September 2012: As part of a larger almost three-week trip on an ice breaker adventure boat that included northeastern Greenland and Iceland, I traveled to the Arctic Island archipelago of Svalbard. I started the trip in Longyearbyen, the only city in Spitsbergen Island, which is better described as a village under siege from polar bears and cold. before starting the boat trip, I spent a few days in Longyearbyen camping in a tent at the airport, exploring the area on foot and doing a day trip to the abandoned Soviet era mining town of Pyramiden.

 

Location of Spitsbergen

This was my itinerary in Spitsbergen.

Day 1

Arrive Longyearbyen from Tromso, stay in tent by airport, explore area.

Day 2

Day trip to abandoned Soviet mining village of Piramiden, camp in tent near airport

Day 3-5

Depart by ship explore a small portion of the western coast of Spitsbergen, kayak, hiking, sleep in ship, look for wildlife such as walrus, fox, whales, polar bears, caribou…then depart to Greenland via the Greenland Sea.

 

Warning signs on the main road into town

My tent at the airport

Walking into town

Beind dive bombed by petrols was my biggest risk on the walk

Ideal mode of travel on the island

I booked a day trip by boat to Pyramiden. Pyramiden is an abandoned coal mining town that was part of the Soviet Union and remained active from 1927 until 1998. The town became a ghost town after the collapse of the Soviet Union and when a plane flying into Pyramiden carrying a large number of town residents crashed killing all on board. The town’s spirit never fully recovered from the loss. Today the town is mostly a ghost town. I took a day trip by boat to pyramiden that shared with a group of other travelers was very affordable. We were escorted into Pyramiden with a rifle carrying guide since polar bears commonly occupy the town. Even though the town is abandoned, there are a couple of Russians that stay there to look after the town.

 

Me eating lunch on the boat to Pyramiden

Pyramiden

Pyramiden

Pyramiden

Pyramiden

Pyramiden

Pyramiden

Pyramiden

Pyramiden

Pyramiden

Pyramiden

Pyramiden

Pyramiden

Pyramiden

Pyramiden

Pyramiden

Traveling by boat around the north of the archipelago

Puffin

Wild reindeer

Glacier

Arctic fox

ring seal

Humpback whale

Whale bones

Petrol flying

Bearded seal

Me on the glacier after kayaking to it

Kayaking

Glacier bay

Walrus

Walrus

From Svalbard, we traveled across the north Arctic open sea for over 24 hours until we reached northeastern Greenland. 

 

4 + 5 =

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