The Ghosts of the Arctic
Saturday, July 11, 2015
It’s difficult to believe, but today is to be our last full day of adventure aboard Silversea Expeditions’ Silver Explorer as our 10-night Arctic Svalbard cruise sadly comes to a close. Fortunately, the Expedition Team has developed one last, active day for us to go out with a bang.
Ny London (pronounced nee London), our first “port” of call, was established in 1911 as a marble mining quarry by the Northern Exploration Company based in England. Things apparently didn’t work out too well in the ol’ marble business: by 1920, the site had been abandoned, leaving behind plenty of Victorian-era infrastructure like steam cranes, winches, locomotives, boilers…you name it.
This morning, we made a nicely sized walk of the area to study the ruins, the geology, and the geography of Ny London. Led by Expedition Team member Daniel, we were able to study some of the ruinous equipment up-close. Silversea practices responsible tourism, and asks that guests not touch or interfere with these so that future visitors can enjoy the same sights.
In the 93 years since its abandonment, Mother Nature has done a good job of reclaiming her land. The remaining wooden structures are, for the most part, dilapidated, worn down by the endless polar winters and the ceaseless glare of the Midnight Sun. Humans have also left their mark, too: the small hut at the base of the island is still used by visitors and researchers, some of whom come over from nearby Ny Alesund (which is, I should mention, extraordinarily different from Alesund on the western coast of Norway.)
Some photos of our grea