The mysteries of the Pyramyden mine
78º 64'N 16º 27'E Pyramiden
We have been very cold tonight. When you decide to choose an exploration trip with these characteristics, you already know that even the routes depend on external factors. Being in the Arctic has one added ... it's very cold!
Today we are going out later, since part of the crew has spent the night in Pyramiden, to see if he managed an interview with some inhabitant of this soulless place. That is why, after a relaxed breakfast, some of us have gone down to discover the lower part of the passenger and coal terminal, just under the mountain, almost the only thing we did not see yesterday and that leaves kilometers of abandonment inside the Montana
Fernando, Ibon, Jytte and Isaac we walk again on the broadways, those large drawers that serve as a conduit for the waterproofed cables in an interior, and at another time they must have been of vital importance for an efficient operation, especially in winter, of the great Pyramiden.
Again, that feeling of abandonment in certainly inexplicable conditions, perhaps generates something more than a slight inquetitud in us. Especially when seeing those wagons only deteriorated by the passage of time in decadent bracing roads with wooden sleepers, which now barely have a seat under them, letting water streams run their way.
Going up where the coal was formerly extracted, perhaps it also does not sensibly give our ride, especially when we hear the weak wooden planks crumble at our feet
In a kind of siding, we see a huge electrical panel and a cabin, of what should once be a control point, and now serves as a refuge and nesting birds.
Hundreds and hundreds, even thousands of birds, are surprised by our presence, even altering them wanting to defend their territory, which Alfred Hitchcock movie was about. It gives some respect to look out and even some want to attack us ...
It is complex to explain in words the sensations that this visit to an abandoned place projects on us, just like yesterday. Just thinking that there was life here and that in strange circumstances everything was abandoned in just 20 hours already leaves a certain unease, but knowing that there is tens of kilometers excavated in the mountain completely left to their fate, as if it were an apple bored by a worm, it generates many unknowns. What strange mysteries enclose those dark passages? A shadow in a window tells us that "maybe" it is time to return ...
Up the "roller coaster" continues but, with some respect, we set foot again on the path that has taken us here. The sailboat awaits us towards a new destination ...
The day we discovered what whales eat ...
78º 20'N 14º 44 'E Watching a whale
The fjord Isfjorden is possibly one of the most type of whales and marine mammals congregated by the Svalbard. In fact, Fernando, with whom we have made very good crumbs in addition to David (both of us very well), told us about the "beluga dance" that they saw entering a cruise ship in Lyonyearbyen the other day (and also what these beluga whales eat which are not sailboats hehe). It was 10 or 12, all together, passing by the ship. What fear not?
Life aboard a boat in the Arctic is like that of a Big Brother, where people of different characters offer our greatest generosity to collaborate in everyday tasks and the patience necessary to live together.
There is hardly any wind in this kind of bay, and we continue to drive, which makes the day present excellent to continue enjoying the sun that has not left us any day (it seems incredible, right? We would never have imagined it in polar areas) . Some take the opportunity to rest from the night watch and others write these quiet lines.
The food has been extraordinary everyday. Away from pre-cooked industrial products, Fernando or David prepared it every day in a homemade way, today, however, Ibon has offered to delight us with exquisite "Rioja Potatoes", the products are counted, but the imagination is unlimited even It gives for an impromptu little snack.
Carmen He has spent almost all day on board. It has become a revelation of the trip. Friendly, witty, talkative and educated, very cultured. Even with that point of impudence of people who always speak things directly, but know how to shut up when they should.
Although the reality is that you are looking for possible bears on the banks, your patience gets results around 18'00, when your alarm voice disturbs the inner tranquility of the sailboat !! WHALE! !!WHALES!! The ship moves in less than a minute. Some forget the camera, others even the jacket. In the distance an imposing marine mammal is seen expelling water to great heights.
The sailboat leaves the autopilot to one side, reduces the gear, and turns almost 30º the course towards the sighting, maintaining a certain precaution. We don't know what kind of whale we are going to find. It didn't take more than 20 minutes to arrive ... !!It's huge!! Behind, there is a small rear fin but its huge spine gives it away. Jytte at first doubt, but the closer we get, the clearer it is, it is a whale or also called fin whale.
Fernando, with David's help, climbs to the top of the mast. The one that is seen in the distance, almost 11 stories high in a building. !!What a vertigo!! Who knows, we do the same one of these days.
Suddenly the rock changes course and heads towards us! We are talking about second largest animal on the planet, only surpassed by the blue whale and can reach 27 meters (this is somewhat smaller, but would be larger than our sailboat)
At the beginning we get a little "canguele" but when we see that its direction turns a little we approach the bow to take pictures. Is a unique, authentic, unadulterated scene ... fruit of what nature wants to give us and without dozens of boats around us. We are the whale and we, and nobody else.
The Rorcual surrounds us and approaches less than 1 meter from the sailboat at certain times. Play with us. We are insignificant, even small, in its wake. Any whale is a beautiful animal for us since we discovered our dear ones. Humpback whales in Antarctica years ago and we had the privilege of swim with whales in Tonga, the most exciting madness we have ever done.
Sadly, the whale was also not saved from intensive hunting in the 20th century and is currently in danger of extinction as it seems that there are less than 3000 copies left. We speak of a "bug" of 70 tons of weight but that is nevertheless considered fast and agile, being able to reach 40 km / h and having the qualification of the "greyhound of the seas"
We are more than half an hour with her, as if she had taken care of us. Every so often it submerges and disappears but within a few minutes it emerges again on another side of the ship. Although we cannot hear it from the surface, it is sure that it tries to "talk" with us, something that we could see in Tonga when we swam with the Yubarta and heard, those loud, clear and low-frequency sounds associated with the ancient legends of siren songs.
What It is clear to us what the whales eat ... and they are NOT sailboats! If I had wanted I could have shattered the sailboat. Its weight and size could have overturned if he had wanted, but his diet is more oriented to squid, crustaceans and krill, being able to submerge to depths of more than 200 meters to get it ...
... and it is precisely in one of these dives when disappears definitely, leaving a huge bubble in the water beside us. He has decided that it was time to leave and follow his course, and we ours.
The helm turns back to our destination, but first we see it again in the distance. This time yes, to say goodbye forever. It has been one of the most wonderful encounters we have ever had, and something we will never forget.
! Long live Carmen! This meeting could not have taken place if it had not been for her after spending all day looking ... a clear example that anything in life is possible, if pursued. !!Thank you very much!!
The sun continues to illuminate the entire horizon, lower and lower. The midnight sun has not abandoned us since our departure and will not set today. Again we sail 5 knots to who knows what a wonderful place
The Midnight Sun over the Ymerbutka Glacier
78º 16'N 13º 59'E Ymerbukta
Today we have definitely put aside the excellent cuisine of David and Fernando and it is Jytte who prepares us an exquisite salmon stew too, while we take the opportunity to put some order in our cabins.
It is also a good time to collect photos and videos of the meeting we had a while ago, and to take that colacao that does not fail every afternoon since we faced the adventure
It is around 22'00 when we enter the bay of Ymerbukta, one of the most beautiful and well-known places that the Svalbard archipelago leaves but to which we will descend already tomorrow since the temperature has also dropped a lot.
He Midnight Sun show has not abandoned us every day. It is really spectacular, leaving colors and shades throughout the arctic landscape really incredible. Really, there comes a time that one does not know what adjectives to use and not be too "pompous." Entering Ymerbutka Bay with this natural spectacle leaves one speechless and we will try to show you with our videos in the future.
David and Fernando, while we see the glacier with less light on the other side of the bay, we have prepared a surprise specially designed for Carmen ... a whale-shaped sponge cake to celebrate your sighting! They are two really amazing people, one of those that you would take with you to any company, business or just to travel. Educated, cordial, affectionate, always attentive, they are possibly the great success of the adventure, which as always and on any side of the planet depends a lot on people rather than on "monuments" ...
Tomorrow we expect another intense day in the Norwegian Arctic, this time on a glacier that hides many stories and the occasional "surprise", but that is already part of another story. !!See you tomorrow everyone!! from the arctic waters that leave the most wonderful encounters on the planet ... !! Until always our dear rorcual !!
Paula and Isaac, from Svalbard (Norwegian Arctic)