Position N70,58.18 x W008,41.43 Calm
We went ashore yesterday together with the Thembi crew and decided to walk the five or so miles to Olonkinbyen on the south side of the island to introduce ourselves to the Station Commander (Per Erik Hannevold). Actually we met him en route in his Mercededs Land Rover and he very kindly said that he would greet us at the Base Station in an hour or so. We walked along the dust road over the hill and along Sorlaguna and the air strip and eventually arrived at the main station where 18 people work providing radio and weather services. With huge kindness the Station Commander offered us all a shower (it may have been in his own interest!) and laid out seven clean towels. After coffee and an interesting chat about the history of the island we were asked to stay for diner, traditional Norwegian fish cakes, yummy. We were then asked if we would like to send postcards as the supply ship was arriving today and they could take them to Norway. The Station Commander stood patiently by as we wrote the cards even though he would have to supervise unloading the ship overnight. By now it was about 1800 and we decided to take a look at the alternative anchorage Batvika near the base. It was small and rocky but looked fine for one or maybe two boats. They keep a 30 ft dory there ready to evacuate the island if Beerenberg or any of the other volcanos erupts. There is an earthquake about twice a week on the island. At the end of January a large one of 6.2 occurred.
On the way back to the anchorage, Tim and Dan, of boundless energy decided it would be fun to climb a hill in case we can glimpse Beerenberg as the cloud level was lifting. It whacked me out and I was very sad to see it was only 198m high! The view was grand and the soft moss made a good rest spot before the descent back to the boats.
When we arrived back at Kvalrossbukta the supply ship was there and we watched it being unloaded by a warm fire. The Jan Mayen nurse offered us all a beer! By the time we arrived back on the yachts I was certainly pretty tired and it was now past midnight. We eventually bedded down and fell into deep sleep when a hoot and general commotion woke us to see our Charlotte arriving on the large yacht Aurora with Siggi at the helm. They came alongside wondering whether to drop Charlotte off but Sumara was full to the brim so we suggested she stayed onboard until the morning when we will sort ourselves out. Aurora proceeded on up the coast to Stasjonbutka where the climb will start. We will join them today. Hopefully we can start the ascent on the Mighty Beerenberg later today or tomorrow morning.
That was yet another “wow!” day!

We are learning more about the birds. I mentioned to Charlotte that I saw a Fulmar with an orange patch on its stomach and she said she had seen one too.(This is going to be confusing, as we have two Charlottes, I think we will have to prefix our Charlotte with “our” but it by no means signifies ownership!). We wondered if they were a different colouring so when we met two scientists researching Fulmars on the Jan Mayen cliffs I mentioned it and they said they were patches of sick. Fulmars, if they are threatened, can projectile vomit as a defence mechanism. Tim and Dan have both experienced it and Tim reckons it smells so revolting that you have to incinerate your clothes!
I was attacked by an Arctic Skua as I walked along the track. I was quite a thump on the back of my head but no blood drawn. The Skuas are horrible birds!

Sent at 08.55GMT on 7th July 2010

2 Responses

  1. Good luck for the climb guys. Tell Sarah to stop whinging about the toilet seat, it’s probably warmer there than it in in NZ at the moment! 😉

  2. Good luck with the climb, the culmination of so much hard work and planning – fascinating to hear about the fulmars & skuas, sounds like something out of ‘The Birds’! Nx

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