Monday July 26th  Sunny 25°C

Arctic churchWe stopped by the Artic Church just outside Tromsø. From here a short drive took us to the cable car that goes to the top of the mountain across from Tromsø. The view of the city and the bridge was magnificent. We crossed the bridge to the center  of town and drove to Polaria, a museum about the Arctic where a film of Svalbard is shown on 5 screens. There's also an aquarium with species that live in the Arctic seas. After a late lunch we strolled through the center and then went to the 'largest shopping center of the north' near the airport for some supplies before finding a perfect camping spot 10 Km away next to the fjord on the island of Kvaløya.

Tuesday July 27th ** Sunny and 23° ** later overcast and rain 14°

Tromsø centerThere was not a lot left to do today so we slept late and around 10 we went to the University museum. There was another film on Aurora and an exhibition on this phenomena. One of the screens showed solar activity and all of a sudden I knew why propagation was so bad... We returned to center and went to Peppe's Pizza where I knew there was wireless internet access. Mail and FTP worked very well but web access failed several times. At least I got to download and send mail and upload to my webpage. Since we had to pack our suitcase for our trip to Svalbard we decided not to go find a camping spot but went to a campsite with all hookups.

Wednesday July 28th Sunny 20°C in Tromsø - 12° Rain in Svalbard

SAS hotel LongyearbyenWe took the flight with Braathens to Longyearbyen and arrived at the hotel at 14:30. We settled in, looked around a bit and I then contacted Mathias, JW5NM, about the radio shack. He arrived at 17:30 and after seeing the shack and getting the key he took me on a tour of Longyearbyen. We were booked for a BBQ and were picked up by 19:00 for a short drive. We were greeted with a drink and after a slideshow about arctic life, the BBQ was lit and reindeer and whale meat was served. Later we had dessert while our host told Svalbard stories about polar bear. By 22:00 we returned to the hotel.

Colorfull houses in Longyearbyen
BBQ with reindeer and whale meat

Thursday July 29th Partly sunny 10°C

Pushing away the ice with the Zodiac

We had a trip booked with a Zodiac. Since there was a lot of ice in the harbor we were not sure if we could manage to get out at all. Fortunately after some pushing we were soon on our way. We made our way through the ice to the bird cliffs and then continued to Grumant, an abandoned Russian mining village, where we had lunch. After a look around the empty buildings we got back to the Zodiac and returned to Longyearbyen (2 hours later than expected).

Lunch at Grumman

Friday July 30th Overcast 10°C

DogsledBy 15:00 we went for a ride on the dogsled. 14 dogs pulled a sled on wheels to the place we had the BBQ the first night where we had a drink and the dogs were changed for the return trip. Back at the hotel we were told our evening boat trip was cancelled because of bad weather even though in Longyearbyen the sun was still shining. At the destination however it was raining. This was a perfect time to head for the shack... propagation was nice and I finally got contacts into Belgium.

Saturday July 31st Overcast later partly sunny 8°C

BarentsburgToday we had a daytime boat trip to Barentsburg, a working Russian mining town. It was like stepping into the 1950's. We got a 40 minute tour by a Russian guide who was also the postmaster and hotel receptionist. We then had another 45 minutes to stroll the town. From here the boat took us to Esmark glacier where we had a drink with a piece of 4000 year old ice in it and then to Longyearbyen again. After dinner there was some time for the shack again... A steady pace got me to 75 QSOs in just over 1 hour.

Esmark glacier
cutting the 4000 year old ice

Sunday August 1st Cloudy and misty 7°C later sunny and 24°C

Tromso - Senja 75 Km

Antennas and shack at JW5ENothing left to do on Svalbard except breakfast, pack our things and wait until 13:30 for the airport shuttle. So again there was time for playing radio. After 45 minutes I quit operating and filled in the guest book, left my QSLcard and made sure everything was switched off. We quickly went to the souvenir shop and then back to the hotel for a drink. A bit later we were picked up in the rain to go to LYR, Longyearbyen airport. Check-in was a breeze and we left Svalbard spot-on time to arrive in Tromsø earlier than expected. The sun was shining and temperature was 24°. We drove 60 Km to the ferry to Senja and crossed the same evening.

Svalbard airport

Monday August 2nd Sunny 25°C

Senja - Gryllejord 146 Km

Anderdalen National ParkWe followed road 861 south until Storfjord where we parked and started a small walking tour into Anderdalen National park. We then drove northwards back to road 86 where, about 12 Km before Gryllefjord, we stopped at the 'biggest troll in the world'. We checked the ferry terminal before finding a camping place at a high spot between Gryllefjord and Torsken. In this kind of weather there was not a lot more to do than barbeque and make some QSO's from EU-046.

The biggest troll in the world
Anderdalen National Park

Tuesday August 3rd Foggy - 17°C

Gryllefjord _ Andenes 14 Km

Whale museum: skeletonAt 9, an hour beforehand, we were at the ferry terminal and at 10 the ferry left the dock. 2 hours later we drove on land in Andenes at the top of the island of Andoya. We went straight for the whale safari office to check on our reservation and heard that because of fog nothing was sure. There was time left for the Aurora museum and next door, in the tourist info, I was able to just 'plug-in' the laptop to go on the internet. At 15:00 we were back at the whale center and had a tour of the museum. Then we heard that we had to wait until 18:00 to know if we would go out for the whale watching trip. When we got back, they decided to cancel for the day and put us on the 10:30 for Wednesday.

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