Category Archives: Svalbard

BE NOT THAT AFRAID: Yes, a polar bear (or two) is lurking near town Saturday – but that’s NOT why this helicopter is rattling roofs

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Locals missed out on dozens of dogs yelping, but there were a few cases of the yipes at noon Saturday as residents wondering if a polar bear lurking near town was the reason a rescue helicopter was perched on the ridge of Sukkartoppen a short distance above homes.

Short answer: no. Somewhat longer answer: Click the blue box below.

FIERCE FALL: Yet more cabins ransacked by polar bear, field research cancelled near Longyearbyen due to bear visits

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A trend of late summer/early fall visits by polar bears near Longyearbyen is continuing in great numbers this year as the latest of many visits and intrusions into cabins was reported the past weekend and all field research in valleys near town was cancelled indefinitely Monday due to multiple recent bear visits.

FRIDAY NIGHT FRIGHTS: Polar bear ‘slaughters’ raft and damages motorboat, leaving two men stranded at Fredheim

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Two men returning to their anchored boat at Fredheim on Friday evening got a not-exactly-warm welcome from an uninvited guest as a polar bear climbed aboard and destroyed “significant valuables,” in addition to “slaughtering” the inflatable boat they used to reach shore to go on a hike.

Jon Kristian Bø (who took the above photo) and Dag Nilsen saw distinctive claw and teeth marks on the raft upon their return, causing the men to immediately scan the landscape for bears before turning their attention to the water, according to Svalbardposten (article in Norwegian – no subscription required). That’s when they saw the bear rummaging on the motor boat about 30 meters away.

“It was a strange feeling to see the polar bear sitting in the boat,” Nilsen told the newspaper. “It was both beautiful and scary at the same time.”

TACOS ON TRIAL: ‘Soft’ opening of new truck with soft ‘authentic’ street tacos draws large crowd during wee hours

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A few hours earlier things definitely weren’t so hot, with Andreas Styrsell worrying about certain essentials such as electricity for the “soft opening” of his new taco truck. But a few hours later at 11 p.m. Friday things were (mostly) sizzling along at the world’s northernmost food truck – by a mere few meters of his “competition” – with Styrsell reassuring some in the cluster of customers the fare wasn’t too hot for those whose taste buds were as low on the Scoville scale as the mercury in the thermometer in the chilly Arctic midnight twilight.

‘ROUTINE’ STORMY SVALBARD SEA RESCUE: 16 passengers lifted to helicopter after expedition ship gets stuck in ice

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A Swedish expedition vessel that got stuck in ice Tuesday in Hinlopenstretet, giving the 16 passengers a dramatic sea story to share after being removed from the vessel by rescue helicopter, is now loose and attempting to leave the area, according to published reports Wednesday.

BUILDING THE ECONOMY UP: Economic activity in Svalbard increases 11.4 percent in 2018, due largely to construction

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The past few years of economic and literal destruction in Longyearbyen due to the near elimination of mining as a cornerstone industry and existing homes due to risks caused by climate change has paved the way for a strong rebound in economic activity, as total gross income for Svalbard increased 11.4 percent in 2018 compared to 2017, Statistics Norway reported Thursday.

Svalbard Daily Planet for the week of Aug. 19-25, 2019

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Climate change forces reindeer turn to seaweed (we’re pretty sure that means “eat” rather than literally transform), salvage resumes on the Northguider trawler, more about tourists wrecking and picking up wreckage in pristine areas, the Svalbard icebreaker is the first Norwegian ship to reach the North Pole, area temperatures at highest point in 300-year timespan and more headlines from the global media about this blessed land of the frozen chosen (with our always inspirational masthead motto for the day in italics).

PYRAMIDEN.NET: Russian ghost town famed for lone tiny phone ‘hotspot’ sets aside reluctance and installs internet service

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(Photo by Elizabeth Bourne)

Among the many peculiarities in the world’s northernmost ghost town was a lone “hotspot” where getting an often-spotty mobile phone signal was possible – which was how the handful of modern employees without a connection to the outside world said they preferred it as part of preserving the character of a truly remote Arctic settlement. But that’s now over – very likely to the relief for a rapidly growing number of visitors –  as future ambitions are supplanting historic nostalgia as Pyramiden now wired for internet as well as phone signals.

SUMMER RERUNS: Polar bear again visits cabin area near Longyearbyen where sightings have occurred in recent days as well as past years

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A polar bear visiting and inflicting damage to a cabin near Longyearbyen on Wednesday night that was chased away by a rescue helicopter is believed to be the same one seen in the area that was also chased off during the weekend, according to The Governor of Svalbard.

Svalbard Daily Planet for the week of Aug. 11-18, 2019

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More tensions with Russia as a key ocean research project and a much-anticipated Hurtigruten cruise east of Svalbard are in peril, weather delays the removal of the wrecked Northguider trawler from north Svalbard, Svalbard called “good practices” example as cruises to other small Arctic communities cause problems, start of annual whaling season brings annual protests, Store Norske coal to aid climate research before mines are dismantled, and more stories from media around the world you may have missed.