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The North and the Sun

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

I am thinking about August. I decided---perhaps a little madly---that I longed for the North (this was before our long winter started). It's really costly to go to the North Pole, so I settled on Svalbard, Norway.

From the web site:
"What kinds of wildlife are found in Svalbard?

Wildlife in Svalbard are arctic fox, different kinds of seals, beluga, minke whale, mouse, polar bears, walrus, reindeer, ptarmigan, arctic owl, and a great number of different birds in summertime."

I look forward to the mouse!

There are more than twice as many polar bears as there are people but I suspect that I won't see any. I won't be able to take long hikes, as I was planning. I read that if you want to go hunting law requires that you carry a rifle!

"if travelling outside settlements you are required to carry a rifle at all times to protect yourself. They can be rented for about 150 kr and up per day, but starting 2009, a valid gun license is now required; those without a gun license can apply for temporary permission to rent a rifle: all that is required is to fill out an application form ([12] ) and a certificate of good conduct (i.e. proof of no criminal record) which can be e-mailed to the Svalbard Police Department. Processing may take up to 4 weeks, but has been known to work even on the same day with some luck. However, for most people, it's better to stick to guided tours. Do not underestimate the speed of polar bears (you cannot outrun one). Polar bears can be extremely unpredictable and are far more dangerous than European brown bears. Note that you are in no way allowed to kill polar bears without it being an immediate threat to your life."

Although I have been hoping that my tour is ecologically friendly, I am going to have to do more planning. I have never held a gun and I don't know how to use one. And I will not on many many principles. So now I will find guided tours that will be sanctioned and, I hope, ecologically friendly.

The sun will shine all night long and the temperatures will be about 40 degrees F.

And yes, I am really going. This might be my final "big trip" because I travel as a "reward" for working. When I retire, I will have a more limited and modest scope.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    One day I plan to travel by train from Winnipeg to Churchill. Lots of Polar bears there too. Take care!
    1495 days ago
  • LE7_1234
    Sounds great! I'm not sure I'd be up for dealing with the rifle, either....

    Smiled when I read you're planning on August. At work yesterday, we decided that's the default deadline for just about everything...
    1497 days ago
    What a wonderful trip! No wonder you're looking forward to it!

    1497 days ago
    Yes, they are massive and dangerous, but that picture is adorable! At least I know they're not a threat to me when they are in pictures. I would love to go to Scandinavia, but perhaps not in the winter. I'm from Chicago originally, and have had quite enough of cold to last me a good long time.
    1497 days ago
    in my last life i was a polar bear. please do not shoot my relatives.
    1497 days ago
  • TREV1964
    This sounds incredible, I know that polar bears are fairly vicious but it wasn't until I see one in a zoo that I realised how colossal they were. They really are massive animals and you wouldn't ever want to be on the wrong side of one of them.

    Sounds like you have enjoyed the Norwegian environment though even though prices out there can be very expensive.


    1497 days ago
    Sounds wonderful!
    1497 days ago
    Sounds like a great trip. Have fun carrying your rifle.
    1497 days ago
    Marvelous trip. Are we really going or are we armchair traveling? I do hope it's the former. A friend traveled to the Norwegian Arctic a couple of years ago and had wonderful stories and pictures. Several years ago I traveled via armchair through the Canadian Territories with the aid of some substantial research that reaped a tiny NWT flag on a stick which is a prized possession, sent by the tourism department with a load of booklets and maps.
    1497 days ago
  • JMOUSE99
    I'd love to go to Churchill, Manitoba where the male polar bears congregate waiting for sea to freeze so they can head out onto the ice for the winter. People in Churchill never lock their doors so someone can duck into their house if a polar bear is headed down the street! They have lots of tours and even have a polar bear-proof hotel - bars on everything.
    1497 days ago
  • POPSY190
    I have only ever seen a polar bear in a zoo. It was well over 60 years ago in Edinburgh. And for those days they had a very polar bear friendly enclosure. I've never forgotten some adults and
    Cubs playing in their water hole - beautiful, powerful creatures. I believe they are one of, if not the, most dangerous animals to humans! Terrible to think they are now a threatened species.
    Enjoy planning your trip.
    1497 days ago
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