After an amazing first day at Hornsund with Polar bears, ringed and bearded seals we explored the depths of the fjord, where four big glaciers tumble down to the sea from various valleys. Steering through the maze of smaller and larger bits of ice in front of the glaciers was quite a challenge, and I ended up bent over the bow of the ship trying to push away larger bergy bits. Luckily Widdershins is a tough steel yacht, so fortunately the pieces I missed didn’t do any damage.
After an over-“night” trip we arrived in Longyearbyen, where showers, toilets and laundry almost seemed like luxury to us. Finally we were also able to go ashore – as long as you’re in a village you don’t need a gun in Svalbard. Luckily our papers were all in order, so registering and renting a big rifle was no problem. Longyearbyen has developed in the last few decades from being a small mining town to a more touristy center with cruise ships arriving regularly (then the population explosively doubles or triples), a large range of shopping opportunities, and there were even some pubs with nice arctic beer.
Now we’re almost ready to set off into the wild again – except we got ourselves a little additional challenge. We’ve been thinking about getting a dog for the journey for a while, and as it so happens we came across this puppy husky from a big dog-sledging farm, which was extremely shy and did not mix with the other dogs at all. So we decided to give it a try and provide him with a new home on Widdershins. So far this is a trial period, we will be back in Longyearbyen in four weeks, and if “monster” (that’s the name given him by his owner) does not like us, the yacht or the sea we’ll have to give him back. But we surely hope that he’ll open up and be our companion for the adventures to come!