Engen, Svartisen 66:42.590N 013:42.495E

Frans & Sarah Toonen
Sun 19 Jul 2015 13:07
Sunday 19th July 2015. 16.9nm, no wind, plenty of rain. 3 engine hours. 

Yesterday we broke our journey from Landegode island to the glacier by overnighting at anchor in a tiny cove at Hopen, Mesøya island. We had covered 45.5nm sailing in E5 for a while before the wind abated and we had to motor for over 5 hours. Hopen was just big enough for us to swing and this was fine as nobody else turned up.

The Svartisen glacier is the second largest in mainland Europe and covers 370 square kms. It is unique in reaching the sea…well not quite nowadays but it did a couple of hundred years ago. The glacial arm reaching Engen is called Engabreen and there is a laboratory deep under the ice where many scientists carry out important research, not least, into global warming. 

The ice looked closer than it was so it took a couple of hours to get up near it. The rocks were a mixture of all colours and textures and the route was marked to get the tourists through the small ravines and over the streams in one piece. Metal poles and ropes were provided on the steep sections. The route was no more than slodges of red paint and there was no clue whether it actually led to the ice or not. When the way got challenging we agreed that Sarah would stay exactly where she was and Frans would carry on to try and reach the ice and then come back exactly the same way……..duh! 

Frans found his way to the edge of the ice and the colour was amazing. To see the cracks and formations at close quarters was really special. Having reached the ice on the north side Frans followed it down and around to the lowest point thinking he was headed back to where he’d left his companion.

Meanwhile Sarah was getting rather cold standing around in the wind at a glacier in the Arctic Circle - well you would wouldn’t you? No sign of Frans coming down the path. When happening to glance way down below to the end of the ice she saw a person on it’s own moving like Frans. Too far to see any colour or detail and anyway Frans was up ahead. No indeed he was not so eventually he looked up and saw he had to climb back to the rendezvous. 

Despite our little mishap we had a lovely day out and whilst we’d been away a massive cruise boat had anchored and was ferrying all the passengers ashore so they could walk to the cafe at the lake to admire the glacier from a mere 3 miles away. It’s a real tourist attraction.

Same view as from the galley looking out the port hole, Sarah didn’t mind cooking today.

All to ourselves

Solid ice, one doesn’t stand under an overhang.

When a cruise boat turns up it gets busy. Note the tiny boat with a British ensign.