - the Arctic Tern. These birds, which hold the world
record for long-distance flight (from the Arctic to the Antarctic
each year), had decided that the portside territory 100 metres from
Imram was theirs. So, every trip to town was likely to lead to a
tern attack, and one particularly bold bird even drew blood from
Philip's unprotected head.
Tomorrow we shall head out of Isfjord and start making our way
up the west coast of Spitzbergen.
| Index 2004 | Suite
Imram Voyage 2004 - Integral 12.50 - ACAPELA, juillet 2004