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Chilling at Trinityhamna

Arctic fox running

15th July 2023

Trinityhamna is a historic landmark as 130 people are buried here. We would not have known these were graves if they hadn’t had a fence around them as it just looks like piles of rocks.

This cruise ship that had joined us was a smaller one, so we decided to go to shore when they had all started their tour and was a little bit away from the beach. At the grave site quite a few arctic terns were nesting and as it seemed busy catching fish for the babies Steve saw his chance to photograph the aggressive bird babies in their nest. Oh how wrong he was.

As soon at it had delivered the fish it turned its attention to scaring Steve away by sqeeking and diving towards his head – this time just touching his cap. He had to give up the photograph.

We had been told that there was a walrus colony around the corner and decided to in that direction. We were stopped by two friendly Sysselmen who are staying in a cabin here to make sure nobody goes near the graves. In Svalbard they are very serious about protecting the historical artefacts. It is strictly forbidden to touch and move things found ashore and if it is found out by a Sysselman you will be in a lot of trouble. These two Sysselmen were extremely friendly and very eager to share stories about baluga whales and wildlife in the fjord. They told us that we had just missed a lonely bear swimming across and wondering past their cabin the day before. We always seemed one step behind the animal.

They also told us that we could not walk to the walruses but should take the boat there and if we tried to walk we would be attacked by the terns as they had a lot of nest in that direction.

Steve couldn’t help himself at had to try to get a nesting picture. Trying in this direction however was a huge failure as he was quickly discovered and attacked by multiple birds. 

While considering our next move for the day the Sysselman came running towards us. “The cruise ship has left and there is an arctic fox on the beach now!” This is clearly one of the perks of being in a sail boat as we seem a lot more popular with the locals than the cruise ships.

We slowly moved towards the little guy who was clearly enjoying a feast of tern eggs and not really caring for their attacks. While sitting completely still at the beach Steve was able to get some quite close pictures of it running across the beach.

We returned to the boat and decided to have a quick dip in the water that had a tempting blue colour but it was only 8 degrees, so it was not really for swimming.

Then we took of to find the walruses but Steve got distracted by what at first looked like a log in the water. He quickly realised, that it was not a log but a whale swimming under the boat. Unfortunately it decided to stay below until it as quite a distance away, so we didn’t get a chance to see what kind it was. We could however see blowing from blowholes and we’re keeping our eyes open. No more whales appeared though so we decided to move towards our next destination “Daskeøya” Danish Island.

We only had a short trip planned for this anchorage but when we dropped the anchor it wouldn’t set. We pulled up the anchor and found an enormous amount of seaweed attached. 

Kelp stuck to the anchor

We decided to go to the other side of the Island and give it a go even though the guide said it would be a problem here too. But at Virgohamna we would be close to the outdoor “museum” which has artefacts from the S/S Virgos first North Pole expedition where a ballon to set up to fly north. This island can only be visited with special permission and if you are a group of max 12 people.

So we tried to drop our anchor here but was again disappointed by a huge amount of seaweed. We had to spent almost 2 hours raising and dropping anchor before we could finally say that it had set.

At this point Sarah was close to getting hangry and a little disoriented as she gets on an empty stomach, so we made a really quick dinner of pasta and tomato sauce.

After dinner we decided to use the secluded area to get some practice using the gun and the bear scare fireworks. Steve had purchased extra bullets so we could practice loading and shooting the rifle.

Sarah and Steve trying the gun

It was good to get a feel of handling the rifle, but Sarah spend the rest of the evening worrying about having possibly shot a passing whale. It was really good that we tested the flash bangs as it only says “take off cap” on it and not “the strike the top like a match and throw”. As we thought it would activate when the cap was off, Sarah panicked when Steve kept it in his hand. “Throw it away!” She continued to yell and eventually he did but no bang followed. He decided to try another one and this time was forced to wear his skiing gloves. He closely examined the open flash bang and realised it should be turned on like a match.

This was all the excitement we could manage for one day, so now it was time for bed.

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