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Glaciers, Lenin and four season periods

Published: 2.10.2008
Svalbard (Spitzbergen), goup of islands, placed on half-way between North Pole Circle and North Pole, rough Arctic wilderness, is a country passing through big changes. Through fjords, where the vessels of hunters and whalers, or coal-steamers flew in past, now, there appeared excursion vessels.

Power of motors and heated cabins enable to each interested party to enjoy beauties of north nature. So, this country becomes a view park of civilized people. Nevertheless, what it is for tourist on excursion ship a moving wall-paper behind the window, it is always hard and  merciless world, where wind and cold reign first of all. It is true, that we can experience „in our own skin“all these attractive places, to reach there by means of our power and feel (enjoy) its atmosphere with our all senses and with our whole spirit. Maybe, we find a while for a sympathy with tourists on ships, to whom do not penetrate nor wind nor sea, and these persons are too remote from every day reality of ancient hunters and pioneers.

On Sunday, 24th August 2008, four-member watermen group expedition returned from Svalbard. Within four weeks, they travelled, in two inflammable canoes, throughout great part of the country, from north to east part of Longyearbyen, Norwegian administrative centre. The expedition had a couple of targets: first of all, to reach desert Russian town of Pyramiden, and on their return way, to have a look on front parts of glaciers Tunabreen and Nordenskjoldbreen, at the end of Templefjord and Billefjord. Further, there was on programme a transfer accross inland and descent of Adventelva-river (Longyearbyen is placed at the mouth of this river).

The expedition followed the plan perfectly. It was succeeded to combinate each section in proper way, so that it was possible to effect the transfer during a day and have a rest (with sleeping) in night. There was no delay, even no loss of day programme, as it is usual within light of polar day. So smooth course was possible thanks to very favourable weather conditions. Nevertheless, it was no sunshine during the days at all, on the contrary, Arctic weather ia always unsettled (changeable), so, the expedition was made happy with all possible appearances, including blizzard. Anyway, it seemed so that the weather changed in such way, that it could be taken advantage of in favourable way. Unpleasant moments came in periods when it was possible to resist it. There was necessary to overcome very strong wind  within two days only, and only once there was not possible to overcome the sea, strong wind and high waves were too great obstacles for the expedition. In spite of all troubles decścribed above, the expedition reached all main targets.

In deserted Russian mining town of Pyramiden, there really remains a phantom of past times. Stone eyes of Lenin bust are watching beauty of Nordenskjoldbreen fjord on the opposite part. Strong wind blew throughout the town, sea-gulls, nesting on house cornices cried and all was dutiable to disintegration slowly.

Front part of glaciers presented rapturous and for us completely strange scenery. It was very difficult to estimate a distance from a water-level, where there was safe to be sailed. You saled so far, when all fell safe. And this enormous toothed mass of ice, raising into height, thunders obscurely, ice-blocks are broken off and terrible cold came, and all this madedeep and enormous respect. To Adventelva-river descent belonged also vessels- transfer to inland. Frankly speaking, it was hard and drastical experience, and owing to weather conditions even very gloomy. In night before the river was reached, the snow fell down. The weather, which could be quite unpleasant on sea, changed into very nice river-descent in a country covered with snow. The river-descent was not difficult from the technical point of view, but it was intricated and full of turnings. It was quite difficult to estimate in which part of river-basins would be enough water-stand, and how the water stand will be in five minutes ahead.

Four-weeks stay in Svalbard brought many experience, planned and unexpected. Except of Svalbard information, you can find description of Svalbard IV. expedition, in comparison with original plan, memorandum-book and many photos. All you find on web www.svalbard.cz Except of all of these, you can read there many thanks to all, who supported this expedition, so that it could be realized in a form presented.

Text/photo: www.svalbard.cz

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