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The Arctic Circle: A hike from Lloyds Hotel to Lilliehöökbreen

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Here is our trip log from Sunday, October 7:


Sunday 07.10 – Day 7

Lloyds Hotel – Lilliehöökbreen – North

-3/4°C Celsius, almost no wind in the morning, clear sky, beautiful sunrise. More wind in the evening going from WNW 2, to N 2-3 and later NW 4.

09:30 - Morning landing Lloyds hotel – Hike to Lilliehöökbreen.

11:15 – Anchor up Lloyds Hotel.

13:30 – Anchor down Lilliehöökbreen.

14:30 – Hikers back on board (Piet still smiling).

16:30 - Afternoon zodiac cruises Lilliehöökbreen.

19:00 - Going North.

Our leader, Sarah Gerats, kept this log for us throughout the trip… And October 7 was one of my favorite days. I woke that morning and, as happened most mornings, came out on deck to a view I'd never seen before.


If you take a close look at the middle of this picture — maybe click on it to make it bigger and more detailed — you might see an orange rectangle. This is a hut that's been decorated and painted orange. It's called Lloyds Hotel, and it is definitely the fanciest hut …

A Wedding Gift for the Jane Readers Among You :o)

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I have another post of Arctic pics lined up, but I wanted to change to the subject for a moment to something closer to home. Here's something we received from some of my dear people at Penguin after we got married.




 Umbrellas, magical worlds, and joint adventures! My editor, Kathy Dawson, found the card, and my artist and mapmaker for Bitterblue and Jane, Unlimited, Ian Schoenherr, revised it :o). Jane, Unlimited readers will hopefully understand why.

My mouth fell open when I saw it, and I promptly burst into tears. Thank you to those involved -- you know who you are :o).

More soon!

The Arctic Circle: Inside the Antigua

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You might be wondering what it was like to live inside a ship for two weeks as we explored western Spitsbergen. For a sense of our day-to-day inside lives, here are some pictures from inside the Antigua. Please keep in mind that it was HARD to take these particular shots, because all the spaces are small and strangely-shaped, no space on a ship is designed for easy photographing, and also, the ship is never, ever still. It's tricky to take in-focus pictures when the floor is moving!

See the door in the middle of this picture, with the circular window? Let's step inside.

First thing you encounter is the Very Narrow Corridor With Too Many Boots. In the picture below, it is way more tidy than normal. We didn't wear our outside shoes inside the Antigua, so every time you stepped in or out, you did the awkward and time-consuming boot-transition thing.

To the right are teeny bathrooms and the door to the engine room; to the left is the entrance to the kitchen, shown below. I did…

The Arctic Circle: A few landscapes to set the mood!

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In the coming weeks, I want to blog about a typical day on board; tell little stories of routines and big stories of adventures, in pictures; introduce you to some of the characters from my journey; familiarize you with the beautiful Antigua; and talk a little about my writing work on board.

I want to start, though, with a simple series of landscape photos, just to give a sense of atmosphere. For two weeks, with the exception of one day when we docked at the research station in Ny-Ålesund, we were alone on both land and sea. At the beginning of our trip, on October 1, we had about 10 and a half hours of daylight. As the trip progressed, we began to lose daylight steeply, as much as 40 minutes per day, such that when we returned to Longyearbyen on October 15, we had about 6 and a half hours of daylight. Can you imagine such a change, over the course of two weeks?

It made for some dramatic and moody skies.

Notice, in these pictures, how often my camera would reach for the Antigua in the…