Pakistan Travel & Tour Honeymoon Packages Vacation Cheap Airline Tickets Online, Hotels, Tourist Guide & Agency

Home Travel Articles Articles

Longyearbyen: 78 degrees North - Page 3

E-mail Print
Article Index
Longyearbyen: 78 degrees North
Page 2
Page 3
All Pages

We had given the dog sled a pass as the children were not too keen on going in a wheeled cart pulled by dogs - a horse driven chariot may have elicited a favorable response – but we had opted for the more adventurous trip by ship the next morning to the icebergs and glaciers further north to go look for seals and polar bears.alt

A van came to our hotel in the morning to take us to the port where SS Polar Girl was waiting for us. The 50 passenger ship had only a couple from Oslo besides us that day so it seemed like a private excursion. Our guide showed us the map where we were going and warned us that the water turns icy at times and may freeze behind us and we could get stuck on the boat. Once we set off, all around us were glaciers and snow covered mountains. A few sea gulls flirted around and swooped to the water’s surface to catch fish. The wind was cold and icy. We could not stay outdoors for too long and went into the ship’s cabin.

We were invited to see the captain’s room. A large monitor showed us where we were. A small blackboard on the wall had a chalk inscription showing the number “1.” We asked what that was for. The guide informed us that there had been one polar bear sighting so far. And the season had just started a week back. Soon we were sailing in water with ice cubes around us. We avoided the larger pieces of floating ice and ploughed on towards the glaciers ahead.

A large iceberg appeared in front of us. We sailed close to it and noticed puffins were sitting on it. The tip of the iceberg that was visible above the water’s surface did not reveal how big it really was. The captain let the side of the ship graze the iceberg, carefully avoiding a direct hit. We did not want to run aground in this wilderness. The puffins flew away.

altI checked to see if my Blackberry was connected to any network and was surprised that Telenor signals were still being received. I quickly Tweeted that we were on Polar Girl and heading towards the glaciers – just in case we had a Titanic experience someone following my tweets would alert rescuers.

We peered through binoculars to try to spot polar bears in the distant glaciers but could not spot any. Our guide directed us to look at a piece of floating ice in the distance. It had a dark blob on it. On closer inspection it turned out to be a walrus. We sailed on towards the distant icy shore but a sheet of ice restricted our advance. Our boat was not an ice-breaker and although the captain made a few attempts to go forward, the ice cracked and broke but did not give way for us to sail ahead. 

The frozen sea ahead of us meant that we would have to turn back. This would be one of those sailings when there was no polar bear sighting. The captain’s slate would remain with just altone mark.


Seafood chowder with bread rolls and butter were offered to us for lunch and how warm it all felt! No lavish spread. We could have as many helpings as we liked of the delicious broth. And we indulged. The icy wind that whistled around us seemed to have turned warm. We dipped the bread and licked our fingers. Sometimes a simple meal can make you feel so satisfied. Alhamdolillah!

The next morning we woke up to hear raindrops falling on our window panes. Living in Dubai, we are not used to rain. It seemed so cool and refreshing. But to our disappointment, very soon the rain disappeared and instead we saw the sun shining through. After breakfast we went out and were greeted by snow. A slushy kind of snow mixed with rain and sleet. And then just pure fluffy snow flakes began to fall. It was the middle of July. And it was snowing. We walked around outside for a while but it was getting cold so we went back to the hotel. The sign again stared at us – we took our shoes off!

Later that day we were driven to the airport to catch our flight out from Longyearbyen.  

It was 3:00pm when we landed. Oslo was sweltering in 30 degrees C. Global warming …

{jathumbnail off}


Comments (0)

Write comment



Travel articles

Which hotel picture makes you want to book it?

Did you book your last vacation through a hotel or online travel site? You are not unique. More people book holidays online than thru a travel agent. But what makes you ...
Mera Roshnion ka Shehar Karachi
By Dr. M Mansoor Mohiuddin Do huftey ka safarnama.
No matter what you hear, Karachi usi tarah zindah hey jis ...
Seychelles: Life in Slow Motion
By Amna Khalique
Date: May 25 2010
Visiting Seychelles is like stepping back in time into ...
Travel Tips: All ground staff please leave the
By Irfan Ahmad
May 16 2010
“My bags are packed. I am ready to go. … I am leaving on a ...
Budget Travel: Paris on a Shoestring
By Irfan Ahmad
March 14 2010

It was early afternoon ...