Saturday, September 1, 2012

Norwegian Experience Days 3, 4 & 5: North East Spitsbergen Nature Reserve and Edgøya

Bearded Seal at Monaco Glacier by Flickr user kerryinlondon
Saturday and Sunday are sure to be full of wonderful sights for our Norwegian Experience contest winner, Rob Kodalen and his wife Donna. They are aboard the MS Fram off the coast of Spitsbergen enjoying a spectacular cruise courtesy of Borton Overseas and Sons of Norway. On Saturday they will be exploring some of the most remote areas of the Svalbard Archipelago. Perhaps even reaching Sjuøyane, the cluster of islands at nearly 81º N, which are closer to the Geographical North Pole than any other landmass in Europe.   

Svalbard Polar Bear by Flickr user kerryinlondon
Another stop along the way will be the giant Woodfjorden system on the Northern side of Spitsbergen. Which is home to the enormous and fast moving Monaco Glacier. In front of this dramatic glacier the mixing of fresh and saline water creates excellent feeding grounds for sea birds. The Jotunkjeldane thermal springs in another branch of the Woodfjorden system are unique – they are the northernmost documented thermal springs on Earth.

On Sunday they will be visiting the spectacular bird cliff of Alkefjellet, which is referred to as the Piccadilly Circus of seabirds; its 300m spires rise directly from the sea and create perfect nesting conditions. Tens of thousands of breeding pairs of Brunich’s guillemots as well as Kittywakes and Glaucous gulls nest in this area.

Brunnich's Guillemots at Alkefjellet from Arjen Drost on Vimeo.

Monday will bring a visit to Edgeøya, the third largest island in Svalbard, and the South West Svalbard Nature Reserve. The reserve is rich with wildlife, especially polar bears, reindeer, walrus, sea birds and geese. Navigating the Storfjorden also yields spectacular views of the east coast of Spitsbergen.

Be sure to check back to the blog on Tuesday as we update you on the next Norwegian Experience destination on the cruise!

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