Friday the 13th ~ Spitsbergen Island
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.
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.
A retreating glacier was blue in the shadows of the mountains.
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
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.
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”!
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:
Gratitude Moment: Today I am grateful to be able to visit the northern most permanent settlement on this planet.