Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Visit to Svea and Salhusryggen

On very short notice, me and the rest of the cabin group at UNIS, went to Svea and the student-cabin Salryggen.

Salryggen by night (Photo: Alexander Hovland)
Svea is a mining settlement run by the Norwegian mining company Store Norske(SN) and between 2-300 people work here everyday making it the third largest settlement on Svalbard (After Longyearbyen and Barentsburg). The name Svea is old for Sweden and was first established by the Swedish, but later sold to SN.

Outside snowscooter-season students usually travel by plane to Svea if there are seats available through a deal between SN and UNIS. This means that we often don't know until close up to departure whether we can go or not. This was the case with us as well. At first we gotten a notice telling us there were no seats available, but then we got a phone call and we were suddenly rushing towards the airport.

For UNIS students: Booking goes through students advisor. You're not allowed to bring signal guns or ammunition. Rifle ammunition should come in original packing. Check out student cabin folder at the server. When arriving at the airport use entrance to the right of the main entrance. Check in starts 25minutes pre flight departure.

From Longyearbyen airport (LYR) the flight path is more or less to the south across Reinsdalen and into Van Mijenfjorden(Name after Willem Van Muyden which in error was written Van Mijen by Nordenskiöld). Normally it should take about 15 minutes and if it takes longer, there's probably some kind of problem - be lucky!

Map from Svea to Salhusryggen (Map from Norsk Polarinstitutt)

So. We arrived at Svea airport and we soon realized that a map was forgotten. We also had not got our return flight confirmed yet, so we went to the reception (Yellow building with postal sign, right up the road of the airport).  The reception lady was not impressed by our preparations. In addition to our lack of maps we had not been informed that walking along the road was prohibited due to the big mining trucks driving there. In general there's also a restriction on walking around in Svea. This makes it a bit complicated to get to the cabin outside the snowscooter-season.

Svea in general (Photo: Alexander Hovland)

Svea airport (Photo: Alexander Hovland)

Svea in general II (Photo: Alexander Hovland)

We were in luck however. The port captain, Rolv Enger, offered to drive us to the cabin and even pick us up for our return flight at 08.30 the next morning. This guy was definitely the hero on our trip!

One of the main aims of our little trip was to check the condition of the cabin. We had heard all sorts of things. That the roof was leaking, mold and basicly that the cabin was following down. Therefor we were a bit surprised as we arrived at the cabin. It was fairly big, although probably half the size of Smutthullet in Bjørndalen. And as far as we could see the roof for the most part seemed okey, although, there were some cracks around the pipe which probably should be maintained. There were also some doorhandles missing and generally it should be supplied. There were also gas and coal, but wood is starting to run out.

View from the cabin toward the harbour (where you can get water)
(Photo: Alexander Hovland)

If you need water you can ask the workers in the building on the harbour. Also. See poster at the cabin.

We had some problems getting the coal to burn, but this was mainly due to lack of experience on making a good fire with coal. Due to the design of the oven - instead of making a sort of teepee fire, you should build a platform type of fire in order to promote air circulation from underneath the coal.

The evening was spent eating chocolate, talking and playing "Sysselmannen and coal worker" which is the Svalbard version of the card game "president.

Kirsteen being... Kirsteen. (Photo: Alexander Hovland)

From the left: Me, Erika and Kirsteen (Photo: Alexander Hovland)

Kirsteen and Ida playing "Sysselmannen and coal-miner"
(Photo: Alexander Hovland)
 The next morning we were driven to the airport and offered breakfast and coffe at the mess hall before returning to LYR and Longyearbyen.

I've uploaded a GPS log with a waypoint at the cabin. This can be downloaded from the cabin group folder on the server.

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