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Cruise ID 2094303
Sejlplan Longyearbyen, Norway / The Svalbard Experience / The Svalbard Experience / The Svalbard Experience / The Svalbard Experience / The Svalbard Experience / Til havs / Til havs / Jan Mayen / Til havs / Akureyri, Iceland / Flatey Island, Iceland / Reykjavik, Iceland
Longyearbyen, the seat of the Governor of Svalbard, is located in a narrow valley along the shores of Adventfjorden a small tributary of Isfjord, the largest fjord system in Svalbard. It extends 100 kilometers (60 miles) into the island of Spitsbergen. Nine large tidewater glaciers, with a combined ice-front of 21 kilometers (13 miles), as well as dozens hanging glaciers drain into the fjord. The town’s 2,100 inhabitants exist in one of the most northern settlements on Earth, making their living by a combination of coal mining, education and tourism. Because of the town’s extreme isolation, proximity to wildlife, and Svalbard’s pristine environment, unique laws exist that are found in few other places. All individuals venturing outside of town are required to carry a rifle for protection against polar bears, possessing a cat is illegal, no one is allowed to be buried here and how much alcohol can be purchased each month is restricted. Longyearbyen was named after the American industrialist John Longyear whose Arctic Coal Company began mining here in 1906.
Remote and isolated, Jan Mayen is dominated by 2,277 meter (7,470’) high Beerenberg Volcano and its large ice cap. The island has two parts: larger northeast Nord-Jan and smaller southwest Sør-Jan, linked by a 2.5 kilometer (1.6 mile) wide isthmus. The League of Nations gave jurisdiction of Jan Mayen to the Kingdom of Norway in 1921. Except for being used as a meteorological, radio and navigation aid for shipping in the Atlantic, the island has remained untouched, its only inhabitants are 18 military personnel.In 2010 Jan Mayen was declared a nature reserve for the protection of its wildlife and is recognized as one of the most important breeding sites for over 250,000 seabirds in the North Atlantic. It supports large colonies of northern fulmars, little auks and thick-billed guillemots. Polar bears found here are genetically distinguishable from those found elsewhere. Although ‘officially’ discovered by the Dutch whaling captain Fopp Gerritsz in 1614, it may have been sighted by exploring Irish monks as early as A.D. 400.
Akureyri is the second largest urban area in Iceland with a population of around 18,000. Nicknamed ‘The Capital of the North,’ it is situated at the head of Eyjafjörður, the longest fjord in Iceland, only 62 miles (100 km) from the Arctic Circle. Surrounded by snow-streaked mountains, the Akureyri hills flourish in summer with a profusion of arctic wildflowers. Mt. Kerling is the highest peak visible from town, at 5,064’ (1,538 m). Often cloudy, with a mild climate, Akureyri has much less precipitation than its southern counterpart Reykjavik. It is a cultured city, with a university, numerous galleries, museums, art exhibitions, and live theater performances.Nearby Hrísey Island is a spectacularly beautiful and peaceful island often called ‘The Pearl of Eyjafjörður,’ with an atmosphere of calm and settled tranquility. Numerous Atlantic puffins fly overhead, and the occasional whale is seen traversing the fjord.
Warmed by the Gulf Stream as well as by highly active thermal hot springs and volcanoes, Iceland is somewhat misnamed. While it is a stark and barren country with three huge areas of glaciers, one theory is that early Norsemen sought to mislead other potential settlers by giving a pleasant name to fierce, inhospitable Greenland, and a forbidding name to the imminently habitable Iceland. Irish monks and hermits established themselves here in the 8th century, but left a century later when the pagan Norsemen arrived. Europe’s first Parliament of General Assembly, the Althing, was established in the year 930 and still functions as the legislative body, although it was suspended by the Danes at the end of the 18th century and not reconvened until 1843. Reykjavik was the site picked by the island’s first permanent resident, Ingolfur Arnarson in 874, and is home to more than half of the island’s total population. The world’s northernmost capital, Reykjavik is proud of its virtual lack of air pollution. Both electrical power and home heating are derived from the geothermal activity on the island. The city’s large swimming pools are always warm, and in the countryside exotic fruits such as grapes and bananas are cultivated in greenhouses made cozy with the help of underground hot springs.