The North Pole     The geographic North Pole, the Svalbard Archipelago, Franz Josef Land, and Novaya Zemlya (map).

"A time will come in later years when the Ocean will unloose the bands of things, when the immeasurable earth will lie open, when seafarers will discover new countries, and Thule will no longer be the extreme point among the lands." -- Seneca

Spitsbergen, Svalbard

Longyearbyen is the biggest settlement on the Svalbard Archipelogo, north of Norway, 79° N

Glacier melt

The islands are covered by glaciers which partly melt in summer

Warm in there?

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Change of scenery as we head north

Yamal, the ...

Owned by the Murmansk shipping company, this is a working icebreaker, the most powerful in the world. It is leased by Quark Expeditions of USA for a month each year.

...nuclear powered icebreaker

It can make steady progress through two meters of ice, can break 5-6 m and average a speed of about 12 knots

Ice floe

Underwater part of an ice floe

Ice floe

The salt leaches through leaving sweet water on the surface


View from the cabin

High Noon

On a foggy day

Chargin' through

Pack ice all around

Indian Passenger

A very well clad me


Yamal cracks the ice sheets with its weight and special design as it charges through


The 100 or so who make up the crew are all Russian, the cooks Austrian.

~84° N

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Breaking ice

with a huge crunching, grinding sound

11 August 2000

Ah, the Pole at last!

The North Pole

At the North Pole

Ice cave

All natural ice sculpture at the pole

90° N

Yamal stopped on an ice floe

Solitary flyer

Loneliness of the long distance flyer

The melting Arctic

The ice pack is neither very thick nor uniform in most parts of the Arctic. There was open water even at the North Pole. Global warming?

On-board chopper

Meant for reconnaissance and loading/unloading people

Going south

Yamal from Cape Norway where Nansen and Johansen survived miserably for 9 months in 1895. An icebreaker would have been a sight they might have killed for.

Polar bears

Fearlessly approaching the Yamal


Mother and cub


The cub was very curious and came right by the ship

Franz Josef Land

Group of 191 bleak and uninhabited islands owned by Russia

Tundra vegetation, Franz Josef Land

Tundra means 'no trees' - this is the only kind of island vegetation in the Arctic, a velvety green bog.

Rubini Rock, FJL

Rubini Rock is the site of a large bird nesting colony


Rubini rock bird covered surface


Auks - Guillemot or Thick-billed Murre

Cape Flora, Franz Josef Land

Cape Flora - a historically inportant location for Arctic adventurers

Cape Norway, Franz Josef Land

A Russian keeping watch for polar bears at Cape Norway, the site where Nansen and Johansen overwintered for 9 months in 1895

Novaya Zemlya

Has two islands, both belong to Russia, an ex- nuclear testing ground and dumping site

Ice sculptures

Cape Norway - Nansen and Johansen eventually found help at Cape Flora by an extraordinary bit of good fortune

Novaya Zemlya glacier

Glacier slipping off of Novaya Zemlya

Novaya Zemlya glacier

Leaving Novaya Zemlya for Murmansk, two days away

Midnight, Barents sea 

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Yamal's Chief Engineer

Chief Engineer of the ship's very complex operations

More Pictures? -- Polar bears, Ice Floes



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