It’s 4:30AM and I’ve just finished my last watch before we head offshore and slowly sail away from the main Svalbard archipelago toward Bjornoya (Bear Island), about 180 nautical miles away. We made the decision to head out after dinner and after consulting the weather and wind maps. Conditions aren’t ideal, with some fairly strong headwinds coming our way soon. But there are no storms a-brewing, either.
It´s nighttime in Svalbard. Since just a few days, the midnight sun is no longer with us so there´s a sort of twilight now. The temperature outside reads 2,7 degrees C, visibility is down to 50 meters in the fog and the water is littered with ice. Barba is threading her way South with Jon at the helm.
I’m writing from a quiet Barba salon, one of those rare moments when you’re all alone on the boat when you’re actually not all alone on the boat. Everyone is still knocked out cold in their cabins after getting to bed quite late again last night. It’s hardly early morning, though. Rather, approaching lunchtime in the “real world.” But the Barba crew remains on their own times and terms in this surreal place and season we´re sailing through. I cherish […]
We hardly keep track of the days of the week. But Friday is an exception. It´s the the most sacred day on Barba. And to nobody´s surprise, we call it Barba Friday. It´s always associated with a nature performance as well as an extra ration of rum. There were the Friday pilot whales in Andenes back on the mainland, the walrus colony south of Ny-Ålesund and, a good week ago, about 70 or so Beluga whales that came within 30 […]
Yesterday, I was making tuna salad for lunch in the Barba galley where we were anchored in Kinnvika on the west side of Nordaustlandet when I decided to open the window to air out the steam from the kettle, simultaneously taking a glance toward the far shore.
Late at night, out of nowhere he appeared. The polar bear, or the great wanderer as the Inuit call him. The first sighting was one of many milestones on our journey, and a definitive highlight so far.
From the arctic adventure of the sailing yacht Barba - www.barba.np
It´s Sunday in Ny-Ålesund, and Barba is getting ready to sail out after one night in port here. Up until now, our Svalbard journey has been a rather comfortable one. We have visited the three main settlements on the island, namely Longyearbyen, Barentsburg and Ny-Ålesund. Each place has offered the comforts we usually take for granted. Internet, stores, sauna and the opportunity to meet with interesting men and women with stories to tell from the Arctic outposts.
If Longyearbyen was a little piece of the Continent in Svalbard – or more like a little piece of the world, considering all the people we met from all over there – then Barentsburg was something different entirely. A little piece of Russia, to be precise. The Russian coal mining settlement of Barentsburg is home to about 500 people. By Daniel Hug A Russian settlement and coal mining town just a five-hour sail away from Longyearbyen in neighboring Grønfjord, Barentsburg is […]
It’s been a week since we first set foot on Svalbard, but the endless daylight and constant impressions make it seem like longer. The exhaustion of the crossing from Tromsø feels like a distant blip now, so sweet has the reward been to finally arrive in this archipelago. The crossing to Svalbard, with the gennaker being put to use while the wind and weather was still somewhat pleasant. By Daniel Hug After nearly four days of constant motion and keeling, the […]
It was 2AM on Friday when we finally sailed out of Tromsø. Barba sat heavy in the water, loaded with provisions, diesel and all manner of gear for 40 days up in the North. After eight hours we found ourselves facing the open ocean, with three days of transit ahead of us. We started out sailing at a decent speed of 7 knots. The next day, however, the wind left us.