After a few days by the Smeerenburg glacier we began our journey back south. Our landing at the abandoned whaling village on Amsterdamøya was the farthest north we’d make it at 79°41 N, 011°01 E.
Our next stop was a foggy, eerie Magdalenafjord. Another old whaling site, the spit of land we explored had the remains of a graveyard on a little hill and the clouds hung heavy over the mountains. The landscape was uncanny and gorgeous. A seal swam up and down the shoreline, being chased by (or chasing?) our lovable guard pup Nemo.
We then got to spend almost two days at Fjortende Julibukta, or Fourteenth of July Bay by the Fourteenth of July Glacier. An odd name perhaps, but given to honor the French with a beautiful natural scene to commemorate the French national holiday. Dance parties at night on the Antigua began, and we enjoyed an immense amount of ice in the water due to the active nature of the glacier. We were lucky enough to land in several different locations around the bay, giving us a number of different views of the massive glacier. This glacier had particularly dark streaks it in, an almost purple colored blue reminiscent of a bruise. Seriously beautiful.
A map of our route so far, you can see we had begun the trip south. After leaving the stunning Fourteenth of July Bay, we anchored at a dock in a small settlement called Ny Ålesund. It was the first time we’d seen any people other than our shipmates for a long time, and we were all very hyper to get off the boat and explore the little town! More about Ny Ålesund and it’s incredibly rich history as a scientific settlement and its role in early aviation in my next post.