We spent the whole day in Kongsfjorden. Our first landing was also the first proper hike of the trip (if 2 km can be called proper), as we walked up a black-legged kittywake bird cliff. This was the first time I’ve seen any flowers in any significant numbers, and it was interesting to see how tiny some plants are compared to ours. Like the mountain avens – it’s only about 1/3 the size of the mountain avens as I know it! It was growing in huge numbers though, the leaves were covering the ground like a carpet. I only saw a couple of flowers which had already opened though. But the flower you’re most likely to find anywhere you go in Svalbard is the purple saxifrage, because it’s not quite as demanding as the mountain avens.
Then we docked at Ny-Ålesund, which is the northernmost settlement in the world and has the northernmost post office, so I sent a card to my sister (who will get it after I’ve come home). It was a bit weird to see a human settlement again after the total wilderness and all the ruins we’ve seen so far!
The last landing of the day was to Ny-London, another piece of Svalbard history. It is a marble mining project gone bad (and really fast at that) and all the equipment was still there, rusting away. We did another long(ish) hike but the best parts were at the beginning (long tailed duck) and at the end (rock ptarmigan). The rock ptarmigans are practically tame here, they were not minding our group at all. Apparently, back when, they didn’t really even need to hunt the birds, they just picked them up.
All that was left for us was to wait for the midnight sun, since this was the first evening we’ve had with clear skies. It’s a bit funny though that the midnight sun in Svalbard is higher than the midday sun in Sweden in the winter! Which means, the light isn’t anything special. You just don’t get the pink glow at this time of the year, but the important thing was to see it. With the mirror calm waters, it was a special moment, one of many that I will take with me from this trip.