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A day at Bjørnøya (Bear Island)

Just before jumping on the water and becoming members of the bathing club

30th June 2023

We had a great evening anchored at a little protected cove. All around us we had high cliffs and a lot of seagull like birds (who Steve said we’re not seagulls) we’re living there. These seemed much friendlier than other seagulls on our way and very curious about our visit.

We came in around midnight and we were really tired and cold and ended the night with a cup of tea. This is also a place where Sarah is slowly turning Steves habits away from bitter milky and sugary tea to tea without milk or sugar. When looking at Steves face you can see the struggle of not adding sugar.

After a really good and long sleep under deck and with comforters rather than all the sailing gear we woke to a new morning of no wind. This was the moment Sarah was ambushed by Steves plan of making the day into a practical day! He had a whole list of things to be done; fixing the stove’s sparking function where one wasn’t working properly, sewing hangers into life jackets, fixing the wind instruments at the top of the mast (this Sarah had been warned of as we blame the seagull for ruining it while crossing from Tromsø) and fixing the toilet (which would be nice as it was a little unreliable when flushing healed over, but definitely not a fun job).

Luckily, the only thing Sarah really could help with was going up the mast and change the wind instruments. This is always a little nerve wrecking to be up there working but Steve had several harnesses and made sure Sarah was safe, and the wind was low so it was ok.

While Steve was working hard splitting the toilet to pieces Sarah started a new book describing the British nature with words no longer in common use (this might get too philosophical for her). After having read some pages she was absolutely exhausted and Steve found her sleeping with the book in her hands. On the bright side we both learned that Kimmeridge means ‘the light breeze which blows through your armpit hair when you are stretched out sunbathing.’ We will try to work this word into our vocabulary, but might find it hard to use on this trip.

Today was an early day as we had to catch the wind toward Svalbard at 5 pm, but also wanted to go to land in the dinghy and visit the meteorological station to become members of the most northern naked bathing club.

We had to leave our anchorage to go to another cove to go to land, but unfortunately our anchor wouldn’t grip. After several tries we decided to continue to the meteorological station. Anchoring here was not sheltered, but the mission was too important to abort. So after anchoring in a very exposed and rocky cove we used the dinghy to get to the beach and we were met by the nicest people from the station. To become members you have to a) bath naked b) get your head under water c) be supervised by people from the station. Steve was quite sceptical of the project and the enthusiasm was not on top – the water was only 4.7C.

But after having done it it really felt like a great way to celebrate having spent two months on the boat together.

So now we have set sails for a fast reach towards Svalbard. Again the temperatures are dropping but if the wind stays the same, we will reach southern Svalbard in 24 hours.

Snowbear at anchor bear island

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