Spitsbergen: Alkefjellet magic

by Sandra Petrowitz Blog

Alkefjellet may not be Spitsbergen’s biggest bird cliff, but it is certainly among the most spectacular ones.

Grey, grey, grey – that’s all it was on this summer morning off the bird cliffs of Alkefjellet. Ten thousands of Brünnich’s guillemots nest on the basaltic pillars rising vertically from the waters of Hinlopenstretet between Spitsbergen and Nordaustlandet.

But in the early hours of the day all we could see in thick fog was the odd flock of black-and-white birds fluttering past Plancius. These birds would have been out at sea to feed and now return to the colony with food for their chicks.

Approaching the Alkefjellet cliffs

If they knew their way home, why not follow them? Equipped with GPS and compass, we approached the cliffs by zodiac. First we heard the noise from the colony – the distinct calls of guillemots, kittiwakes, Glaucous gulls. Then the cliffs gradually emerged from the mist.

With more than 100 metres in height, they are so much bigger than we could possibly have imagined. Some of the rock towers stick out like fingers. In other places Alkefjellet – the mountain of the guillemots – looks like a medieval castle. In any case, we felt to have entered a movie-like scene.

Fighting Brünnich’s guillemot at Alkefjellet

Alkefjellet may not be Spitsbergen’s biggest bird cliff, but it is certainly among the most spectacular ones while being quite easily accessible from the sea side. Slowly gliding past the steep rock walls with birds all over, we sat and watched in awe: guillemots constantly taking off from the ledges, returning to them, splashing about in the water, diving, re-emerging. Some droppings landed on our zodiac and on our guano-proof clothing; we did not mind too much as it is said to bring luck.

Two guillemots were fighting fiercely, slapping each other with their wings and trying to use their sharp beaks as weapons. They got carried away by their conflict that in the end they had drifted right alongside the zodiac. They even continued bashing at each other under water! When the fight ended after a few minutes, one of the birds was bleeding, and the other looked fairly tousled as well.

A magic Alkefjellet morning

By the time we reached the glacier at the northern end of the colony, we had seen and listened to thousands of birds, felt very tiny in our sturdy rubber boat towered by the rock (and bird) masses, found one of the greenish eggshells shattered on a ledge and observed two Arctic foxes patrolling the foot of the cliff. Across steep tundra and snow fields they went, nose down, ears playing, in search for a scent or a sound.

When we finally turned around the sun just came through, reflecting on the water while the mist was still clinging to the steep walls. It was as eerie as it could possibly get – a stunning finale to a magic Alkefjellet morning.

Cruceros relacionados

Norte de Spitsbergen, primavera ártica – Caminata, esquí y vela

Explora las costas y los mares de una increíble isla ártica

RVR03-24 Al final de un largo invierno ártico, la primavera comienza a despertar. El clima, sin embargo, todavía se aferra al frío: montañas cubiertas de nieve, costas nevadas, temperaturas alrededor de -4 ° C (25 ° F). Es un buen momento para experimentar el...

s/v Rembrandt Van Rijn

El Rembrandt van Rijn

Fecha del crucero:

15 may. - 22 may., 2024

Amarres a partir de

por encargo

Norte de Spitsbergen, primavera ártica – Caminata, esquí y vela

Explora las costas y los mares de una increíble isla ártica

RVR04-24 Al final de un largo invierno ártico, la primavera comienza a despertar. El clima, sin embargo, todavía se aferra al frío: montañas cubiertas de nieve, costas nevadas, temperaturas alrededor de -4 ° C (25 ° F). Es un buen momento para experimentar el...

s/v Rembrandt Van Rijn

El Rembrandt van Rijn

Fecha del crucero:

22 may. - 29 may., 2024

Amarres a partir de

por encargo

Expedición Océano Ártico, Aberdeen - Fair Isle - Jan Mayen - Borde de hielo - Spitsbergen - Observación de aves

Navegue a lo largo del borde de hielo de Groenlandia oriental al norte de Spitsbergen, en busca de ballenas y otra fauna ártica.

PLA01a24 Vaya en busca de ballenas y otros animales del Ártico por tierra, mar y aire en una aventura desde nuestro puerto base de Vlissingen hasta nuestro grupo de islas árticas favoritas.

m/v Plancius

El Plancius

Fecha del crucero:

26 may. - 6 jun., 2024

Amarres a partir de

4200 USD

Expedición Océano Ártico, Fair Isle - Jan Mayen - Borde de hielo - Spitsbergen - Observación de aves

Navegue a lo largo del borde de hielo de Groenlandia oriental al norte de Spitsbergen, en busca de ballenas y otra fauna ártica.

PLA01b24 Vaya en busca de ballenas y otros animales del Ártico por tierra, mar y aire en una aventura desde el puerto escocés de Aberdeen hasta nuestro grupo de islas árticas favoritas.

m/v Plancius

El Plancius

Fecha del crucero:

28 may. - 6 jun., 2024

Amarres a partir de

3900 USD

Exploración al Norte de Spitsbergen - Diversos paisajes, hielo marino y vida salvaje

La mejor oportunidad para mantenerse activo mientras observa la exótica fauna del Ártico!

PLA02-24 Esta expedición se centra en la versatilidad de los impresionantes paisajes del norte de Spitsbergen, las vastas extensiones de hielo marino y las numerosas oportunidades de avistar ballenas, osos polares, aves marinas, morsas y otros animales salvajes....

m/v Plancius

El Plancius

Fecha del crucero:

6 jun. - 13 jun., 2024

Amarres a partir de

5600 USD

Loading