Treskelbukta & Gnålodden, Svalbard

Jun 03, 2019 - National Geographic Explorer

We awoke to bright sun, no wind, calm seas, and almost warm air on the southwestern side of Spitsbergen Island. We had popped in here when we first arrived in the Svalbard archipelago, but we left soon after due high winds and seas. We were right to leave so we could have today.

We had our Plan A, a landing in Hornsund, but no, there was a polar bear walking along the shore on our way into the fjord. So, we stopped to observe and take pictures. A little later, we made another stop in a beautiful bay with an interesting name, Treskelbukta, where we took walks and kayaked. The hikers reported lots of lichens.

After lunch, we arrived at our original morning destination: a small trapper cabin sitting at the foot of a very impressive cliff at Gnålodden. There was a lot of ice in the water, both pack (sea ice) and the hard glacial ice—beautiful. The massive cliff is the nesting site for thousands of birds, the noisy kittiwakes being the most obvious. Many of us spotted an Arctic fox scurrying about the base of the cliff, looking for food. The fox‘s pelt—white on the body, dark on the head—was halfway between winter and summer.

After our hikes, it was back to National Geographic Explorer to get ready for tomorrow, going home, and the Captain’s Farewell Party. I was taken by surprise that it is all over and I can only say to myself, “Until next time!”

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About the Author

Dennis Cornejo


Dennis began scuba diving during the mid-1970s as part of a research project. At the time he was a research associate at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson, Arizona, studying the population of winter hibernating sea turtles.  What began as a scientific study soon became a conservation project that expanded to three species of sea turtles along the entire Pacific coast of Mexico.  This project received major funding from the World Wildlife Fund and was eventually taken over directly by that agency with Kim Clifton and Dennis Cornejo as co-principal investigators.

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