Icecave 2.0

Sunniva and I decided to have a Valentine Sunday Snowmobile Trip. As she was still very sore from her 20km skiing trip the day before we were going to the newly opened icecave in Longyear glacier just in the backyard of town.

The entrance was easy to find, as Spitsbergen Travel built a huge Quinzhee on top of it. Today I started playing around with different light sources in the cave. Check out the results and make sure to click on the pics to enjoy them full screen.

 

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Snowscooter Safari Photographer

That is the official name of my new job. It is loads of fun with my new brasilian colleagues and we get to go out on all the cool trips for taking pictures and making movies for the guests.

Yes, you got that right. At Shutterbird Production everyone but me is brasilian. In the Arctic. For my colleague Andre for example, Brasil was just too hot. They are really fun to work with and here you get a taste of our first finished product. Parts filmed by me on a trip to Tempelfjorden today.

And last but not least, some stills from this lovely Febrary day.

Longyearbyen and Aurora Borealis

The light is coming back extremely fast these days. As I am writing this, Hiorthfjellet is looming high to my left on the other side of the fjord. The sky is blue and the blue daylight is so bright that I can see all the details over there. But it is not bright enough yet, that the streetlamps would turn off.

So for another quick Sunday scooter spin in the returning daylight we decided to go to Revneset. It is situated at the corner of Isfjorden and Adventfjorden on the opposite site from town. From there it is possible to see the Russian heliport at Barentsburg, the other side of the huge Isfjorden and out over the Barents Sea.

Driving conditions were horrible, lots of driving in the hillside, lots of rocks and at Revneset there was in a lot of places not even snow or ice, just tundra. Crazy.

Here the look towards Longyearbyen from Hiorthhamn with some pancake ice in the foreground.

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We started quite late, so it was getting dark quickly, but we were rewarded with probably the last proper northern lights for this season.

Hello daylight and goodbye Northern Lights!

A quick scooter spin and what it became…

These days the blue light is slowly crawling back into the sky around noon. It is possible then to enjoy the magnificent landscape and to explore places and valleys one has not been riding in.

Therefore me and my friend Sunniva wanted to take the snowmobiles for a quick spin. After starting the Sunday lazy, it was already late when we finally got going, so therefore the pictures are not quite as bright.

Notice how notoriously angry her scooter looks while mine is more the naive happy?

On the way back we found a hillside with quite deep powder which was great for playing around. We returned back to town, as we were not familiar enough with the area to ride in total darkness. But we were not ready to go home, so quite quickly the decision was made, to go to the icecave in the Scott Turner glacier.

http://toposvalbard.npolar.no/iframe.html?lat=78.1011,long=15.9262,zoom=8;

The icecave, which you can visit on guided tours, is absolutely amazing this year. A must see and in my opinion nicer than the icecave in Larsbreen.

This is the entrance area…welcome to an underground world of ice and crystals, silence and majesty.

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Isn’t it mystical?

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Follow the light…

 

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Its reminds me of temporary art…made by nature

Here is the rest of our visit in pictures 🙂

Sleeping in a Snowcave

Sleeping in a snowcave was still on my must do list.

On one of the hikes to the icecave in Larsbreen I met the Arctic Nature Guide students digging snowcaves for teaching purposes. Since all the hard work was already done and some of the created snowcaves were masterpieces, I just had to go up there to spend a night. So I did together with Alaskan Husky “Myrull” (“Cottongrass” in Norwegian). On the hike up even the Moon contributed to an amazing scenery.

The next morning I had an early peek out of the entrance hole and thought to myself “Annoying light pollution from town”. But when I climbed out of the cave to go to the bathroom, I was baffled.

It was bright, very bright. And it was yellow, reddish light, like from many lamps in town. The source was however in the opposite direction of town, behind Trollsteinen. It was so bright, I couldn’t believe it. It looked like there was an airport where Trollsteinen was supposed to be, or a football stadium.

My eyes did a better white correction, than the camera. Therefore the light appears to be much pinker than it appeared to the eye. It was very soft light creating a strong contrast. The whole landscape was visible. It was amazing.

In the last picture you see Longyearbyen seen from Sarkofagen.

Sweden

I decided to visit a friend in Sweden who I met through couchsurfing. She is a crazy polish girl studying Biomedicine in the city of Lund. By crazy I mean the positive kind of crazy of a girl that loves travelling and adventures.

So that is how I happened to actually travel Sweden, instead of just travelling trough it. Here are some impressions of this lovely country, the following pictures are from the “Kullen” peninsula. On the first day it was strange for me to see birds again and I was very happy to be around trees…

I spend most of the week in Lund with nice dinner evenings (for example polish food), a graduation party (that I was improperly dressed for), and a visit to a sauna.

The visit to the sauna was quite exciting, as it is built in the middle of the sea, connected to the shore by a probably several hundred metres long jetty. On the platform is a small restaurant, one sauna for men and one for women. From inside you can watch the sea towards Denmark and take a cooling swim in the icy seawater or roll in the snow outside.

In the end of the week, we travelled to the before mentioned nearby “Kullen” peninsula. There we would spend two days hiking. I tried to find a Geocache but had to return as the cliffs were too slippery and steep to climb at this time.

The night we spent for little money in a tiny cabin in the garden of some house owners. Its is a wonderful tiny home with all you need, due to the lack of space some solutions are rather funny, like the fridge that opens into a bed. But it is a brilliant home for some nights for max. 2 people.

Last but not least I want to leave some words about “Nimis” in the independent micronation of “Ladonia”.

Ladonia is situated in the natural reserve of Kullaberg. It is a constitutional monarchy and has a rather interesting history. Everyone can get the citizenship of Ladonia, but currently none of the citizens resides within its borders. You can find out more about it on their own webpage www.ladonia.org or on Wikipedia.

The extremely controversial artwork “Nimis” sparked the whole dispute which led to the establishment of Ladonia. Even though it attracts many thousand visitors every year, you wont find it on any map. Even the painted waymarks on the trees were cut off the bark by opponents.

But it also has a seemingly vivid scene of supporters, brave volunteers who build it up again and again, after being burned down or torn by the elements. It is made out of nails and wood from the vicinity. I don’t know how high the towers are now, but its fun climbing them. Take care if you do so, things might break… (see pictures).

Its a very nice place, easy to reach and definetly worth the trip if you end up in Southern Sweden!

Purpur skies in a white desert

It is Tuesday, 5. January 2016 about 11:40. I am at Spitsbergen Travels tourproduction office in my car and look east in the direction of Adventdalen.

What I saw made my heart jump. Purple clouds in the sky, light from so far, it was unreal. I had heard about this phenomenon but was never lucky enough to experience it myself.

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I had only some minutes before I needed to be present for my next job, so I drove just a bit out of town, where there are no streetlights, chucked out the tripod and the camera and took in total only three pictures before I had to leave. But they worked out really well.

The cause of this strange light in the middle of our dark season were most likely so called Polar Stratospheric Clouds in the right spot south of us, reflecting sunlight from even further south up to us.

The pictures are taken at a relatively long exposure time and therefore appear brighter than one would experience the scenery really.

Happy New Year!

Happy new year and all the best from the northernmost town in the world!

Here we shoot the real stuff…like military grade flares (the red balls falling from the sky) and signal pens 😉

Abandoned

I love anything abandoned. I like the exploration of abandoned places, the inspiration of what could have happened and the atmosphere around things left behind by people. Here a few impressions of what I came across so far …

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Australia

I had a great time in Australia. I would not say it changed my life, but it was a good trip. Now I crossed that big continent and I have an idea how it looks like down there.

In a way I was a bit disappointed, since so many people dream of visiting down under and its always hyped as such a great place to be etc. etc. Of course you can have lots of fun and adventure there, it is a well developed country and the white people have a relaxed laid back lifestyle, but still it is too much alike Europe and the US seasoned with the influence of the UK. It is a great place to hang out, but not to achieve something.

But that is enough of the criticism. Here the awesome things I have experienced and done, in a strictly non chronological order:

Fishing Lizards:

I thought the same, mate. Fishing? I thought they were reptiles… Well, it turns out that this almost extinct species of lizards sometimes acts more like a fish than one would think. I volunteered for the Flinders University on a field trip and I learned a lot.

 

Helicopter flying:

Yeah, first thing I took a picture of was the helicopter and somehow I ended up paying the probably most expensive airfare of my life. But it was worth it. And yes, it was short 😉

 

Glass blowing:

Yepp, thats right. I came all the way around the globe to do glass blowing. Amazing Will is a glass wizard and I was honored to be his novice that morning.