Logbook – Week 10

Monday 19th June through Sunday 25th June 2023

From Ny Alensud to the North Fjords

At 2 a.m., we anchor in 30 m depth at Engelskbukta. The fog is gradually fading, and the sea has put on its Ice Green costume. I venture to whisper to Redge:

-It looks like a watercolor by Marie Laurencin…

Usually, it wakes him up.

– Yes Man, we will go where you want when you want.

I like it when he says that to me.

At the beginning of the afternoon, we are docked at NyAlensud, the northernmost scientific city in the world. Place of choice, at the right time in the right place: nothing to complain about. The weather lends itself to a short walk on land.  Despite our many hours of training in close combat with polar bears at Chatelaillon shooting range, we find that the one here are not exactly as white and we prefer to leave to Noé, our young scientist, the delicate task of having to ensure our safety if necessary: it is he who will carry the gun. It feels good to stretch our legs and get off the beaten tracks. Five hours later we are back, well calmed down, with some breathtaking views of the bay in our heads.

We cast off around 11 a.m. the next day to head towards the bottom of the fjord. As quietly as possible, Northabout weaves its way between the icebergs that escape from the glaciers with each calving. Each one is an unique work that challenges us. Even Pat, for whom the color palette is usually limited to yellow and black, is not totally insensitive to the charm of these chromatic variations.

Sometimes a powerful roar tears the silence and whole sections of these thousand sheets of ice are returned to the sea by agitating the body of water.  We go down the annex to take a closer look, not without remembering Johnny’s last words “Tact in daring is knowing how far you can go too far”.

At the end of the day we anchor in the north of the bay to pay a discreet visit to a colony of seals on vacation, and go down to retrieve a reindeer antler located by binoculars.

Wednesday started off with a bang. As soon as we had left we caught a walrus undressed on a piece of pack ice.  Our naturist team* is having a great time and commenting on the scene with talent. Photographers too. The weather is magnificent, and we go from exceptional moments to exceptional moments. The nature that surrounds us is sublime.

Our evening camp is incredible: a good 7 star, one for each of us, with first choice hydraulic bedding and a 360 view of the mountains.  Today is the “national music day” in France, and we could not miss the opportunity to pay tribute to it.  Fabien, our top chef, and Dude prepare us a meal worthy of the event: porcini mushrooms and duck confit.  Then we take out the cards, plug in the sound system, and play music and games of belote until early morning.  These endless days, when the sun is out, keep us at a high level of energy. Tireless…

Thursday is D day. We reach our northernmost point at the Lilliehöökbreen glacier which is certainly the most impressive of all those that we have approached. The collective emotion is there. What a journey we’ve made together since this crazy idea has come trotting through Redge’s head!!!!  We revisit our first sailing trip 4 years ago, the upstream phases of the project, the unforeseen, the concessions, and all the rest and all this gives consistency to the moment. Thanks boss. Thank you for carrying us so high. In the proper sense of the term. Champagne.  A small cut for Neptune, and…. “…..Yeahhhh…well done the peeps…”. Head south.

We are start studying a potential weather window for the return to Tromso and it does not look too bad for next week. Good news, to be confirmed in the next few hours, but we wouldn’t be unhappy to make the return to the Barents Sea without having a big low pressure in our sights.  Since the beginning of the trip, the “incantation service” on board has spared no effort, and we must recognize a certain success in its business. It’s reassuring.

Another great success for the day of June 23rd: we benefit from summer conditions to discover NyLondon (Svalbard – Episode 13 – Ny-London | Le Blog d’un grand blond ( and go back in time. What a magical day. In good place in our best of…La régalade.

At the end of the evening, we set off to NyAlesud with the crazy idea of finding a pub there and putting an end to 10 days of severe rationing.  The regulations are very strict in Svalbard on the sale of alcohol, and we were only able to board Perrier.  It’s crazy though.  No more beers onboard, even under Pat’s pillow. “Misery, it is always on the poor people that you persist obstinately”. The wind has picked up and the quay maneuver is tricky. Fredo pulls out all the stops for us and elegantly stalls the boat at the end of the pontoon. It was hot. The evening can begin : everyone to the museum with a glass of water (ice cubes are offered), the bar is closed!

Noé, vert banquisard…

Noé, banker green…

Saturday early in the morning, Northabout is back to sea. Heading for Barentszburg.  At 7am the boat is moored, and a crazy last day can begin.  We are in Russian territory, the approach is “brutal”.  But, honestly, it was a great stopover. A big moment.

The adventure goes on.

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