Longyearbyen is the largest settlement and the administrative centre of Svalbard. It is located on the western coast of
Spitsbergen, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago. It is approximately 1500 miles north of Oslo.
Longyearbyen has approximately 2,500 inhabitants . It is one of the world's northernmost towns, and the most northerly
town with a population of over 1,000. It has a long history of polar exploration due to the warm current that arrives on
the south western side of Svalbard keeping that part of Svalbard ice free all year.
We flew to Longyearbyen from Tromso to begin our journey to see the Polar Bear and Walrus and other Arctic wonders.
Below, some of the houses in Longyearbyen.
Up on a hill were remnants of the coal mine that used to be active in Longyearbyen. I will have more commentary on the
history of Svalbard further on.
This is the Radisson Hotel where we stayed one night at $300 a night which includes a nice buffet breakfast and
accomodations slightly better than a Motel 6..
At the city outskirts a sign warns people not to walk any further. The law requires that anyone walking outside of town
must carry a gun. Likewise, the law requires that anyone roaming around in Svalbard must carry a gun capable of killing
a polar bear.
To our delight, an arctic fox walked right into the town square and then entertained us in a grassy area.
This was the view of Svalbard flying into Longyearbyen from the more icy eastern side of the islands.
This is the ship we would sail on, the S. S. Stockholm. The captain owns the ship and knows these waters very well.
Because it is a small ship and only carries 12 passengers, it can go to more places than most ships. We were also
fortunate to have the services of Adam as our guide. Adam has been guiding trips in Svalbard for 12 years and knows
this area and the wildlife as well as anyone.
Our ventures generally took place on the ship or in the zodiac which was used to see wildlife and make landings. Three
of the group were from the UK, and six were from Sweden. Adam (in the rear) and the crew were all from Sweden.
|Longyearbyen, Launch Point for our Polar Venture
July 27-28, 2010
Elston and Jackline Hill