Category Archives: Svalbard

Random weirdness for the week of July 17, 2018


During a summer when the dirty secrets of some budget-minded big-ship tourists are leaving ugly footprints, it’s interesting and maybe even a bit encouraging to get a sneak peak at a different type of “mega-boat” cruiser. For those who’ve noticed a couple of large ultra-luxury yachts in Longyearbyen’s bay this summer and wonder what the people/life is like aboard, a profile of recent such visitor by Superyacht Times suggests at least some are more seaman than stuffed shirts.

Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of July 17, 2018


Oil pump failure at boiler house results in lack of hot water
Much of Longyearbyen is experiencing a lack of hot water due to the failure of an oil pump that is part of the city’s backup power system, which is being used while the main power plant undergoes maintenance.

Aurora Explorer resumes normal service four days after Barentsburg dock crash; engine surge blamed for accident


A high-speed catamaran that crashed into the dock in Barentsburg on Sunday, injuring 37 people, resumed normal service Wednesday although the incident remains under investigation.

Dialing Svalbard up to 11: Youth wows locals with years of book knowledge prior to visit, but discovers reality is so much more


(Editor’s note: This youth was sent to me by someone at Visit Svalbard who was wowed by his knowledge of Svalbard – no small thing given the number of tourists the office sees – but after talking to him I was more interested in how his “book knowledge” (videos, website resources, etc.) compared to the “real education” of being here. These are his impressions with only minor edits for grammar and other tidbits.)

Barentsburg boat crash update (12:30 p.m. Monday): Catamaran hit dock at unusually high rate of speed; injury count raised to 37


A tour boat was going “at a significantly higher speed than usual” when it crashed into a dock in Barentsburg on Sunday, injuring 37 of the 125 people aboard, according to officials.

BREAKING: 34 injured, at least one seriously, after high-speed tour boat collides with dock in Barentsburg

At least thirty-four people were injured, at least one seriously, when the high-speed catamaran Aurora Explorer collided with the dock in Barentsburg at about 10 a.m., according to The Governor of Svalbard.

Access of evil: Polar bears in eastern Barents Sea have highest toxin levels on Earth; Russia, China, climate change blamed


Polar bears who spend most of their time on the sea ice east of Svalbard have one-third more toxic pollutants in their blood than bears elsewhere in the Arctic, according to a 15-year study.

Among the primary reasons are high levels of industrial pollution from China and Russia, plus the fact polar bears in the east Barents Sea are being forced to exert more energy hunting and swimming – and therefore eat more – due to the rapid loss of Arctic ice caused by climate change.

Random weirdness for the week of July 10, 2018


Being the Official Source© for UFO sightings in Svalbard we of course are rushing to report that the above photo of the “Northern Lights” in Svalbard, shot from the International Space Station, is proof of spaceships are still finding the archipelago an attractive visiting spot.

Leaving a foul taste: Photo of polar bear cubs chewing on plastic sets off latest round of righteous outrage


It’s a sad portrait of polar bear cubs toying with a big piece of plastic while their mother rests nearby – and just another viral instance of oh-so-many recent tragic pictures of bears, seals, reindeer, birds and other wildlife affected by the wasteful habits of humans. Then again, like the others, it conveys just one of the oh-so-many ways trash, pollution and climate change is screwing things up for the native inhabitants.

Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of July 3, 2018

Svalbard Auto to begin by-the-hour car-sharing this fall
A car-sharing program allowing people to use cars at locations in the center of Longyearbyen for an hourly fee is scheduled to start this fall. “We are looking to start the our car-sharing service with four to six cars, and we’ll see how this works,” said Roger Eriksen, general manager of Svalbard Auto. The cars will be located between Svalbardbutikken and The University Centre in Svalbard, and can be booked using a smartphone app. There are more than 1,000 registered cars in Longyearbyen, including many who have access to vehicles through an employer, but “here are also many who do not have a car,” Eriksen said. “They may need to borrow a car to shop for food, take a driving tour and have greater freedom when they get visitors from the mainland.” The dealership received a grant from Innovation Norway to implement the project.