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Ny alesund

Saga Sapphire blog - Captains' blogs

28th June, 2013

Ny alesund

Our overnight run down to Ny Alesund saw the weather start to improve, with the wind abating. It was still a little gloomy when we arrived to anchor off of the world’s northernmost functional settlement at 78 degrees 55 minutes north, but this was soon to give way to some sunshine, that until now had eluded us since making first landfall in Svalbard.

The tender operation was soon set up, this time unhampered by the weather and with a more permanent jetty to alight to on the shore. With the two Rangers stationed at the extremes of the small settlement and signs in place to ensure that our passengers didn’t stray too far out of the safety of the town, the tenders soon started to ferry eager passengers ashore to explore the small settlement.

Ny alesund

We were scheduled to have docked at the small harbour, but there had been a slight oversight on the available depth of water along the berths face, necessitating a quick change of plan. This also meant having to move a few yachts in the marina to make room for our tenders to operate. One yacht in particular that obliged our needs (even at 6am) was crewed by a couple of British sailors who’d planned to do underwater work on their boat that day. Having disrupted their plans the Staff Captain invited them onboard for lunch to thank them. They asked a small favour of the ship, to use our laundry facilities as they had been on their yacht for a while and were expecting their wives to join them in Longyearbyen in a couple of days!

Like many I went ashore to post a couple of post cards from the world’s most northern post office and to have a look around the town which primarily is home to Scientists, Researchers, Technicians and Field Assistants at the Arctic Marine Laboratory.

Ny alesund

Originally the settlement was called Brandal City and was founded as a coal mining town in 1916 but mining stopped in 1963 after the “Kings Bay Affair” mining disaster that killed 21 people. Some of the trappings of this former industry can still be seen such as the small train on the way into town from the harbour.

Roald Amundsen also started his North Pole flight on the Airship “Norge” from the town in 1926, with a monument to the explorer in the town’s centre.

In the evening as our passengers were sitting down to diner, the Saga Sapphire weighed anchor to commence passage to Longyearbyen.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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