Spitsbergen Island ~ Magdalenafjord and Ny Alesund, On top of the world (almost)

Friday the 13th ~ Spitsbergen Island

Magdalenafjord

Magdalenafjord

Magdalenafjord scenic cruising in the morning

What a morning that started our day. Up bright and early so we could be on deck by 7:00 am. It was COLD for these Southern California bodies. With a forecast ranging from a low of -9C/15F to a high of -3C/26F we bundled up before heading up to the “sun” deck.

Bundled up against the cold

Bundled up against the cold

The sun broke through the clouds and graced us with breathtaking views. The mountains seemed to rise right out of the deep, dark water. Snow went from mountain peak to waters edge. We passed by the occasional floating ice formation.

Mountains rising from the ocean

Mountains rising from the ocean

A retreating glacier was blue in the shadows of the mountains.

Blue ice of the glacier behind me

Blue ice of the glacier behind me

I started reading another book today. With the recent passing of Dr. Maya Angelou, I was drawn to her book, “A Glorious Celebration”. How appropriate that the first page offered up this quote:

“It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters in the end.” ~ Ursula K. Le Guin

Small amount of room for this ship to maneuver in the fjords

Small amount of room for this ship to maneuver in the fjords

Ny Alesund in the afternoon.

After cruising through Magdalena Fjord (Magdalenafjord) in the morning we docked at Ny Alesund for a few hours in the afternoon. In years past it was briefly a coal mining town or whaling port, but since the 1960’s it has only housed research stations. There are no paved roads, no schools, hospitals or banks. There is one post office.

Ny Alesund

Ny Alesund

There are no guided tours or excursions as there is no place to go other than to walk past the 30 houses and one general store.

We have received instructions that we must stay on pathways, not to disturb the wildlife, stay away from scientific instruments, not to litter and to observe the POLAR BEAR DANGER signs. Yes, those three words were written in capital letters in our daily briefing newsletter under “places of interest”!

Warning about Polar Bears

Warning about Polar Bears

The village, if I can call it that is only a few buildings clumped together. They are either communal housing or research centers with the exception of one souvenir shop and a post office where people from the ship line up to mail a postcard home. It is unique to have something posted from the northern most post office in the world, however the line was much too long for me to willingly stand in out in the cold.

There is a dirt street that runs from the cruise ship up the slight hill that is about one block in length. We did find the polar bear warning signs, but not a single bear in sight. Several people from the ship ignored the warning signs (or to give them the benefit of the doubt perhaps did not see them) and they started off out of the village to explore. They were quickly rounded up by the local security and headed back toward town.

A few pictures I took while in port:

Train remains from coal mining days

Train remains from coal mining days

Monument

Monument

Another view of the town

Another view of the town

The sign shows our latitude

The sign shows our latitude

Tim and Joanne with the Ocean Princess behind us

Tim and Joanne with the Ocean Princess behind us

Gratitude Moment: Today I am grateful to be able to visit the northern most permanent settlement on this planet.

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About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our "next chapter". At a stage in life where traveling the world, taking pictures, and sharing our adventures with friends and family will be our dream come true.
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4 Responses to Spitsbergen Island ~ Magdalenafjord and Ny Alesund, On top of the world (almost)

  1. Wayne says:

    That is awesome! The ice and mountains look as pristine as it gets.

    Like

  2. yahoo says:

    Hello! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be ok.
    I’m absolutely enjoying your blog and look forward to new updates.

    Like

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