Seasickness, seals and the hint of a polar bear.

I woke up this morning and saw land outside.  This was strange for two reasons, first, when I went to bed we’d been significantly north of Svalbard and second, as far as I knew Ellie had promised not to feed us any hallucinogens.  As it turned out during the night we had decided to turn around because, I, Rob, Mimi and Ellie had been feeling sick and our speed had slowed to two knots.  We had been trying to reach the pack ice but it would have taken four days to reach the ice and three days back at that speed.  I woke up just as we were anchoring at the site at which Solomon André and Wellman attempted to fly to the north pole buy balloon.  Weldon failed, André died.  According to historical fad this is the one form of polar exploration that requires no effort.

We decided to go ashore and look around.  We took both of the guns that we have but not the bear spray or the foghorn.  We had to lower the zodiac into the sea, this turned out to not be nearly as difficult as I’d anticipated.  When we got ashore Magnus and David took the guns and we skirted the ruins.  The site that had been a Balloon hanger for the two teams.  They had a set of huge ceramic pots.  They had contained sulphuric acid to create the hydrogen for the balloons.  André’s team was found 33 years after they left dead on a west coast Svalbard island.  We walked away from the site and over a small climb and on the other side there was a very large sausage roll sitting on a rock in the bay.  Otherwise known as a seal.  The sausage/seal was completely unbothered by the florescent figures slowly approaching it.  We managed to get within twelve meters of the sausage/seal and all it did was bounce on the rock and look around.  Then we saw the other seven sausages/seals.  They are SO unbothered by humans.  We then walked up to a nearby plateau and took a couple of group photos. Up on the plateau we found a set of polar bear paw prints.

I had noticed on the way up to the plateau that, this was one of the worlds most remote beaches, and there is litter covering the shore.  This is not good.  On the way back to the boat I decided to pick up and carry as much plastic as I could back to the boat.  I wish we had more space so that we could take more.  Somewhere like this should not have this problem.  When we were ashore we had the best weather we’ve had all trip.  We had intermittent blizzards.  It really made you realise the trouble that people in the early 20th century had surviving here.

Screen Shot 2015-09-04 at 20.12.10
Where is Svarlbard and Ny-Alesund?

When we got back to the boat we got the anchor up and motored off, apparently Magnus spotted a whale on the trip but I was conveniently asleep for that.  We’re now anchored in a bay called, Trinityhammer.  Tomorrow we plan to go ashore and then return to Ny-Ålesund.  I will try to write again tomorrow but for now thank you and good whatevertimeofdayitiswhereyouarewhoeveryouare.

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