Where last year we had a lot of ice around Spitsbergen, until late in the season, this year is the complete opposite. The ice chart of Spitsbergen doesn’t show any ice at all anymore, and every expedition leader wonders if it’s worth it to go all the way up, to see the ice, or that we should spend more time around the islands looking for other things there.
Fortunately, we went up north this time, all the way to 82º26’N and spent two days there. But 82º26’N is only 454 nautical miles (or 860 kilometres) from the geographical North Pole. At that location, you would expect very dense pack ice, not the half melted and open stuff that we had to sail through most of the time. Definitely, beautiful experience to be in the ice for such a time. But also saddening, that one has to go this far north to get it.