Sail with Jan

The Arctic Ocean: Searchin'

At Sea

MV Nordstjernen

August 9, 2015  

 

“Logodile”

I first heard the word logodile on a motorboat trip on the New River in Belize.  Our destination was Lamanai, the archeological site of an ancient Mayan city deep in the jungle.  Along the jungle river route we encountered what you might expect at 17 degrees north latitude in Central America:  a thick green canopy of variegated flora and several species of birds. 

One bird in particular remains vividly in my memory:  a slight creature that gingerly scampers across the water atop the lily pads.  Who can remember the proper name of this species?  But the nickname is unforgettable: the Jesus Bird!

Plants and birds are fine, but somewhere out there lies an ancient, yet elusive reptile species.   We search and search and search.  Suddenly a passenger excitedly shouts, “I see one!  I see one just over there!”  The passengers scamper over to see.  The tour guide takes a look and calmly responds in his oft repeated nonplussed manner, “Sorry folks, it’s only a logodile.”  (A portmanteau word if there ever was one!)

There are no reptiles and nothing green here in the Arctic Ocean, at 78 degrees north latitude.  There’s plenty of black and white and blue - a very special beauty.   Plenty of sea birds too who make a living in the frigid north and surely some of the passengers aboard ship are counting and cataloging them. 

Binoculars, however, are mostly focused on the surface of the sea and on the distant shorelines.  We search and search and search.

Searchin'

Svalbard: Outstanding!

 

 

78°55’30”N 11°55’20”E

Svalbard

The Arctic

 

So, can you name the northernmost civilian settlement in the world?

Here’s a hint:

A research town in Oscar II Land on the island of Spitsbergen in Svalbard, Norway. It is situated on the Brøgger peninsula (Brøggerhalvøya) and on the shore of the bay of Kongsfjorden.

The North Cape

Kirkenes

Norway

August 15, 2015

Hello,

So I leave my hotel and take a walk around the empty streets of Kirkenes, the embarkation point for my cruise down the coast of Norway.

Weather is still mild in this Arctic town.  A lovely church.  Flower boxes adorn the homes and businesses.  Boats in the harbor.  A War Memorial.  The Second World War was particularly harsh here.

Kirkenes is only 225km (140 mi) from Murmansk, Russia.  Signs here in Cyrillic.

Henningsvær

Henningsvær

Lofoten Archipelago

Norway

I love taking photos at this fishing village.  (Population 440).

The sun is bright.  The colorful buildings along the inlet seem to be admiring themselves in an aquatic mirror.

Henningsvær is part of the Lofoten Islands chain. A good place to relax and enjoy the surroundings.

Norway: The Fjords

MS Vesterålen

Hurtigruten Limited

 

Come to Norway to see the fjords.

What’s a fjord?

Here’s the brief answer:

Geologically, a fjord or fiord is a long, narrow inlet with steep sides or cliffs, created by glacial erosion.

The steep sides of the cliffs decend straight down to the seabed.

The sea is quite deep, deep enough for a large cruise ship.

The fjord is so narrow that the sides of the cliff pass ever so close to the side of the ship - close enough to almost reach out and touch them. 

The remarkable moment comes when, in this narrow channel, the cruise ship stops near the end of the fjord, turns one hundred and eighty degrees and returns to the open sea.

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