Monday, September 7, 2009


Well, it was about time to call at a port..and we did, on the island of Spitsbergen, in the Svalbard Longyearbyen.

Maison Cou Rouge may be "The Middle-Of-Nowhere comma Georgia" ™..... but Longyearbyen is the Middle of Nowhere. Period. Truly the Wild Wild North.

Longyearbyen has 1500 year-round residents, half of whom still work the underground coal mines. Various research stations are located here, as well as support facilities for residents.

We tendered over...

Old mine...

Main Street looking one way

and the other.

Yeap- pretty barren.

Not everything is touristy in summer...the hardware store

is a hardware store.

The local church....

And of COURSE I found the local yarn nook!!!

This was the only polar bear we saw...they usually summer on the OTHER side of the island, where the snow is better.

But the signs are still funny all the same. Most residents walk around armed...because you just NEVER know..........

There's a memorial to the miners

Symphony looks lovely from the shuttle bus

Polar bear warning signs mark the edge of "town"

(actually I think it translates as "applies to all of Svalbard")

But it's cool, nonetheless...

I'm not the only one who likes to watch the tenders being loaded back on board

As we sailed away, I looked around the landscape, wondering what these homes must be like in the wintertime- if you can see them at all...

I wonder who lives here.....and how quiet it must be.....

And the Captain pointed out the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, where seeds from around the world are stored in order to protect biological diversity.

And before we knew it, we said goodbye to land

and were headed back to sea.

80° North

The top of the world.......almost.

Captain Giske had said he would TRY to get us OFFICIALLY up to 80° North--everything depended upon the ice situation...and HE DID IT!!!! Hoo--ray!!!!!!! And we made such good time that the deck officers were able to give us a little extra--- cruising into a few glacial fjords.

The sun came...the sun went...the rain came...the rain went....

Windy and wet, but with my first sightings of ice!!!

There are some very hardy sailors up here

Including our Norwegian Captain...

And then it was time to dress for the Crystal Society party and formal French dinner!

Hi Bill!!!!

On the lookout for Santa Claus' house!!!

Thumbs up on the day!

BoyCousinAndy and his girlfriend Brittany are ready for the evening!!

Cruise Director Paul McFarland was in fine form, as always

as was Master Giske.

Love me my Gurlz--Debo and Jula!!!!!!!

French Dinner means.....ESCARGOT!!!

I don't know if Crystal is ready for the casual formal look girls---

We're not as good at this as the teens are....

I don't know WHAT was going on here...but we DEFINITELY were having FUN!!!