Virgohamna & Smeerenburgbreen
PolarQuest’s guides are blogging on board M/S Stockholm. Please read an excerpt from the expedition 31st May - 8th June.
6th June 2016
A grey morning awaited us when we awoke in the northwest corner of Spitsbergen. Dressed warmly, we went ashore at Danskøya at a place called Virgohamna, where Axel and Kerstin told us about the very interesting history of, what they called ”the biggest and most regulated garbage dump of Svalbard“. While the weather improved steadily, we heared about the whaling history of the 17th century and the touristy overwintering of the British gentleman Arnold Pike in 1888. The american journalist Walter Wellman tried to reach the North Pole by airship in 1906-09. And then there was the tragic story of the Swedish expedition of Salomon August Andrée, who flew of in his balloon in 1897 to never be seen again. Before heading back to MS Stockholm, we visited a small colony of harbour seals which lay on some rocks at the shore and swam curiously around the Zodiac.
In the afternoon, we sailed through the Smeerenburgfjord and enjoyed a Zodiac cruise along the magnificent glacier front of Smeerenburgbreen. The weather was beautiful: the clouds were lifting, the sun broke through and the ice was shimmering in all shades from white to greenish-blue. What a wonderful, calm afternoon and evening!
Since 1999, we have taken travellers on once-in-a-lifetime trips to Svalbard. From May to September our three small expedition ships, carrying only 12 and 50 passengers, explore this magnificent Arctic archipelago. Unpredictability and flexibility are the main keywords when you travel with PolarQuest as the exact route depends on weather, ice conditions and wildlife encounters. Sometimes you might be woken up in the middle of the night if a polar bear has been spotted on the ice.