During a visit to ‘the Ship in the Ice’ (Norwegian: “Båten i isen”) you can experience the life of the Arctic explorer Fridtjof Nansen on board Fram. Fortunately, in our days the comfort is so much better.
The ship is named Noorderlicht (English: Northern Lights), but it is best known as ‘the Ship in the Ice’ which is the only frozen in hotel in the world. For several weeks, the Noorderlicht has waited for the ice to become strong enough so that guests from all over the world can visit the rugged landscape at the archipelago of Svalbard.
The 37 miles (60 km) long journey from Longyearbyen can be dangerous – the only transportation method is by snowmobile or dog sled. Guests must leave the mainland behind and embark the frozen sea in the Tempel Fjord surrounded by the mighty Tempel Mountain and the Von Post Glacier.
The hosts on board are the Dutch couple Maaike Groeneveld (42) and Ted van Broeckhuysen (55). They can offer a three-course dinner, open bar and comfortable cabins. Every year since 2004, they have wintered inside the century-old ship. The main season is from mid-February to late May. During the summer season, Maaike is skipper on board the Amsterdam canal boats.
Inside the saloon, Maaike and Ted keeps count on every polar bear that passes their ship. The record is 32 in one season. Like all other areas outside the settlement on Svalbard, you are not allowed to leave the ship without an armed guard: ‘King of the Arctic’, Ursus Maritimus, might be just around the corner.
In Arctic areas nature is always in charge and it is extremely important to listen to the weather forecasts. Multiple layers of wool and waterproof clothing might save your life in an extreme situation.
Svalbard is synonymous with enormous contrasts. The weather can change from sunny to Arctic storm in a split second. It is important to listen to experienced guides.
According to a survey done by the Norwegian newspaper VG, Svalbard is the third most attractive destination for several Norwegians, after Lofoten and the Western Fjords.
This video shows what you might experience: In 1987 – 88, Norwegian explorer Ragnar Thorseth and his family wintered on board Havella in Kongsfjorden (Kings Bay) in Svalbard.
Text by: Anette Broteng Christiansen, ThorNews
Source and photos: VG
MAP: Fairbank Music – Edited by ThorNews