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The Joy’s Not Always in the Journey

Now that we’re peacefully moored up in port back on the mainland in Hammerfest – the promised land of shore power, floating docks, fresh fruit and veg and the almighty internet! – I’m ready to write about the whole crossing. Now that the whole getting here part is part of the past…. The crossing wasn’t a whole lot of fun, but I don’t think any of us really expected it to be. And despite some uncomfortable sailing, there were definitely […]

Leaving Svalbard

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.

On the technical side

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.

True North at N 81°09.098’

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 […]

Barba Friday

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 […]

Fleeting Arctic Moments

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.

The great wanderer

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

The next leap North

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.

Walruses and the Russian experience in Barentsburg

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 […]

Southwest Svalbard and the push to Longyearbyen

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 […]