Foundation I - Day Eight
Overnight we experienced quite a heavy swell on the seas and it wasn't until we journeyed around and up into Lilliehöökfjorden at about 04:00 hrs that the seas subsided.
Daybreak on board Lindon was still and calm and not too cold. We dropped anchor in a small inlet called Signehamna, six miles short of Lilliehöökbreen, one of Svalbard’s largest glaciers at 22 km in length. And we could hear the cracks and thunderous noise of plenty of carving going on. There was quite a lot of floating ice in the water.
“It won't cost us any paint.” Said Captain Rasmus.
After breakfast, we got ready to go ashore and visit the remains of a World War Two Nazi weather station. Sixten recce'd in advance to check on possible presence of polar bears and after receiving his all clear we ribbed it to the shore . We were surrounded by mountains and jaw-dropping, spectacular scenery. With lines of mist wafting in and out of the beautiful mountains.
On route we saw a dead bird in perfect condition. A young Kittiwake, which Ian felt probably died from Avian flu. It looked very sad.
After some effort, up hilly and rocky terrain with plenty of Reindeer present, we came to the site of the weather station. All sorts of bits and pieces, electrical cables, fuel canisters, hessian sacks, broken crockery, radio valves and rusty metal castings were scattered far and wide.
Apparently, there were six people stationed here and it was put in on the 29th of October 1941 by the German Kreigsmarine and re-supplied by U boats throughout the war. Their task was to deliver vital weather statistics for the German U boat fleet so that they could efficiently attack the convoys going into Murmansk; a vital resupply from the US to the Eastern Front. Rumour has it that this was so remote the personnel were only picked up by Norwegian fishing boat 4 months after the end of the war. I think we all concluded that if you had to take part in a war then this was not a bad place to be.
We returned to lunch on Linden and afterwards tried to motor closer towards Lilliehöökbreen but the brash ice was too thick and we turned and slowly and carefully headed through the sea ice and rain towards Ny-Ålesund and out west into the channel between Oscar II Land, Spitsbergen and Prins Karls Forlund.
Much hilarity was had in the evening with a team quiz night arranged by Entertainments Officer Lucy Reynolds and superbly compared by Richard Painter and his Type 2a/6c Station Masters train whistle (looked like an ACME Thunderer to me).
Start: Sailing Overnight
Finish: Signehamna 79.15 North 11.29 E