I went to Svalbard from 9 to 16 March to do some sea ice work at Inglefieldbukta, a bay where a French sailing yacht is frozen into the sea ice. Inglefieldbukta is on the east coast of Spitsbergen, the largest island in the archipelago of Svalbard, between Norway and the North Pole. Svalbard is by international treaty part of Norway, but with the restriction that, while Norway may make and enforce regulations there, they may not treat citizens of any nation that has signed the Svalbard Treaty differently than citizens of Norway, meaning anyone from a signing nation may work or live there, just as easily as any Norwegian. As a result there are numerous international research stations there, and a Russian mining settlement with several hundred people.

The main town in Svalbard is Longyearbyen, on the west coast of Spitsbergen. I flew there and then went with two others by snowmobile across the island to Inglefieldbukta. The sailing yacht Vagabond has been acting as a base for research in the bay for the last 4 winters. The family that owns it, Eric, France, and their one-year-old daughter Léonie, live on board through the winter. It is about a four-hour snowmobile ride from Longyearbyen (the nearest settlement) to the bay, in good weather. Photos from the boat are on the Vagabond site, here, go to the Spitsbergen links.

The view out of my apartment in Longyearbyen.

Some of the houses in Longyearbyen.

The main shopping street in Longyearbyen.

More views from town.

Views from the snowmobile ride out to Vagabond, on a day with great weather.

Eric, the owner of Vagabond, drilling a core from the sea ice.

Back in Longyearbyen. The snow-covered ice on the fjord, to the right, had been there for a while, but the thin ice in the center formed overnight as the winds died down and the temperature dropped.

Another view of the shopping area.

The church.

Some views of the town from the flight out.

Some views of other parts of the island from the flight out.

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Page created 17 March 2008, Last modified 17 March 2008 22:07 Central European Time