Melons on Jan Mayen

Today we went for an extended hike across the active volcano of Jan Mayen – skirting the 2000m high caldera in favour of a more leisurely route over the foothills. All around us was a wasted, twisted landscape of rock with green growth hanging tenaciously on the northern slopes. This hardy growth of moss bore the scars from the occasional boulder plunging down from the heights, but managed to convey an almost tropical feel to the otherwise barren island. From our anchorage in Kvalrossbukta on the North of the island we were intending to go and visit the meteorological station, and since we had no radio contact from the North (due to intervening mountains) we had to wait until we had completed most of the hike before we radioed ahead with our intentions … this was about the same time as we noticed a huge plane on the runway that sprawls over the low lagoon area of the south coast – It turns out our arrival had coincided with a resupply operation and the delivery of the first fresh fruit and vegies for months!

Despite our inconvenient arrival we were soon ushered into a four-wheel drive and lavished with hospitality in total contrast to the forbidding landscape. We were shepherded directly to a hot shower (possibly for the benefit of the station personnel), and then taken for a tour of the impressive station that boasts a pool, a sauna, a bar, a soccer field, a solarium, a gym and countless other luxuries. The guys here have it pretty good, and since they were celebrating the delivery of fresh food we were also invited to share a splendid meal with the high-light of an assortment of melons for desert …. Sumptuous after over a week of ship rations!

Now we are making everything shipshape in preparation for the next offshore leg …. Next stop Greenland!

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