In my last post, W1610 – Russian Folk, I described my second and final port of call in Svalbard to the Russian mining settlement of Barentsburg. On leaving there, we sailed roughly south-west for two days towards our next port of call in Iceland. Early on the second of those days, we sailed past one last island that is Norwegian territory – Jan Mayen Island – our Norwegian finale.
Jan Mayen Island is a remote volcanic island, some 1000km West of North Cape in mainland Norway. It is 55km long, and is in two distinct parts, separated by a narrow isthmus. The broader northern part, Nord-Jan, is dominated by a large volcano called Beerenberg and is also partially covered in glaciers. The narrow southern part, South-Jan, although still mountainous is comparatively flat, and does not have any glaciers.
The island does have an airstrip, but no harbours. It is populated solely by personnel from the Norwegian weather service and the Norwegian armed forces, and visits to the island are strictly limited and permission must be granted in advance.
Our viewing of the island was therefore just a sailpast, and I went up on deck before breakfast to catch my first views of the island. At this stage the weather was very cloudy, but I could still clearly see the glaciers tumbling over the steep cliffs at the northern end of Nord-Jan:
I then popped down to the café for a very quick breakfast, and on returning to the deck I was surprised to see the sun had come out, and we had great views of Beerenberg volcano:
We were so lucky to get this break in the weather, as the island is famed for being shrouded in low cloud and mist.
As we sailed south along the island, and past the isthmus to the southern part, we could clearly see all the different colours and patterns of the various rock formations that make up the island. We could also see a few buildings and some tall masts along the shoreline:
There were also a couple of volcanic stacks:
All too quickly we reached the end of the island, marked by a miniature “needles”, at which point the clouds started rolling in again.All through our time in Norwegian territories – mainland Norway, Svalbard and Jan Mayen Island – we have been blessed with amazing sunny weather, making this phase of our cruise truly memorable. In my next post I will begin documenting the next phas of our cruise, in Iceland.