By |Published On: August 1, 2023|Categories: Europe, Svalbard|500 words|2 Comments|


Big storms all through the North Sea and along the Norwegian coast right up to the Barents Sea meant that a departure southwards was going to have to wait for a few days, if not for a week or more. Longyearbyen, lovely though it is, wasn’t where we wanted to do this. So, quick as we could, we got ourselves in order and headed back out into Isfjorden and then east towards Templefjorden.

Ready for a few more days in Svalbard.

We sailed west from Adventfjorden under grey skies and the lowering peaks of the Louis Range. With a following wind (!) we made good time to Deltaneset and, turning across and into Templefjorden, hurried towards our dinner date with SY Flying Fish in Bjonahamna. They were cooking for us! Yum, yum. With 15nm to go we were doing 5 kt and so had 3 hrs to go, we radioed and let them know. At 9 nm, we were doing 3 kt and so had 3 hrs to go. We radioed and let them know. At 6 nm, we were doing 2 kt and so had 3 hrs to go. Good grief.

Mt Temple.


But then, under the towering cliffs of Mt Temple we sailed into a pod of 40 or so belugas. This wasn’t something we could just sail past, so now our arrival time for dinner was completely out the window.

Belugas – white blobs on the surface.

We switched into whale watching mode and drifted along with the belugas swimming past beside and around us, their squeaks and calls audible from the deck and through the hull. Aside from one sad and emaciated animal that briefly swam past us at Borabukta, these were the first beluga that either of us had seen in the wild.

Blowing bubbles on the surface.

What a treat! These were fat, white and glossy animals. Some swam along in groups of 5-10, alongside each other, herding fish until they were corralled and then breaking into a melee of diving and swirling. The introverts of the pod swam a way’s off from the others, intermittently diving down to hunt fish at depth, then swimming languidly on the surface for a while.

More white blobs.

For about hour they moved in around us, off away from us and back again. But after an hour or so though they had moved well away and so, now hungry ourselves and very close to our dinner date time, we threw on the iron genoa and motored the rest of the way Bjonahamna.

Mt Temple, with Von Postbreen (Von Post glacier) in the background.

Once in Bjonahamna we quickly anchored, worryingly close to the scree slopes and massive fallen blocks of stone that lie to the shore under Mt Temple’s cliffs. Just ignore it, I thought, and we jumped into the dinghy and joined SY Flying Fish for a delicious pasta dinner and a lovely evening with a beautiful midnight sun colouring on the cliffs.

The scenery, once again, was spectacular.


  1. Caro Imming September 4, 2023 at 9:04 pm - Reply

    Beluga’s, pasta diners, walvisobservatiemodus, kliffen en middernachtzon. Onwerkelijk haast. Mooi hoor.

    • Frederieke September 17, 2023 at 3:08 pm - Reply

      Inderdaad onwerkelijk. Het is haast niet te geloven dat we dit allemaal meegemaakt hebben.

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Sailing between mountains and glaciers
Finally, a glacier close-up!