Smeerenburg, old Dutch for ‘blubber town’ is the site of the Dutch whaling capital from the 17th century. Here many Bowhead Whales were slaughtered and their blubber boiled in the blubber ovens. The black ruins of these ovens are the only remains of this period. 

Breeding Arctic Tern

Now the beach is occupied by Walruses and breeding Arctic Terns. While walking around, either to see the whaling remains or the Walruses, it is essential to be careful not to come too close to these breeding birds. Not that you will not notice when you get near, as they will vigorously defend their nest and divebomb you to chase you away. But of course, it’s better to keep an eye out and not disturb them in the first place.


Arjen Drost

Arjen is a Polar ecologist, nature photographer and full time expedition guide on expedition cruise ships in both Polar regions. With his pictures and stories he likes to show the beauty of these very fragile and threatened places.

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