We managed to see the Northern ligths when we were here. It was on out last night and believed we wouldn't see them, but you must go out at night to catch a them. We caught them while out walking though the Longyearbyn and decided to walk towards the eedge of town to get way from the lights, but staying safe enough so the polar bears didnt get us!
Truely amazing experience.
Svalbard.net is the community internet source in Svalbard where organisations, businesses, individuals, clubs and community info of various kinds, events etc will be posted. Check it out. Particularily useful if you are going here for a prolonged time period.
There is a web cam located at the old harbour, Longyearbyen, pointed towards the Isfjord and Hjortfjellet mountain. Check conditions before you go by looking at: www.aftenposten.no/webcam/?kart=detailj&id=87
There are also other web cams priovded through a link on svalbard.com. See http://www.svalbard.com/webcam/
There is no sun at Longyearbyen, Svalbard from 26 October to 16 February.
The coming of the sun is celebrated with a Light Feast in Longyearbyen.
However, there is a good chance to see the Northern Lights - Aurora Borealis; see web pages http://geo.phys.uit.no/index.html.
Flora and fauna on Svalbard have adapted to Arctic conditions and nature is still fragile so even minor encroachments can cause lasting damage. Approximatyely 65% of Svalbard is protected area, including 3 nature reserves, 6 national parks, 15 bird sanctuaries and 1 geotopical protected area. The nature of the regulations for these areas vary to some extent, and are somewhat stricter than the regulations in the Svalbard Environmental Act, which apply to the entire archipelago.
All animals on Svalbard are protected. Hunting, trapping, injuring, killing or in any way disturbing protected animals, including birds, is strictly prohibited. Also eggs, nests and dens are protected. Never touch a dead animal, as rabies has been detected in wild animals on Svalbard.All birds are protected during the nesting season, and you must not disturb them unnecessarily, for example, by climbing in nesting areas. Nor may you collect eggs or down without a special permit.
All visits to Svalbard are subject to strict regulations regarding the protection of nature and historical sites, as well as ensuring the safety of the visitors. Strict rules apply to tour operators, tour organisers and tourist vessels, for example, that tour organisers are fully responsible for their customers’ safety. The organisers are also responsible for ensuring that the travellers are informed about all relevant rules and regulations. The tour organiser must inform the Governor of Svalbard of all tour plans well ahead of the start of the season, as well as present proof of insurance to cover any search and rescue operations should the need arise.
Favorite thing: Norwegian kroner may be used all over Svalbard, also at the Russian settlement. All major credit cards can be used for payment at most accommodation facilities, activity providers and shops. There is a cash machine (ATM) in Longyearbyen.
There is a small hospital in Longyearbyen with a resident surgeon. For really very serious cases, patients are airlifted to Tromsø or Oslo University clinics. There are helicopters stationed at Svalbard that have air ambulance capacity.
You find the hospital in a fairly large yellowish building on the main pedestrian street in Longyearbyen.
In addition there is a private medical doctor service, too, in the same area where Spitsbergen Travel start their tours from, down at the Ingeniør Paulsen's building. His name is Jon Sandmo, phone 79022040/90186536 for appointment. www.polarlegesenteret.no
Interestingly, birthing is not allowed at Svalbard, so pregnant women are sent back to the mainland by plane a month or so prior to expected date of giving birth. I presume that in case of complications coinciding with bad weather, the mother and child might be in trouble given the insufficient facilities in Longyearbyen.
There is this brochure which can be obtained at the Svalbard tourist information with great information on the geography, climate, flora and fauna of Svalbard as well as a little historical background and tips on things to do.
It is available in at least 5 languages: Norwegian, English, French, German and Japanese (I believe). Really worthwhile!
When cruising through the quiet and remote fjords of Svalbard / Spitzbergen, the bar-waiters onboard of M/S Vistafjord had a special surprise for our guests :It always was announced as a special event, when during a cruise in Svalbard / Spitzbergen a big natural ice-cube was taken onboard. It was cut into small pieces and served with the drinks in the bar.
Fondest memory: what a great way to serve your whiskey on the rocks, with ice-cubes that had been frozen thousands or even millions of years ago.
We passed by Björnoja whenever we had a cruise to Spitzbergen. Bjornoya is uninhabited nowadays except for 8 people living there in a permanent weather-station, but it used to be an important trading-place during the time of whale-hunting with big ships in 1850 - 1910
Fondest memory: You better be careful and always have a rifle or gun handy, when taking a walk "on the wild side " in Bjornoja, of course you would never kill the bear, but such a rifle might help you a lot to persuade the bear to search for some other " dinner "
In Lonyear-bay we always had to disembark our passengers by tender-boats. This is something you always have to considder, when calculating your time ashore. At first the passengers could go ashore, afterwards the crew, who had also the last tender already 30 minutes before the last tender for passengers would leave.
Fondest memory: This is Svalbard - these mountains are situated opposite of Longyearbyen, Svalbard's capital.
.Our cruise-ship M/S Vistafjord had to anchor off the small port, where only rather small ships may dock.
When preparing a trip to Longyearbyen, the following links might be helpful:
http://www.longyearbyen.net (Norwegian only!)
The Arctic in general - and that includes Svalbard - are a paradise for ornithologists!
There are 145 different species - so don't forget your binoculars and get ready to watch!
No matter if they are solo or in colonies - black and white or colorful - the variety is just amazing!
Sorry, I do not know the names of the birds in the pictures - if anybody does, please contact me and I will happily add them as a caption!
Despite Svalbard being so close to the North Pole, the archipelago has a relatively mild climate compared to areas at the same latitude. It is not uncommon on Svalbard to have long periods during the winter with temperatures between 20 and 30 degrees with a wind-chill factor that compounds the cooling effect of the low temperatures. During the summer it is common with periods of fog.
Svalbard may be described as an "Arctic desert" with annual rain- and snowfall at a mere 200-300 mm. The weather on Svalbard can shift very quickly and variations are often considerable.
Your husband got eaten by a polar bear? Complaints about being cheated by a cruise organiser? Wrangling with the Sysselmannen over expedition permits? If you need assistance in dealing with the law, there are at least three lawyers in (or experienced in) Longyearbyen:
Advokat Skotte: phone 88003040, e-mail email@example.com www.skotte.no
Advokatkontoret i Longyearbyen, personnel present every 4 weeks from the firm Haavind Vislie, otherwise the main office is in Oslo, call 22433000. In Longyearbyen: Mr. Håkon Bleken firstname.lastname@example.org, and Mr. Geir Steinberg email@example.com
The lawyers' office in Longyearbyen is located in the business house (Næringsbygget) on the main pedestrian drag, or P.O.Box 403, NO-9171 Longyearbyen. In Oslo: Bygdøy Alle 2.
P.O. Box 500, Longyearbyen, 9170, Norway
Good for: Families
The SAS hotel has a very central location only 100 m from the main shopping area. It has 95 rooms...more
P.O. Box 500, Longyearbyen, I 9171, Norway
Good for: Business