fredag 30. mai 2008

William is 50 today! Wow! Gratulerer!

But he doesn´t look it:)

torsdag 29. mai 2008

More from the muddy island

Mucked-up Thomas coming home from school.


mandag 26. mai 2008

The snowmobile-season is definitely at an end

From the kitchen window, we saw this guy trying to cross the pond of melted snow on his snowmobile. Yes, snowmobiles can cross water, if you go fast enough - but he didn´t, and it stopped. He stumbled off it and into the water, only his helmet sticking up. I know, we shouldn´t have laughed...

The poor guy literally ran off, soaking wet, and the snowmobile is still stuck in the pond.

Another sign of spring in Longyearbyen.

fredag 23. mai 2008

The geese are back!

Hundreds of them, actually. It´s Hvitkinngås (Barnacle goose), and they seem to be all over the place. They´ve returned from Scotland, where they spent the winter.

Also, the snow is quickly thawing in the sun, so stuff (mostly dirt, rubbish and dog turds, actually) resurfaces. No photos of that, but here´s one of a proper creek. The first one I´ve seen since last summer, come to think about it.

I suppose this is spring on Svalbard - a bit muddy, but welcome indeed.

mandag 19. mai 2008

Website news

I have finally got around to updating my website, so now my exhibition at Galleri Svalbard can be admired by everyone.

To the left is a detail of the installation "Himmelhøyt".

lørdag 17. mai 2008

The seventeenth of May

Celebrating the seventeenth with all this snow around is certainly a new experience - but the weather has been perfect all day, so we haven´t missed the green too much.

As almost everyone in town joined the parade, we had noone to cheer and sing to, but we cheered and sang anyway.

Emma was one of the three to carry the school´s standard.

Thomas´class - Thomas on the far right.

Peter cheering.

Afterwards there were speeches in Russian and Norwegian, and salutes (by cannon or maybe dynamite, it was hard to tell).

And after that - entertainment and café in the sports hall.

I didn´t catch much of the entertainment-part, as Peter´s class (that is, the parents) was responsible for the café, and that was a lot of work.

We´ve now settled for the lazy part of the day - the one with the leftovers...

onsdag 14. mai 2008

What to do with old Christmas-trees

- or could it be spring?

More glacier-holes

Having visited the small glacier cave in Larsbreen in March, we were curious about the two other, larger caves near Longyearbyen. These caves have been opened by glacier scientists from UNIS, but the tourist industry also use them and keep them open throughout the tourist season. That is, the colder part of the tourist season. Later in May, when it gets milder, the caves will fill up with running water - which created the caves in the first place.

So, on 26th of April we went skiing to the end of Bolterdalen, to check out the hole in the Scott Turnerglacier.

Two ladders brought us down into the cave.

Here are some details from inside the cave.

Here´s me seen from down the cave by William.

I must admit that I didn´t spend much time inside the cave - I realized quickly that my hint of claustrophobia becomes a lot more than a hint after approx. 15-20 meters into the cave.

The hole on the photo underneath is the Longyearbreen-cave, which I went and had a look at last week. The cave goes on for several hundred meters, but I (and my friend Hanne) went in only about 15 of them. Still, you get a good impression of what it´s like.

On the walls, there´s lots of fragile crystals, and small rocks frozen in a thick layer of ice. The cave has a nice "humansized" shape, but in some places you have to crawl.

Hanne leaving the cave. In this cave, you use a rope to climb out.


Emma, William and Thomas are the toughest members of the family - they´ve been far in (in the Longyear glacier) several times, and they claim that it´s quite amazing and not in the least scary. I´ll take their word for it!

tirsdag 13. mai 2008

Two nights in Reindalen

This weekend we went to the Red Cross-cabin in Reindalen, which turned out to be a rather large, and very nice cabin.

Reindalen is the biggest valley (widest/longest) on Spitsbergen, and it is huge.

Naturally, the valley being named "Reindalen", we saw plenty of reindeer.

We did a tiny bit of sunbathing. Here´s our visitor Hanne lounging on top of her snowmobile.

We went skiing,

And we built a snowwoman named Roberta.

Alas, only seconds after the picture above was taken, Thomas (by accident) pushed poor Roberta´s head over - the photo below shows the extreme makeover that followed.

She was better looking before.

This may have been our last snowmobile-trip to a cabin this season, which is a little sad. The weather is getting milder, and soon it´ll become more difficult to drive through the valleys filled with melting snow.

Anyway, on the 17th of May next weekend we won´t be allowed to slip away, as Peter´s class has responsibilites at school during the afternoon. But I´ll definitely get back to you on that!

lørdag 10. mai 2008

Fame a last!

Ta-da! The local press finally did it´s job! Svalbardposten this week proudly presents an article about yours truly:)

The article is about a talk/discussion the local photo-club arranged last Tuesday - it went quite well, I think. I talked a lot, at least, and the (small) audience asked interested questions. I hate how I look on the photo, but then I always do, so never mind.

Of course, the publicitity arrives a bit late, on Monday, I´ll take it all down (I´ll show photos from the exhibition on my homepage soon, I just need time to prepare it).

The artist Turid Ulldal is up next in the Galleri Svalbard, her exhibition opens on the 17th of May. I have the highest respect for her works, and am a tiny bit proud that I´ve exhibited in the same gallery as her.

And by-the-by: This is the third week in a row members of this household has been in the local rag, so I suppose William will be in next week´s edition. I wonder in which context...

torsdag 8. mai 2008

Villa Fredheim

How to translate Fredheim? Maybe "Peaceful home"?

Fredheim is the homestead next to Sassenfjorden where the trapper/hunter Hilmar Nøis ("King of Sassen") lived for many years - he overwintered 38 times on Svalbard, and most of them here. The big house, Villa Fredheim, was built in 1924, then later rebuilt and enlarged several times. His wives (one at a time) Ellen Dorthe Johansen Nøis and Helfrid Nøis stayed and worked there with him.

Underneath is Helfrid and Hilmar.

Hilmar married Ellen Dorthe in 1913, she gave birth to their son Johannes in 1922 (they´d earlier had a daughter, who was brought up by her parents on the mainland). After the birth, Ellen was ill, and didn´t recover completely afterwards. Life on Svalbard became too hard for her, and she moved back to Norway - not long after, the marriage was over.

In 1936, while visiting the mainland, Hilmar met Helfrid and invited her up to Svalbard, she came, and decided to stay. The following year Sysselmannen married them, and they stayed married until Hilmar died in 1975, 84 years old. During the second world war, they spent a few years evacuated in Scotland, and there they adopted a girl, Else Marie. After the war, Helfrid spent most of her time on the mainland, but their last overwintering together on Svalbard was in 1963. Helfrid passed away in 1996.

You can read about his wives here and here - particularly Helfrid is interesting read, she was a tough lady it seems.

Next to Villa Fredheim lies Gammelhytta (the Old Cabin), also called Danielbua (the Daniel shack). This was built as early as 1911, by Daniel Nøis, Hilmar´s uncle. The beach at Fredheim keeps crumbling up, and in 2001 the cabin had to be moved to safer grounds. It was renovated at the same time, with peat stuffed into the walls and on the roof. It now looks like it did when it was built.

Fredheim was quite exceptionally more comfortable than your regular hunting station in the Arctic, and the "female touch" probably had a lot to do with it. The house still looks fairly snug on the inside - sometimes Sysselmannen opens it up for visitors. But even when closed, Fredheim is a popular place to go on daytrips (on snowmobile) from Longyearbyen. It´s location is quite spectacular, with the Tempel-mountain on the other side of Sassenfjorden.

This was my first trip to Fredheim, and I became so curious about life there that I had to look up all the above information about Hilmar and his wives. There´s of course lots more to read about them (probably not translated), here´s some books:

Berset, Odd; Hilmar Nøis : storjegeren fra Svalbard, Bergen 1953
Jacobsen, Tor; Ishavskvinne, historien om Helfrid Nøis, Oslo 1979
Fjørtoft, Kjell: Kongen av Sassen Bay. Fangstfolkenes historie, Oslo 1995.

After Sassen, we looked at the seals, and rode on to Vindodden to picnic on the beach.

We drove up Flowerdalen on the way back -

then down on the other side, towards Kreklingpasset.

William coming down from the top of Flowerpasset.

After Kreklingpasset we crossed the glacier Tellbreen into Mälardalen, and then home.

All along we had beautiful weather and perfect snow conditions. Who needs spring when it´s like this?