Hot off the press: As Longyearbyen hits 90 months of above-average temps, here’s the story of the “Hell on Earth” summer told in headlines

Hot off the press: As Longyearbyen hits 90 months of above-average temps, here’s the story of the “Hell on Earth” summer told in headlines

Hitting 90 straight months of above average temperatures in Longyearbyen certainly makes for a hot headline. But it’s nothing compared to the heat felt by locals spending their summer holidays scattered elsewhere More »

Soggy Saturday: Nearly 25mm of rain possible during weekend storm; road between Huset and Museumsveien closed due to landslide danger

Soggy Saturday: Nearly 25mm of rain possible during weekend storm; road between Huset and Museumsveien closed due to landslide danger

There’s a couple of great outdoor events this weekend in the form of a 24-hour mountaineering marathon and a three-day beach cleanup/camping trip – but a major rainstorm between Friday night and More »

Going shooting? Get shot first: Reindeer hunters urged to get rabies vaccinations, take precautions after two animals diagnosed with disease

Going shooting? Get shot first: Reindeer hunters urged to get rabies vaccinations, take precautions after two animals diagnosed with disease

Reindeer hunters are being advised to get rabies vaccinations and take extra precautions in the field this year after a reindeer and a fox tested positive for the disease in recent months. More »

SVALBARD SOVEREIGNTY: Norway’s royal family sees polar bears, picks up beach trash, visits museums and does other “typical” stuff during weeklong vacation

SVALBARD SOVEREIGNTY: Norway’s royal family sees polar bears, picks up beach trash, visits museums and does other “typical” stuff during weeklong vacation

They were just another family taking a weeklong holiday in Svalbard. They got a reprieve from the mainland heat while gazing at the fjords and wildlife during sometimes chilly boat trips. They removed ocean More »

It’s all in the blame: Shooting of polar bear a tragedy of climate, weather, selfie tourism, sustainable tourism, food choices, liberals, racism, etc., according to headlines

It’s all in the blame: Shooting of polar bear a tragedy of climate, weather, selfie tourism, sustainable tourism, food choices, liberals, racism, etc., according to headlines

The hits just keep coming. When Svalbard’s polar bears make the news they usually do so virally and bizarrely, and the bear that was shot on Saturday after attacking a cruise ship guard More »

 

Random weirdness for the week of July 24, 2018

catbarentsburg

Anywhere else on Earth this is merely a cute kid (redundant phrase) trying to pet an ugly cat (also redundant). But here it’s a criminal act that we’re arguably complicit in (not to mention being media whores for giving into the inevitable pussy, foxy and other non G-rated innuendo that follows).

Bipolar disorder: Record cruise crowds bring riches, but also complaints of intrusive behavior toward kids, cabin dwellers, wildlife

bipolarmain

An “invasion” of cabins and a kindergarten. Attacking birds and petting reindeer. Treating everywhere outdoors as a port-a-potty and digging up wild plants to take home.

The increasing intensity and frequency of such complaints about cruise ship passengers – especially when larger ships can mean up to 8,000 extra people in a 2,000-person town – aren’t just local vs. visitor feuds. Often they’re pitting local against local, with the pro-cruise folks arguing the complaints are about a relative handful of visitors, but can result in a generally negative attitude toward all of them.

Petrol power: Gas rises to top of post-coal electricity options for Longyearbyen, government-ordered report states

gaspower

Gas is cost-effective, clean and secure in terms of supplies, while alternatives such as solar, wind and an a giant “extension cable” from the mainland fail to match up in one or more aspects. And continuing to burn coal is for all practical purposes up in soot.

Random weirdness for the week of July 17, 2018

yachtice

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

nohotwater

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

boatisback

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

leadkidmap

(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

barentsburgcollision

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

eastbears

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.