June 26, 2010 - Magdalena Bay, Spitsbergen en Jan Mayen

Daily Passage: Saturday, June 26, 2010

From approximately 8:00am until 11:00am this morning the Seven Seas Voyager will transit Magdalenefjord and Magdalene Bay. Considered to be one of Spitsbergen’s most beautiful fjords, Magdalenefjord is punctuated with glaciers, including the Waggonway Glacier. Towering rock cliffs and sharp-peaked mountains surround the fjord to form a dramatic backdrop. To the south are the golden sands of Graveneset, where a monument pays tribute to the casualties of Russian, Dutch, and Norwegian whalers in the waters of the Svalbard archipelago.

During the 1600’s, whale boats by the hundreds could be seen bobbing about in beautiful Magdalenefjord, which is situated on the northwest coast of the island of Spitsbergen and extending 5 miles inland. The whaleboats are gone, but the fjord’s beauty remains. Some of these “Svalbard Voyagers” are buried here. Today, Magdalenefjord is a nature-lover’s paradise, with thousands of rare species and good whale-spotting opportunities.

For many years the farthest reaches of Norway were isolated the whole winter. All transport was by ship and the Adventfjord was frozen from October/November until April/May. In this period there was no food brought in; neither was mail or newspapers. Mail was brought in by plane for the first time in 1958 and the following year a Norwegian air company started regular flights for visitors using a tundra field as a landing field.

At approximately 8:00am, Carly and I woke up, poured our thermos full of hot chocolate, donned our snuggies (and me my polar bear slippers), and headed up to the crew deck to claim our spot. Although it was early, surprisingly, no one else was there and we set up camp in the perfect spot – right along the bench against the crew pool. Dressed like polar bears, we spread ourselves out, relaxing, and poured our first cup of hot chocolate and toasted to the amazing view in front of our eyes!

Steel-grey mountains surrounded our ship on all sides, covered by thick sheets of bright white snow. They stood so majestically against the overcast, yet patchy blue skies. Each set reminded me of the opening to any paramount movie. They were picture perfect! And when reflecting off of the waters below, gave the impression of doubling in size through the mirror image. Speaking of which, the sea was unlike any color I had seen of the waters we’ve traveled yet! It was an amazing deep teal shade of blue/green which complimented the scenery above remarkably. It was unreal – almost like the color of those manmade ponds or waterfalls at miniature golf courses, or, although this isn’t as pleasant an image, the color of the water in port-a-johns. Yes, when thought of in that way, a bit disgusting, but just imagine an ocean being that color, back dropped with magnificent mountains, blue skies, and not to mention, one incredibly massive glacier!

That’s right! I’m assuming (from the passages) that what I was looking at was the Waggonway Glacier because it was absolutely incredible. Located in the passageway between two mountains, the sea water stopped, and in its place laid the ice towering detour. There was so much detail in the jagged, ice-blue, almost pale-purple-looking masterpiece of Mother Nature that I couldn’t stop staring! We were lucky that Captain Mario was no wimp and got the ship unbelievably close-up before using the pods and completing a full 360° turn to provide the best views for everybody!

By this time, Carly and I were no longer alone, but accompanied by most of the cast, along with many other crew friends of ours. Each one that saw Carly and I immediately commented on our gear and got a picture of the snuggies and slippers. They loved our idea! It was a great morning spent with wonderful company and another one of the most breathtaking views I’ve ever seen!

Later that afternoon, from 4:00pm until 7:00pm, we cruised through the Polar Ice Cap, which sits at latitude 80°03”17’north, above the Arctic Circle. Before we had even begun the endeavor, however, the Captain announced over the loud speaker that due to the time of the year and the ever present global warming issue, we may not see any ice at all. Fortunately, I can say he was wrong. No, there wasn’t much ice, not what I’d expect when hearing “Polar Ice Cap”, but there was still enough to witness something special and get some great photographs. I found myself, yet again, spending the majority of that afternoon admiring the incredible works of Mother Nature, and recognizing how truly special this voyage really is!





Magdalena Bay
Magdalena Bay (2)
Magdalena Bay (3)
Magdalena Bay (4)

1 Comment

July 17, 2010
Erich what an amazing view!!! Just to see these pictures and how truly beautiful they are is amazing. It must be wonderful to just snuggle up with friends, a good cup of hot chocalate and enjoy the spectacular job Mother Nature does!! I love it. Miss you lots, Disney here we come!!!!
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