Franz Josef Land

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

After a day at sea we arrived at Franz Josef Land. Look it up. We were far north on the map, very far north actually. Never even thought about getting here. But then again… this was m/v The World with Captain Dag Saevik at the helm and he just loves a good challenge!!!!

Successful landings depend on a combination of ice, sea and weather conditions.

In the morning we made a zodiac landing at Flora Point, Cape Flora on Northbrook Island for our first steps on Franz Josef Land.  It was cold with an unforgiving wind.

An ice-free Northbrook Island.
Enjoying a short and cold stroll at Cape Flora. We are not the first to visit here.

We sailed around for most of the day unsuccessfully looking for places to park the boat until we finally found Baxter Island with very promising looking ‘fast’ ice (as in fastened to the land). The expedition scouting party went ‘ashore’ to check out the ice conditions and it was decided that the landing could go ahead. The weather, light, wind, all was aligned perfectly. Captain Dag drove the ship right up to the ice edge and around 10pm we went for an evening stroll.

Absolutely surreal experience. We haven’t experienced anything that even remotely comes close to this.

And to top the day off, we went for a midnight dip in the freezing waters.  Crazy? Yep! Thing to do? Of course!

The World parked right at the fast ice’s edge.
Beautiful landscape over the frozen sea.
Hard to believe it is 10pm in the evening.
Classic photo of the residents trying to pull the ship through the ice.
Stephen with Maria, one of our Russian guides.
The Polar plunge. Yes, it was very cold.
And very glad to be out of the water.