Sunday, 29 March 2009

The skiing is perfect - silkeføre

These are condition we call silkeføre. Silkeføre is soft, easy, really fantastic snow conditions. In Norway the expression is used in many other contexts - when something is really good.

Friday, 27 March 2009


A perfectly functional vehicle in Tromsø in wintertime. In Norwegian its name is Spark.

Monday, 23 March 2009

The Thing - Mats Gustavsson

The jazz-café; Circa in Tromsø is hosting concerts, often on weekdays and Sundays. Yesterday The Thing (Mats Gustafsson, Ingebrigt Haker Flaten, and Paal Nilssen-Love) visited. Being one of the hardest playing trios on the Scandinavian contemporary jazz scene they made a blasting Sunday evening for everyone in place. Below you see Mats Gustavsson who is also known for his projects with Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth. The homepage of Smalltown Superjazzz says: Mats Gustafsson is currently Sweden's and perhaps Europe's most well-known artist within free improvised music.

Saturday, 21 March 2009


The year my father was born. Tromsø had about 10000 inhabitants. A 60 years old iron gate.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

A Roald Amundsen day in Tromsø

Today, we had typical Tromsø winter weather. Snow dumped down in mild temperatures. This makes most people wet and miserable (unless you are a skier, or a long gone legendary polar explorer in bronze).

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Landing across the ice at 80° N

Amongst my favorite moments in expedition cruising is when the conditions are such that you don't have to use other landing crafts than you own two feet. This is from Chermsideøya high north in the Svalbard archipelago.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

What the future brings the Polar Bears?

An important meeting with the signatory parties of the Polar Bear Agreement is taking place in Tromsø between 17th and 19th March 2009.

In 1973 the countries with a polar bear population (Russia, Denmark/Greenland, Norway, USA and Canada) managed to agree on the protection regime for polar bears. Only traditional hunting would be allowed. In Spitsbergen the polar bears are not hunted at all by indigenous peoples - hence the local population is functioning as a reference.

However, the Norwegian Minister of Environment, Erik Solheim is pointing at excessive tourism as a potential threat towards this population (in addition to sea ice reduction and long-transported pollutants that bio-magnify in the food-web and ends up in high concentrations in top-predators). He is off course right, excessive and irresponsible tourism is a threat - but not the only.

Over the years, I have conducted about 60 sea-born expeditions with tourists to the areas of Svalbard with the highest concentrations of polar bears - the eastern parts of the archipelago. Once, I have flown with helicopter over some of the same areas.

Obvious to me; My one helicopter ride caused more stressed polar bears than all my 60 expeditions combined (by far).

Tourism flights with helicopters are prohibited in Svalbard. Tourism and conservation in Polar Regions are highly compatible and should be used for what it's worth to advocate the polar bear cause.

The pictures below are calm and easy going polar bears, on the east side of Svalbard.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Chinstrap Penguins at Baily Head, Antarctica

This picture is taken very early in the morning. I was guiding a group of hikers across from Baily Head, Deception Island, Antarctica to Whalers Bay. This is a fantastic hike that takes you through one of the largest chinstrap penguin colonies in the Antarctic Peninsula.

BAS Twin Otters

Fascination for polar aviation? These British Antarctic Survey planes are stationed in the Falkland Islands where I took this picture. They stand out even better in an all white Antarctic environment.

Monday, 9 March 2009


Travelled through Hammerfest a while ago with Hurtigruten. What a city! Quite colorful and thriving on the natural gas taken ashore on the nearby Melkøya, where there is a plant that is, essentially, a giant 10 billion $ fridge that makes it liquid and transfers it to Liquid Natural Gas vessels that takes it to the markets.

A few hours further north, before you arrive the port of Havøysund, you witness another method of luring energy out of nature. The giant windmills dot the spectacular cliff in an intriguing way.