Svalbard Autumn Expedition

Leaving Longyearbyen at 16.30 September 19th 2017 and sailed out Isfjorden on-board expedition ship MS Malmö, heading for the north-west corner of Spitsbergen for this Svalbard autumn expedition. In ”Forlandsundet” we have this amazing sunset with red colors and the mountains of Svalbard in silhouet against the red sky.

In the morning we reach the area around “Danskeøya”, looking for Polar Bears near the whale carcass we knew of there. It was late in autumn and this time we did not find any. We did a zodiac cruise for three hours, photographing some drifting ice against the beautiful morning light. We also visited the Seal colony at “Virgo-havna” By mid-day we set course for the island “Moffen” but had to change the plans because another ship already was there. We thought we was almost alone in the area this late in the season.

We changed course an headed for Liefdefjord to spend the evening there. The light was fantastic again. Not so much wildlife to see, but one bearded seal let us very close. Later we left for “Moffen” again and anchored there by midnight and waited for the morning light like it can be in Svalbard autumn time.

svalbard autumn
Landscape reflections in Liefdefjord
svalbard autumn
Bearded Seal in from of the Monaco glazier
svalbard autumn
Drifting blue ice in the morning light

At the island Moffen for Walruses in sunrise light.

At 04.30 in the morning we went on land at the Walrus colony at “Moffen”. A wonderful red sky was already seen in the horizon where the sunrise would be. Maybe hundred animals were there. Until the sun was up we had a fantastic moment there in the reddish colours from the sunrise.

After this, in nice weather and calm sea we sailed towards Hinlopen strait and the glazier “Bråsvellbreen” at the south-vest part of Nordaustlandet. A beautiful sunset gave us a nice view of the glazier. We followed the glazier around Nordaustlandet heading for the “Isis islands”.

svalbard autumn
Walrus in the water at the island moffen
svalbard autumn
Walruses at the colony at the island muffin during sunrise

East side of Northeast-land.

In the morning we anchored by the "Isis" islands and me and guide Jens Wikcström did a zodiac driving to search for Polar Bears. As we expected we found one sleeping there. And it was sleeping really good and we had to leave it there without any good pictures. Following the inner route along the glazier until we reached “Storøya” gave us a spectacular view of the glazier “Austfonna”.

In afternoon we arrived the island “Storøya” and spotted soon two Polar Bears on land and 200 Walruses at the colony there. We did a zodiac driving and had some pictures of one of the Polar Bears. We decided to stay anchored there until next morning.

svalbard autumn
Sunrise when sailing up the east side of the Northeast-land
svalbard autumn
Walruses in the water and morning light at the island Storøya
svalbard autumn
Polar Bear sleeping in the morning light at the island Storøya
svalbard autumn
Autumn is time to save energy. Drift ice is far away. No more food.

Woke up to good weather. At 06.30 we did a zodiac driving again and a very cooperative Polar Bear together with very nice light gave us a wonderful morning and good pictures. Later in the day we left Storøya for Karl the 12th island because of stronger wind and gray weather at Storøya.

Arrived at Karl den 12th in afternoon and found one Polar Bear sleeping on land. It was soon dark and we had to wait until next morning.

Woke up 3 in the night to strong wind. It continued during morning and it was impossible to launch the zodiacs to the water. We had to leave the island, covered by snow during night, and headed for the seven islands.

In the afternoon we did a zodiac cruising around the seven islands, which now also was covered by snow, and spotted several groups of Walruses and one Arctic Fox. The fox came close and we could enjoy its company for one hour. The autumn light was spectacular over the islands. In evening we started on the 15 hour long sailing back to the north-vest corner of Spitsbergen. The Svalbard autumn had definitely arrived at this time, because the islands already was covered by snow.

svalbard autumn
Stranded Arctic Fox at Parryøya. One of the islands of the 7 islands.

Return to Spitsbergen

Woke up by “Danskeøya”, nearby the whale carcass. Spotted one Polar Bear in far distance there in the morning. Weather not good with little rain and wind. Increasing wind will be expected during the day. Sail down against Kongsfjorden in hell of a weather. The wind was probably far above 20 m/sek, much more that expected. It was a long sailing trying to sleep without much luck. We reached Ossian Sars in late night.

svalbard autumn
Bad weather in Smerenburg fjorden
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Glazier in Tempelfjorden the last day of the expedition

Hiking Ossian Sars without any good pictures. Saw one adult fox far away. Strong wind, rain and bad visibility. Set course for Isfjorden around 15.00 to spend the last day in this area. Arrived Tempelfjorden in night and had a really good day in Isfjorden the last day. The glazier and colors in the water was fantastic. And lots of Fulmars.

Thank you Svalbard, for this time!

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