A trip to the Svalbard Archipeglio

I had fought with MMS blogging for a while, and lost, but I wanted to create some kind of ‘live’ diary of this once in a lifetime trip. The telco’s have such stupid costs for data when roaming that for a long time MMS was the ‘only’ option (It still is for ‘live’ blogging outside your ‘home’ country unless WiFi is within reasonably frequent range), but with the constant changing standards imposed by some networks nothing worked reliably without stripping at least some content. Flickr worked, for a while, but stopped just before I needed it really work, so at the time Moblog.net became the only option, and it couldn’t put the content where I really wanted it.

Still, with so little coverage so far North, I had no idea if anything would work at all, and in the end it didn’t. I ended up saving all the messages and they automatically sent when I came back into network coverage, which was sometime during the wee small hours of the final night onboard ship. This meant the chronology got a little mixed up and I needed further editing to make the story work.

Update, 28/04/12.

Finally I got around to copying the essay over from Moblog where it is still published as of today. This has sat in my task list for a long time, but it is now finally published in my own space, as was originally intended. The chronology has been tidied further, and all the dates are correct from the original MMS messages, not the time of the post. That will have to wait for another day, and another project.

Update, 02/06/13

Page reformatted, and a task made to dig out the EXIF data for the real timings of the trip. I guess doing the same trip today I’d be better equipped, and more able to produce a journal of the events. At the time the trip was documented on an Aspire netbook, a Nokia N95 and my trusty Pentax DSLR. 

The final countdown

Moblog feed to site done. Just some polish to add, and fingers crossed it all actually works, and everything else is crossed that there is some coverage to actually make a travelogue!

The countdown begins

17th Aug 2008, 11:46

Packing

Packing away

Where does it all go? And do we need it all?

21st Aug 2008, 11:54 

Ready to go

Ready to go

Everything is now ready. If it is not in the bags, it is not going!

Just having a beer before bed, then a final few tasks before we leave in the morning.

21st Aug 2008, 21:16  

Waiting for the gate

Waiting for gate

Ready for the ‘real’ off!

24th Aug 2008, 10:21 

In the lounge

In the lounge

Sat waiting in the unfinished “lounge”in Manchester. Can’t wait before we are off…. Lets go.

24th Aug 2008, 11:14  

Leaving Manchester

Leaving manchester

In the air at last.

24th Aug 2008, 13:23 

Above the coast of Norway

Above the coast of norway

24th Aug 2008, 13:54  

10min ground to Hotel

10min ground to hotel

24th Aug 2008, 14:52

Oslo

Oslo 1

A cool city, very Euro cosmopolitan. Asian festival on the dockside, and lots of people strutting their stuff on a very pleasant Sunday evening. Food by TGI (We know! but it was simple, filling, though not so cheap, but I guess that’s Oslo). Back at Hotel now, making use of the free internet to make this post, from tomorrow we will lose that, with only sparse cell coverage.

Oslo 2

24th Aug 2008, 20:13 

Glamorous?

Glamorous

A banner in Oslo airport listing all the glamorous and important locations around Europe you can reach from here,except one. I’ll leave you to guess which!

24th Aug 2008, 22:10

Big bird

Big bird

Final prep.

25th Aug 2008, 07:43  

Tromsø then Longyearbyen

Troms then longyearbyen

25th Aug 2008, 09:15

Inside the circle

 

Inside the circle

Inside the circle 1

Stopover. Didn’t read ticket, but its just a few min.

25th Aug 2008, 11:08 

Arrival

Arrival

25th Aug 2008, 13:19 

Caffe und kuche

Caffe und kuche

Maybe the last civilisation, and I’d bet the last free internet we’ll find. The cake is brilliant, Snickers cake, it may be the best thing to eat for a little while! Met a couple from Blackpool. Small world.

Must eat…..

25th Aug 2008, 15:13

Home for 10 days

Home for 10 days

Basic accommodation.

25th Aug 2008, 15:41

Underway

Michelle is happy to be underway

I think my plan of adding map data won’t work. With no network I can’t use Assisted GPS, and it takes an age to get a lock. I’ll have to update later.

4th Sep 2008, 04:04

Glacier Front

Glacier front

Blue skies sun and a glacier front.

4th Sep 2008, 04:00

Ice towers

Ice towers

4th Sep 2008, 04:00  

Polar bear kill

Polar bear kill

The bear was just visible high on the mountainside behind us.

4th Sep 2008, 04:04

Behind the lens

Behind the lens

How I’m spending my days!

4th Sep 2008, 04:02 

Still waters

Still waters

4th Sep 2008, 04:03  

Northern Train

Northern train

Ny Alusund. The worlds most northern settlement. I’ve no idea how these will get through now, I’d guessed there would be a signal here. Oh well, best laid plans etc.

4th Sep 2008, 04:03

Back to ship

Back to ship

4th Sep 2008, 04:04 

Ice sculptures

Ice sculptures

4th Sep 2008, 04:04

First proper bear sighting!

First proper sighting

He was not happy with our presence, and soon was in the water swimming across the inlet.

4th Sep 2008, 04:05  

Fast cruise

Fast cruise

4th Sep 2008, 04:05 

Reflective

More reflections

4th Sep 2008, 04:06 

Final resting place

Final resting place

The cross just simply said ‘Man’s skull’, though nearby there was evidence of a 16th century Pomore settlement.

4th Sep 2008, 04:06  

Walrus

Walrus

4th Sep 2008, 04:06

More reflections

Reflective

4th Sep 2008, 04:06

Home

Home

4th Sep 2008, 04:07

Pebbles

Pebbles

4th Sep 2008, 04:08

Arctic desert

Arctic desert

4th Sep 2008, 04:07 

Flight

Flight

4th Sep 2008, 04:08

Warming

Warming

2 soups. The food was basic, along with the accommodation, but absolutely nothing to complain about.

4th Sep 2008, 04:10  

Skyscrapers

Skyscrapers

4th Sep 2008, 04:10

So much to see!

So much to see

4th Sep 2008, 04:10

Delicate survival

Delicate survival

4th Sep 2008, 04:13

Scotch?

Scotch

For some reason I really fancied a drink.

4th Sep 2008, 04:13 

Arctic Sunrise

Arctic sunrise

5.30 am. Ice front.

4th Sep 2008, 04:14 

Recent visitor

Recent visitor

4th Sep 2008, 04:14

Arctic Sunset

Arctic sunset

4th Sep 2008, 04:14

Bear!

Bear

4th Sep 2008, 04:15

Ice Walkers

Ice walkers

4th Sep 2008, 04:16

Shy walrus

Shy walsus

This one slipped into the water and kept dipping his head under water, them he’d pop up, look at us, them hide again. I can’t see you, you can’t see me!

4th Sep 2008, 04:16

Kill?

Walrus kill

Walrus with a seal kill. A very rare sight. He left it on the ice, and slipped into the water. Just when we thought he’d gone he came back and carefully pulled the kill into the water.

4th Sep 2008, 04:16  

Soaring

Soaring

4th Sep 2008, 04:16

Family

Family

This moment was so wonderful I actually forgot to breathe.

4th Sep 2008, 04:16 

Who is watching who?

Who is watching who

4th Sep 2008, 04:17

Svalbard reindeer

Svalbard reindeer

They were not bothered about us in the least.

4th Sep 2008, 04:17

Whales

Whales

An encounter with fin whales.

4th Sep 2008, 04:20

Stormy Seas

Stormy seas

Force 6, open sea, many miles to go. Many people down with sea sickness.

4th Sep 2008, 04:21

Leave me alone!

Leave me alone

This bear did not want to be seen either.

4th Sep 2008, 04:21  

Delicate

Delicate

Tiny bell flowers.

4th Sep 2008, 04:21  

Zodiac Cruise

Zodiac cruise

4th Sep 2008, 04:21

The Ship’s bridge

Ships bridge

The best place to be for ‘spotting’.

4th Sep 2008, 04:38 

Back in port

Back in port

After all the planning, saving etc. Now just the journey home.

But with such a lot of memories.

4th Sep 2008, 08:00

Loading up

Loading up

Svalbard Airport.

4th Sep 2008, 13:07

Tromsø in the rain

Tromso in the rain

Starting to feel like its all over.

4th Sep 2008, 16:44 

Last Leg.

Last leg

Boarding now for the last flight back to Manchester. I’m actually looking forward to getting home now, but already miss the open spaces.

5th Sep 2008, 08:29
Svalbard, August 2008. All photos copyright of the2ofus.com/sandgrounder.net and may note be reproduced without permission.