Weather: Mostly overcast, some mist and a bit of sun
Air Temperature: 8o C / 47 o F
Pressure: 1006 HPa
Wind: 15 km / hour
After so much time in the very high Arctic, it is a bit strange to see a latitude less than 70o N on the ship’s navigational system!
Very early this morning we entered some of the northernmost fjords in Norway. Observing the green hills and relatively narrow waterways is always quite nice after visiting the icy North. I never cease to be amazed at the beauty of all the remote areas that we have the privilege to visit. In addition, it is always a bit of a nice surprise to be re-introduced to such lush, green vegetation after the more limited variety of hardy plants that we have been recently studying in Svalbard. We can also view a number of remote homesteads dotting along the shorelines for people who like to live out on the edge.
By tradition, this is also the day in which we can view the results of Richard Sidey’s work over the past 10 days. As our professional photographer and videographer he is always filming quietly in the background on board and during all of our shore side operations. That is the part that everyone sees, but the hidden work, which lasts late into every night, is the immense amount of editing that he must do to produce a 50 minute or so DVD along with an associated photographic CD. Richard is an internationally recognized filmmaker who has won many awards and each cruise DVD is unique with no stock footage. I am always tremendously impressed with his end product as he is always adding new and creative ideas from one cruise to another. In addition, this season he has been using another type of small, waterproof camera and the results have been stunning. Once again he has produced a masterpiece memory of our voyage.
Soon enough the buildings of Tromso came into view and we found ourselves once again alongside this very northerly city in Norway. Two voyages ago it was my privilege to escort the tour buses for their travels through the surrounding area. The tour runs about four hours and is quite a bit of fun, covering locations that have both natural beauty and human interest. The Polar Museum is one stop on the itinerary and this facility has a high quality set of exhibits that cover a broad range of topics from the area history to hunting and trapping to the many polar expeditions that operated from this area. In addition, there is currently a special exhibit on polar bear art.
The tour also visits the beautiful, white Arctic Chapel on a small hill overlooking the city. It is an iconic structure well known in photography of Tromso. Another favorite location of mine during the tour is the local Botanical Gardens. Believe it or not this relatively new operation has a wonderfully diverse series of exhibits that highlights the unexpectedly large number of plant species that make their living in this colder environment. I am always amazed how many different plants have been successful in the climate.
The tour also includes a beautiful walk around a local nature preserve whose waters provide feeding area and protection for many species of birds.
Since I had helped to lead the tour during our prior visit, this time I had just a little time off. As a Silversea historian, I utilized this time to conduct additional research at the main library in downtown Tromso. As one might expect, they have an excellent set of materials on Polar exploration and I focused my time to review some of their fine collection regarding Amundsen as well as to read a unique book regarding the ship Terra Nova. All of this research will then be integrated with my Silversea presentations as well as supporting the book on polar history that I am currently writing.
All too soon it was back to the ship where I learned that this was an even more special day in Tromso than I had imagined – the first sunset in several months! Yes, they have had 24-hour/day sunshine until just today. Of course it still stayed light throughout the evening for everyone to enjoy a walk through town, but it is a reminder that winter is on its way. Tromso is a great town, full of friendly people and I always enjoy my visiting time!
von Hans-Peter Reinthaler, Biologe
Koordinaten: 69°39’ N, 18°58’ E
Wetter: bewölkt, Regen
Luft Temperatur: 10° C
Der letzte Vormittag auf See startete später als sonst auf unserer Reise üblich war. 10.30 Uhr war der erste und einzige Programmpunkt angesetzt. Richard Sidey unser an Bord Fotograf präsentierte das Video dieser Reise. Wieder einmal mehr zeigte Richard wie faszinierend Svalbard und seine Natur sein kann. In eindrucksvollen Bildern liess er diese Reise nochmals vor den Augen der Gäste ablaufen.
Gegen 13.00 Uhr erreichten wir Tromsoe und bevor es auf die Bustour in Tromsoe ging gab es noch ein hervorragendes Mittagessen im Restaurant.
Die Bustour startete zwar bei Regen aber gegen Ende kam für kurze Zeit auch die Sonne durch. Die Stopps, Botanischer Garten, Polar Museum, Eiskathedrale und das kleine Vogelschutzgebiet gaben einen netten Überblick über die Stadt und ihre Umgebung. Ergänzt wurde dies noch durch eine Rundfahrt im Zentrum der Stadt. Im Botanischen Garten, der nördlichste in Europa, war die Hauptblütezeit vorbei, aber der berühmte blaue Tibet Mohn wies noch immer 2 Blüten auf.
Im Polarmuseum bekamen unsere Gäste nochmals einen Eindruck vom Leben auf Svalbard, das Leben von Trappern und Jägern sowohl als auch die Geschichte von Svalbard wurde in einer eindrucksvollen Ausstellung präsentiert.
Am Abend konnten unsere Gäste ein letztes Mal auf dieser Reise den kulinarischen Höhepunkt eines jeden Expeditionstages auf der Silver Explorer genießen – das Abendessen im Restaurant mit Blick auf die Eiskathedrale in Tromsoe.