19 juli 2013

Up 80 degrees North

We've been standing outside in the cold and light snow for quite some time now. It's still 50 miles till we are there, but our anxiousness to see some land is unstoppable. But nothing can be seen. Thick clouds of fogs keep us from seeing any further than 250/300m. A tiny iceberg appears at the horizon and slowly drifts by. As we are going higher up the North we see more and more of them. Besides the temperature dropping from plus 25 degrees to around zero degrees, the icebergs are another sign of us getting closer to the Arctic and Frans Jozef Islands. We all read about the sailing vessels the '√čira' and 'Westward' and many others that sailed up here in the 1890's looking for new land and adventures, no idea if there was any and where to look for it. Now we find ourselves staring into nothingness not sure when to expect what (fortunately we do have a map which show us that there actually is land quite nearby thanks to these adventurous minds 120 years ago). We sit and wait excited and eager to see land after 7 long days and nights at sea. The midnight sun tries to sneak through the thick foggy clouds and gives a beautiful sight. And then there's land. The fog slowly opens up as if it was a curtain on a stage and shows us Frans jozef land. It seems that the closer we get, the more we get to see. It's a beautiful sight to have the bleak midnight sun and the foggy clouds around the impressive glaciers and black basalt cliffs rising up from the sea. What an impressive entrance to this faraway land where nature reigns. Beautiful sculptures of ice drift by while we drop our anchor and walruses curiously swim around us to see what's happening. Meanwhile the clouds break open and the glacier right in front of us reflects the bright light back to us. The sky is an constant changing mixture of blue skies, white and dark clouds and foggy horizons which makes an impressive show to watch. After half an hour we see a big carpet of ice coming towards our boat. Luckily the big growlers stay behind or go around and we can just enjoy the sight and the ticking sounds of the ice bumping against our steel ship. Combined with the sculptures that simply drift by while you look outside and the curious walruses makes that you feel how close nature is. It makes all of us immediately forget about the long 7 days at sea,. It's time to enjoy Frans Jozef Land. (Send by satellite connection, so no pics yet!)

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