31-07-2002 (Wednesday)

Sleep was interrupted by some noisy geese on the pond next to the tent. Jim sorted them out by sticking his head out of the tent. They were identified as Barnacle geese.
Not much to be done but to march into town to reclaim half the money for the snubbelbus and to hand in the gun amongst other things we had planned. One of the things we wanted to do was to have lunch, one of the restaurants we looked at we didn't like the prices, like R150 for a steak may be normal for here but exorbitant to us. We settled for a type of mild curry, pork and rice in the Kafé Busen, that was 'only' 59 Krona. And then onto the supermarket, one of the things I had to buy was a tube of toothpaste; it had fallen into the river this morning and disappeared. A small tube was going to set me back 15 Kr (R20), I decided I can live without toothpaste, just brush the teeth with water and rinse, that is good enough. In the supermarket I also checked some other prices, honey made in Norway 67 Kr a kg for the cheap stuff and 122 for the more upmarket honey. I wonder whether I could sell my honey there? My annual production of about 50kg would fetch R4600, but only if the Norwegians would let me sell it. I am almost certain that they have huge import restrictions to protect their own bees.
Visiting the museum after lunch was very interesting, it had exhibits of natural and the human history of the area. It also allowed me to date the fossils (leave imprints) I had found as 50 million years old. They were dating from a time when the island was at the latitude of today's Britain. Yes, the island has moved over its 240 million-year history from somewhere south of the equator to its present position.
The evening was spent in the official campsite next to the airport. Here we met Irene again and we could exchange what had been happening since we parted at Grumantbyen. She did get back on the beach with some difficulties. Wading through water knee deep at times. But, she said, there was always an escape near by. That is places where one could have climbed up the rock to wait out the lowering of the tide.
We had a good evening talking to all sorts of people and even found a person who had done the Porsmork to Landmannalaughar hike in Iceland at the same time as we did, I reckon we missed him by a day in Porsmork. The world is really a small place, isn't it.

01-08-2002 (Thursday)

We decided to go to the top of the plateau and borrowed Irene's rifle. We didn't get very far; rain and wind made us decide to turn around. It was too unpleasant and much more pleasant to sit in the lounge with a cup of coffee.
And now we feel guilty sitting inside. But the weather outside is possibly the most sever we have had so far. The wind is strong, cold and wet. Any attempt to even go for a short walk was foiled by just sticking the head out the door, lets rather have some more coffee and do some more reading. This lasted the whole day until dinner when we braved the outside again and went for an about 3km walk along the coast. And that was it for the day.

02-08-2002 (Friday)

I am developing a complex about French people. It happened the second time now that I walked into the breakfast room, the long table was full up with people and my 'Good Morning' is totally ignored. These were the French. It was different the previous day the same table was occupied by Germans, although I didn't know it at the time, my 'Good Morning' was answered by all of them in unison. These Germans are good people. Later I found out that they were from my area in the middle of Germany. In general I found the French strange in that they would not talk to anybody else and clutter up the kitchen completely oblivious to the fact that other people also want to get to the stove, kettle or washbasin.
Since we didn't do it the previous day we decided that today we must walk to the top of the plateau. Following the road we quickly climbed the 451m level to the satellite station. The top is denuded of any vegetation, its just rocks. And the views were not spectacular at all because we got into the mist at that level.
After lunch in a room full of French people, who were not talking to anybody else and were blocking the route to the kettle and using all the hot plates, we packed our things quickly. Over lunch we discovered that our air ticket said departure 14h30 whilst Ann's schedule showed 15h40. To be sure we got to the airport by 14h00 and were told that the plane will leave at 15h40. So we spent time in the Kafé before going off to Tromsø. And with this last picture of Svalbard at midnight we say good bye to this stark but beautiful island.

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