Monday 25th June

Tue 26 Jun 2018 16:49

Monday 25th June

Ny Alesund

78:56 N 11:56 E

After a second attempt at anchoring Englesbukta (English Bay) turned out to be very hospitable with hardly any anchor activity during the night. Some of us slept extremely well and woke to find many chores had been completed. After a civilised breakfast (two courses) we set off north to continue our journey.

The compasses on board were showing considerable variation so we enjoyed a few exciting course changes until we worked that out. Swinging the compass is now added to the list of activities for the next few days. We hugged the coast around the tip of Oscar II land mostly on engine with a couple of short sails. As we approached Ny Ålesund the cruise ship Astoria appeared behind us and another was leaving port so it was a tad busy. The Astoria made a very slow job of coming along side complete with dropped stern line, much agitation from the crew on the aft deck - it looked like a fight was going on at one stage - but eventually we were able to nose inside the pontoon and find a berth.

After a leisurely cup of tea to allow the cruise boat passengers time to do their visiting we then set off on foot to explore the town and surroundings. The last of the passengers were still in town and were fascinated that we had a gun. Whoever was carrying the gun was a definite photo opportunity so Peter and Virginia will feature on several elderly French holiday makers’ snaps. Virginia thought it was her they were interested in, not the gun!

We too contributed to the local economy by buying postcards and stamps from the most northerly post office (Kirsty heavily so!) before setting off with a loaded gun outside the town perimeter to explore the shoreline and abandoned mines. We saw the mast for the airships launched here in the twenties, an amazing WC on a bridge along the road to the campsite (ultimate long drop) and many areas of mining leftovers.

Back in the town we found the excellent museum with interesting information about early mining in the twenties and then fifties and sixties and the airship activity in the twenties. There was an interesting display of the researchers working here too. Today Ny Ålesund has no mining after a serious accident in 1962 and is entirely a research base with teams from about ten countries including the U.K. (Brian Harland) India, Korea and China as well as several European countries.

By the time we had written our postcards Virginia had knocked up some delicious enchiladas from yesterday’s leftovers. After a trip to the showers and the post box the day was done and we all turned in without having to worry about anchors. Also, the cruise ship had left so we have no noise from them either. A very good day with plenty of variety, and the walk was much appreciated after a couple of days of sailing.

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