80˚ North

By |Published On: July 19, 2023|Categories: Europe, Svalbard|343 words|2 Comments|


We awoke to a dark grey day. A thick, wet fog lay over us. The shore, only 100m away, loomed darkly and indistinct out of the grey before dissolving away again. The sail bags and rigging dripped cold, cold water and the chill seemed to envelope us.

The fog settling in the night before.


Our plan for today had been to make the short hop to Ytre Norskøya, just to the north of us, to do a bit of hiking there. However, in a fog this thick the chances of seeing a polar bear before you were rubbing noses with it seemed pretty low, and the consequences of doing so seemed pretty unpleasant, so we decided that going ashore wasn’t a sensible option.

The alternatives were to motor around the islands and see fog (nah, not tempting), to go North to see if we could find the sea ice, or, to go to 80˚N where there is either sea ice or nothing to see but the sea, with the chances of the latter being higher than the former. Given the heavy fog, going north seemed a good option and with navigational information from another boat it did not seem too complicated: a straight run from Ytre Norskøya and look out for Siberian logs.

Kelp salad on the anchor.


TO 80˚N

So, after dealing with some kelp salad that got well and truly wrapped around the anchor, off we went north to find whichever came first, sea ice or 80˚N.

Frederieke on the look-out for icebergs and Siberian logs.


With the radar on to give us advance warning of any impending collisions with ice, we cruised the 12 nm or so to just beyond 80˚N.

Vessel position on the GPS. Proof we made it to 80 ˚ North.


Once there we celebrated this little bit of silliness with lunch and a bit of a look around. We could see a small bit of ocean and a whole lot of fog.

80˚N sailors.


Lunch duly consumed we headed back to Sallyhamna for the night. Where the spectacular surroundings gradually revealed themselves again as the fog lifted later that evening.

Scenery around Sallyhamna after the fog had lifted, around 22.00 in the evening.


  1. Laurie Westcott August 24, 2023 at 7:03 am - Reply

    Looks just as it was for us and every little bit of scenery was wonderfully different to our Australian senses and rewarding.

    • David Westcott August 25, 2023 at 6:15 pm - Reply

      It is a great place isn’t it.

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Trying for Smeerenburg
Cruising through North West Svalbard National Park