The sea reflects the morning sun like a mirror when we enter MS Langoysund to head to the Esmark Glacier and Barentsburg. The crossing to Oscar II Land takes us to the middle of the fjord, and we are surrounded by views of the fantastic nature and mountains which were pressed up out of the ocean many millions of years ago. After lunch in this panoramic setting we head towards Barentsburg, Svalbard’s Russian capital. Today there are about 400 people living there, all from countries which were part of the old Soviet Union. From the top of the hill Lenin looks down over us majestically. Barentsburg is still a ‘company town’ where a state-owned Russian mining company manages everything. On the way towards Grumant and the bird cliff Fuglefjellet we sail close to the famous helicopter base at Kapp Heer and as we continue along the coast the landscape changes character.
Thousands of birds, and we see them fly in and out of the mountains like clouds of bats. Early in the spring the mountains may be grey, but after a little rain and warm weather it explodes with colour – yellow, orange and green.