By Keith // Friday 14 Sep // 23:30:59 // View
After about five hours from Longyearbyen on the 120ft schooner the Noordelicht we arrived tonight at the bay of Trygghamna. The water was still and peaceful throughout the journey.
After days on preparing, training and being shadowed by cameras in London and the long haul first to Stockholm, then Oslo, then Tromso, it felt wonderful to finally be on the Noorderlicht. The sense of relief once we started to moved through the waters and away from Longyearbyen was apparent by the quiet that passed over us all as we watched (and photographed) the mountains to the North and South, separated by the dark, still Arctic waters.
The Noordelicht is an amazing vessel with a crew steeped in as much history as the ship itself. Built in 1912, the original steel hull remains in tact, principally because it is thicker than the average schooner to allow her safe passage through the ice sheets she regularly navigated in her earlier days. The interior is wood throughout and though the cabins are small, they are comfortable. The cook, Anna, has a 3 m2 galley in which to muster up meals for the 19 of us from Cape Farewell and the crew of 5. The food I had this evening was easily the tastiest I’d had since leaving home in Frome; homemade soup, salmon and cheese and grapes to finish.
After about 2 hours on board, Doriana (one of the students from Canada) went along the bowsprit. With breathtaking confidence she travelled almost the full length of the 60 ft bowsprit without batting an eyelid. Not to be outdone I also gave it go. With nothing more than a flexible net underfoot I managed about 15 ft before turning back to the safety of the ships deck. Maybe tomorrow I’ll attempt to go a little further.
Before leaving Longyearbyen we visited the Cape Farewell school.
It has gone almost completed dark tonight. Last night a little light remained throughout…..I know because I kept waking up to look out of the hotel window at Longyearbyen.