Bjuröklubb over night

Annika and I have been in Bjuröklubb a lot, especially when I lived in Skelleftehamn, but never we stayed overnight. Anyhow, there is a cabin called Spanarstugan and that we booked for a night last weekend. The cabin is modern and quite large but still cosy. It has electricity, and running water as well as toilet are not far away.

After a short lunch in the shadow of the large yellow lighthouse building we took a promenade to the beacon Bjuroklubb NÖ. The way there involved some climbing over rock fields but the view was worth it.

At 7 o’clock in the evening we went down the gravel road to the small marina where we sat for a while and watched the sky, the sea and a lonely sea bird.

Then we went up again – the ways are short – to the lighthouse building. The sun was partially hidden behind clouds and the light was warm and beautiful.

Round 11 o’clock in the evening I took another stroll up to the wooden view platform. I wanted to watch the sunset. First the sun was round and red then it resembled more and more a huge glowing jellyfish until it morphed into a small dash and disappeared behind the horizon.

Annika and I were in doubt if the lighthouse would be active in summer, when it doesn’t get dark. But round sunset I could see the light go on, blinking in a steady rhythm.

I sat there for a moment but then I became tired. So I walked down and went to bed where after slaughtering some mosquitoes I fast fell asleep.

In the night it rained, in the morning it was foggy but after breakfast and cleaning up the cabin the weather was sunny again. We enjoyed our stay there very much and started wondering, if this place is accessible in wintertime as well.

 

Summer weather in Tromsø

10:30. I am sitting in my car on my way to Sommarøya – “The summer island”. The sun is shining and it is warm already. Today it is supposed to be 19 °C, much warmer than the last weeks (or months). The first photo stop, a parking place by the sea. Tussilago is blooming everywhere.

The road leaves the sea and leads through the valley Kattfjordeidet. The lake Kattfjordvatnet lies on 149 metres of altitude. Does not sound much, nevertheless it is high enough that most parts of it are still covered with ice. I like the open areas – small waterfalls and beautiful reflections.

The valley is 12 km long. I leave it behind and meet the sea again. And two locals – reindeer that know the traffic rules and walk on the other side of the street (or better said in the ditch).

Just before the tunnel Oterviktunnelen there is a parking place and shortly after a beautiful sandy beach. It looks so warm, but I didn’t measure the water temperature …

I am lucky, I find a nice shell, a “pelican’s foot”. Then I continue my ride and enter the tunnel. It is not long, just 607 m.

Almost wherever you stop there are nice places to explore, for example this tiny beach, less than ten metres wide. It is not far away from the bridge to Sommarøya.

From the bridge you can see a lot of small islands, many of them with sandy beaches. A kayakers paradise, although the weather can be pretty rough. But if you like challenges, take your boat, head west and after 1600 km you are in Greenland. ;-)

The last weeks I have seen three kinds of wild flowers blooming in and around Tromsø. (1) Tussilago – 17 April (always the first). (2) Dandelion – 26 April. (3) Oxlip (or another primula) – 8 May. Today I discovered two others. According to Pl@ntNet, which I use for identification a Goldilocks buttercup (91.2%) and a Purple mountain saxifrage (94.6%).

Would I find one of my favourites flowers as well – the Marsh marigold, which loves wet places and has an incredibly beautiful hue of yellow. Yes? I found some of them beside a small pond.

On Sommarøya I hardly took any picture, on the outer island Hillesøya I took a photo of one of the boat harbours. In my back an open door, a dark room and in there a man cleaning fish.

After taking lunch in the snack restaurant Havfrua (“The mermaid”) it was time to drive back. I chose the way round the south of the island Kvaløya and made some small stops. One at the ponds and puddles in a boggy area, which now are free of ice. Another by the church Hillesøy kirke, which is by the way not on the island Hillesøya.

And then the time came: 20 °C according to the car thermometer! Last time it was so warm here was last August.

I took another stop to take a photo of one of the mighty mountains on the other side of the strait Straumsfjorden. When I looked down into the deep water I spotted a shoal of fish. It was hundreds, probably thousands of fish resting in the shadow. The photo is heavily edited to make the fish more visible.

After a while I came back to more known areas – less than 30 minutes away from my “work flat” in Tromsø. I stopped at a small grave yard. Most tomb stones were free of snow, but those located in the snow drifts will have to wait a bit longer. Anyhow snow in the lowlands has become the exception. Even the bogs that tend to be cold are hardly frozen any more. And so I had to be quite cautious to avoid wet feet, when I looked for a good place to take a picture of that beautiful pine tree other there – the last photo for today.

Those of you that are not so familiar with Norway as a country may ask yourselves: Why did Olaf make an excursion on a Friday? That’s because today it is Constitution Day. On 17 May 1814 the Constitution of Norway was signed and this is the most important day of the year. Even through our street a marching band walked by and all people have their best clothes on – many of them the traditional bunad which shows, from which part of Norway they come from.

And so I shout out: “Gratulerer med dagen, Norge!” – Happy birthday, Norway!

Here is an article from 10 years ago: Syttende mai (German text).

The last way to work by the sea

As most days I walked to work today. It’s 2–2.5 km one-way depending on the route. Sometimes I am lazy and just follow the main road, but today I took the longer route by the sea.

7:09 – I come to the part of the way that is flooded sometimes. Today I’m lucky. I don’t wear boots but shoes with spikes because the roads and pavements are icy.

11:51 – an early lunch. After some grey days the sky is clear again and in the south you see the colours of the sun. The sun itself is below the horizon.

13:45 – today I go leave early.  Later I’ll work a bit from home. Since it is early it is not really dark yet. The sky is still blue and there is a golden spot at the southern sky.

I love this way and I will miss it, because it probably was the last time that I went to work here today. Next week I’m first on vacation and then I’ll move to a larger apartment within Tromsø. It has a bedroom, a real kitchen and even a balcony. I’m so looking forward to moving in but I’ll miss my way to work by the sea.

Polarstern in Tromsø

Last month I joined a scientific cruise on the Norwegian icebreaker Kronprins Haakon. Our plan was to reach station 01 at 84.55° N, 18.78° E north of Svalbard. But the exceptionally thick sea ice of 2 metres and more prevented this. We tried to get north but in vain, we only reached 80° N and a bit.

We were not alone. The Swedish icebreaker Oden and the German icebreaker Polarstern had the same issues. In the night from the 11 to 12 June we were quite near to the Polarstern – less than 10 nm if I remember correctly. The vessel was visible on the “OLEX” navigation screen.

After another five week expedition to the Gakkel Ridge, the Greenland Shelf and the Nansen Basin the Polarstern arrived in Tromsø today. Not at the port on the island (I guess, too many cruise ships) but in Tønsvik by the mainland. Some weeks ago I asked the Alfred Wegener Institut (AWI) if it was possible to visit the ship but it couldn’t be done this time. Anyhow I took the car after work and drove there to get at least some photos.

Hopefully I’ll get a opportunity for a visit another time. And yes – I long deeply for the Arctic when I see the Polarstern lying there or check the track in the internet.

But hiking in the Norwegian Nature always helps. Two photos from a short hiking trip after the icebreaker photos:

Kronprins Haakon in between

Yesterday

Yesterday I took the car to the northern tipp of Tromsøya to get my tyres changes. When I drove back I had my studded “Nokian Hakkapeliitta 9” tyres in the car’s back and brand new summer tyres on the rims. On my way back I passed the port and there lay the ice breaker Kronprins Haakon.

I continued to the shopping mall Jekta to fetch a photo collage printed on a hard foam board. The photo show scenes from the expedition I joined last year with the very same icebreaker Kronprins Haakon (KPH or even KH for the lazy ones). At time it stands on my dresser. With 75×50 cm it’s larger than expected.

Today

Today I took the car to the port, parked it outside, went to kai 25 and went on board of Kronprins Haakon. Not to join a cruise but to meet my colleague M. on the bridge. Nice to be there anyhow. M. already had installed some GIS software plugins on a computer there. I configured another plugin on my computers that can show the ship’s position in realtime together with other map layers.

In three weeks

The ship’s position in realtime however works only when my computer is connected to KPH’s network. No use to have it home. But in three weeks I’ll enter the vessel again, then in Longyearbyen. Then I’ll join my second arctic cruise with the Norwegian Polar Institute that will lead us to the Arctic Ocean north of Svalbard. There’s a lot to do and I’m nervous because I have some tasks there that I never did before but I’m looking forward to it very much.

 

 

 

A day cruise to Finland

A day cruise from Sweden to Finland and back.

HolmsundVaasa: 11:15–16:00. VaasaHolmsund: 16:30—19:00. The ferry is not faster on the way back but the Finnish time is one hour ahead.

Just some photos:

12 more photos of Longyearbyen

This article is part of the series “2023-03: Svalbard”.

3 March

It is the first evening of Annika’s and my stay in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen, Svalbard. We already strolled through the settlement after arrival. Now it is dark but the full moon illuminates the end of the road of Nybyen, one of Longyearbyen’s districts. What a special feeling to be in one of the world northernmost settlements on Earth. And a slightly tense one. It’s the edge of town, are there any polar bears around?

8 March

When you are in Svalbard you have to keep distance to animals to protect them. The animals do not follow this rule. This is a Svalbard reindeer, an own species of reindeer living here. It is looking for food in the middle of the city.

9 March

I didn’t expect to see ptarmigans on Svalbard but on our guided minibus tour we get to see a whole flock, again in Longyearbyen. Magnus is so kind to stop so that I could take a photo from the road.

10 March

This day is quite warm for Longyearbyen: Only -8 °C. When I took this photo however it was windy. Average wind wind 16 m/s, gusts 21 m/s and snow is blowing in the streets.

12 March

Annika is on her way home, I’ll stay for another week and today I enjoy the beautiful weather by the coast. The mountains on the other side of the fjord Isfjorden look quite near today – especially through the big telephoto lens.

15 March

I take an after work stroll along the coast and through town. It is cold and even with the modest wind of 6 m/s windchill is below -30 °C. It looks arctic, it smells arctic (the nose hairs freeze together immediately) and it feels arctic. No wonder – I am in the Arctic. Even the petrol prices show, that you are not in mainland Norway any longer. Petrol is cheap because Svalbard has reduced taxes.

18 March

Another walk in town. Up the hill to Taubanesentrale (the central of coal mining cableway), down to the center and up again to the elevated way in the east, part of the avalanche protection.

19 March

Sunday. Tomorrow I’ll fly back to Tromsø, today I’m quite lazy but finally I walk to the coast again because of the wonderful weather. Even with my hood on I can hear something above me. I look up and see the first two seagulls since I have arrived here. It is two glaucous gulls that draw large circles above the coastal line.

I try even to take pictures of the incredibly coloured mountains on the other side of the Isfjorden but the turbulences in the air make clear pictures impossible. I’ll keep it in my memory as I’ll do with my whole stay in Longyearbyen.

 

 

Guided minibus tour with Magnus

This article is part of the series “2023-03: Svalbard”.

Thursday morning Annika and I joined a guided tour by minibus. Magnus, our guide and driver has moved to Svalbard in 1964 and has spent most of his life here. I’ll show you some pictures of the tour, but the real experience were the incredible stories Magnus told us. About the times, when there was no shop in Longyearbyen, when the island could be cut off from the mainland the whole winter, when it was a mining town hardly visited by any tourists. What makes the stories special is that they seem to tell from ancient times but some took place just one generation ago. I could listen to Magnus for ages.

And now some photos. From the road up to Gruve 7, the last active coal mine that will be closed in 2025. From the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, where more than one million seed samples are stored. From the cable car facility that was used to transport coal from the mines to the quay until the 80th and from a special guest, the ice breaker Kronprins Haakon, that I travelled with last year. And of course from the famous polar bear warning sign on the road to Gruve 7.

This tour is strongly recommended if you want to get first hand information about Longyearbyen’s history. Longyearbyen Guiding AS. The web site is only in Norwegian, but the guiding is in English.

 

A new camera

Next week Annika, my sister, brother in law a nephew and I will start a hiking tour in Sweden and Norway. We will not use a tent but hike from cabin to cabin. Last time I had 6 kilo of camera equipment with me. This year I decided to scale down weight and so I bought a point-and-shoot camera this week: the Sony RX100 VII. It has some disadvantages, but a huuuge advantage: It’s small and weights hardly more than 300 grams. That’s why I even can take a smaller backpack (also bought this week) and save another 1300 grams of weight.

Today I tested the camera, first on my way to work and then on random places, from the center to Telegrafbukta. I know, that the camera has its limitations (being not weatherproof for example) but I’m quite glad that I finally bought it. And here come some test shots from today. All photos are edited in Lightroom.

 

Some summer days in Sweden

I was home in Sweden for only three weeks but the time feels long and rich. Annika and I had guests most of the time but some days in between just the two of us.

A short kayak trip in the sun

On 1 July I used my lunch break to paddle to the beach. I took a bath and lunch there and then paddled back to work. Ah, I love this type of lunch breaks!

A day trip to Norrbyskär

On 3 July Annika and I took the car to Norrbyn and from there the ferry to the island Norrbyskär. Always worth visiting, especially when the warm weather invites to a bath.

A wavy kayak trip

On 4 July Annika and I made a kayak trip to and round the island Tarv. Normally this would be a quite relaxing tour of 10–11 km. But due to the windy weather the sea was pretty choppy and we had to focus a lot on the waves and the rocks.

No one of us took any photos there, but in the more sheltered waters beside and behind the island it was possible to take some photos again. And another bath.

Finally rain

On 7 July it finally rained in Obbola. The rain came too late for the dried up lawn but probably saved a lot of flowers and bushes in our garden.

Hiking twice

On 8 July Annika and hiked twice. First round Grössjön together with guests from Germany, then just we two at the Kronören naturreservat. Grössjön is mostly forest and bogs (and a lot of mosquitoes) while Kronören is also open landscape by the sea.

Back to Tromsø

Ten days ago an 10 July I travelled back to Tromsø. Train Departure in Umeå 2:15 in the night, bus arrival in Tromsø was 17:30.

I felt cold and made a Covid test the next day. Bang – positive! Therefore I couldn’t take advantage of the beautiful summer weather in Tromsø but stayed home in bed the week.

I made some short hikes on the weekend but the weather was dull, foggy and rainy.