Kapp Thorsden

Between Pyramiden and Longyearbyen , Spitsbergen. Day 37. 4th August 2013.

(Whoops, I have a few posts out of order.  This post was supposed to come after Pyramiden and Lenin and before Husky Hotel.  The previous Lofoten Monochromes was supposed to be at the end of the Lofoten images, before Spitsbergen).

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Glacier, History, Kapp Thorsden, Landscape, Longyearbyen, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel

We are now heading back from Pyramiden to Longyearbyen, along the north bank of the fjord.

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Glacier, History, Kapp Thorsden, Landscape, Longyearbyen, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel

Wonderful colours and shapes.

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Glacier, History, Kapp Thorsden, Landscape, Longyearbyen, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel .

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Glacier, History, Kapp Thorsden, Landscape, Longyearbyen, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel

A stray puffin deperately tries to escape the proximity of the ship.  Just as well I saw lots in Scotland because by the time I got to Iceland, the season was too late and they were nowhere to be found.

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Glacier, History, Kapp Thorsden, Landscape, Longyearbyen, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel

Spartan accommodation, it would seem…

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Glacier, History, Kapp Thorsden, Landscape, Longyearbyen, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel

… perhaps associated with this old, boarded up mine.

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Glacier, History, Kapp Thorsden, Landscape, Longyearbyen, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel

An old wooden boat in a landscape, that might still float, at least a little way.

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Glacier, History, Kapp Thorsden, Landscape, Longyearbyen, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel

A waterfall that definitely wouldn’t be flowing in winter.

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Glacier, History, Kapp Thorsden, Landscape, Longyearbyen, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel

I suspect the difference in colour is just due to haze and distance.

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Glacier, History, Kapp Thorsden, Landscape, Longyearbyen, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel

A distant valley (with a long telephoto lens).

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Glacier, History, Kapp Thorsden, Landscape, Longyearbyen, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel

This is probably quite old because it appears to have a turf roof.

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Glacier, History, Kapp Thorsden, Landscape, Longyearbyen, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel

You’ll probably need to click on the image for a larger size to see it, but there’s a stream flowing through this image, a waterfall at the top, a reindeer with impressive antlers in the middle and cut poles on the beach.

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Glacier, History, Kapp Thorsden, Landscape, Longyearbyen, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel

No question it’s a rugged, unforgiving landscape.

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Glacier, History, Kapp Thorsden, Landscape, Longyearbyen, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel ,

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Glacier, History, Kapp Thorsden, Landscape, Longyearbyen, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel

This is the Swedish House or Svenskhuset at Kapp Thordsen.  If you click on the image you may be able to make out that there are two people seated in front of the door of the house.  There is another person over to the right on the hillside and items on the ground to the right of the house that perhaps may include some from the nineteenth century.  There is a line coming down the hill to the house, probably either electricity from a generator or a water supply.  There is also a reindeer in front of the left-hand stream (though it requires the full-sized file to see that).

This was the site of a remarkable drama in 1872.

Glacier, History, Kapp Thorsden, Landscape, Longyearbyen, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel

Six sealing vessels with 59 men were trapped by the ice north of Spitsbergen near Grahuken with winter approaching and little food.  Swedish explorer Adolf Nordenskiöld happened to be nearby setting up winter quarters at Polhem.  Seven sealers crossed 50 kilometres of ice to ask him for assistance.  He was able to provide some but advised making for the Swedish House at Kapp Thorsen which was well supplied with canned food.  Seventeen of the sealers rowed 350 kilometres in seven days to get there.  Meanwhile, two weeks later, there was a break in the ice and the remaining sealers were able to escape in two ships.

When some people came to visit the seventeen sealers at Kapp Thorsen nine months later, they were all dead.  The last survivor appeared to have died shortly before.  At the time they were assumed to have died of scurvy due to a surprising lack of competence in their own survival.  However, a recent scientific study has shown that they died of lead poisoning.  They likely cooked their food in the cans on the stove and the solder in the cans was 50% lead.  The same fate was shared by John Franklin’s men in their search for the North-West Passage.  They had enough food for four years but most of it was in tin cans.

Incidentally, Adolf Nordenskiöld who the sealers met and who gave his name to the glacier we visited three posts ago, was the first man to sail the North-East Passage.  In 1878-79, he sailed from Scandinavia along the north coast of Russia, was trapped in ice near the Bering Strait for a winter, and returned by a more southerly route including through the Suez Canal, which had opened in 1869.

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Glacier, History, Kapp Thorsden, Landscape, Longyearbyen, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel

The following images are distant views from between Kapp Thorden and Longyearbyen but I can’t be entirely sure what direction they are looking in.

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Glacier, History, Kapp Thorsden, Landscape, Longyearbyen, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel

A whale, probably a humpback whale.

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Glacier, History, Kapp Thorsden, Landscape, Longyearbyen, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel

A northern giant petrel, I think.

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Glacier, History, Kapp Thorsden, Landscape, Longyearbyen, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel .

Glacier, History, Kapp Thorsden, Landscape, Longyearbyen, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel

Long lens shots of glacial landscapes…

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Glacier, History, Kapp Thorsden, Landscape, Longyearbyen, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel .

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Glacier, History, Kapp Thorsden, Landscape, Longyearbyen, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel .

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Glacier, History, Kapp Thorsden, Landscape, Longyearbyen, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel .

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5 comments on “Kapp Thorsden

  1. Wow, the colors of the ocean on those first three shots is amaaaaazing!

    Like

  2. […] overnight and were now in the remote bay of Hamiltonbukta, probably around forty kilometres from where those sealers were frozen in, in 1872.  Early in the morning, we set out in the […]

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