The Arctic landscape is something which can evoke only one word in anybody's mind: 'Dramatic'! It is a dream-like land with ice, snow, glaciers,mountains and sea...all weaving a magical tapestry which captivated me endlessly...even today i dream of it constantly...
And what also struck me is the silence of the landscape! It is a quiet world...almost eerie at times!
The July 14th Glacier...60% of Svalbard's 62,000 km is covered by glaciers!
Some like Austfonna are as big as 8412 sq kms!
A closer view of the July 14th Glacier...the light blue colour indicates oxygen. As you know, glaciers are nothing but frozen fresh water.
Tinayrebukta fjord...a fjord is deep sea inlet, surrounded by mountains..Spitsbergen's fjords have been sculpted by huge ice-age glaciers.
You can see our ship Plancius anchored in the fjord..we were on a hike.
The fjords are beautiful with calm seas and rugged glacier-laden mountains.
In the Arctic summer one can see this kind of landscape where the snow melt exposes the rocks and earth...one can see grass,moss and even flowers! And this is also the time of 24 hours of Sunshine!
Alkefjell...touted as the most dramatic bird nesting colony in the Northern hemisphere! 350 metres high granite cliffs rise from the sea, where about 2,00,000 pairs of Brunnich's Guillemots nest on these cliffs every summer..
The Arctic is the youngest ecosystem on Earth...just 10,000 years old! It certainly has a sense of freshness!
Single year pack ice or Fast ice...ice which has formed an year back...
Pack ice (multi-year) or Sea ice which we were surrounded with, when we sailed north of 80 degrees North Latitude....the realm of the Polar Bears! This ice is an accumulation of many years and can be very thick..sometimes a few metres! This ice drifts with the ocean currents and winds...the North Pole is surrounded by this kind of ice and therefore so formidable to get to!
Spitsbergen means 'pointed peaks' in Dutch...who discovered these islands accidentally in 1596 (by William Berentsz)
Please double-click on these pictures and enjoy them in a wider canvas.