This morning we pay “ol’ Matillas” homage by climbing up Bruceneset in Raudfjorden. His grave is a poignant reminder of yet another trapper who died of scurvy. But alas, what a view this is from his last resting place. The long-stretched Raudfjorden with its washed out red sediments from the adjacent old Devonian sandstone mountains give this fjord its sublime attraction. On our way out of Raudfjorden our expedition leader decides to turn the ship back into the fjord as a polar bear turns had been spotted by another cruise ship. Well, still at a certain distance, however far closer than the one we had seen at Recherchefjorden.
We continued our journey and turned the bow of the MV FRAM and head southbound through Smeerenburgfjorden to probably one of the most picturesque fjords of the world: Magdalenefjord.
Enthused by the pristine beauty, we disembark to our landingsite at ‘Gravneset’ at the Magdalenefjord for a guided tour on the history of whaling. Some travel-books hint towards the need to visit “one hundred world-famous destinations” before one is allegedly ‘granted’ the right to depart this world. At least these are the provoking titles of some travelogues. Amongst those hundred destinations the ‘whale-hunting’ fjord: ‘Magdalenefjord’ is on many a bespoke author’s list. On arriving at the fjord, we grasp this concept even more: We enjoy the placid atmosphere of the fjord. ‘Graveneset’ - the old burial place of the whalers – towers forlorn above the low-lying sandy beaches that were referred to by the English whalers as Trinity Bay. This place is definitely a captivating place. There is this inexplicable eeriness hovering around this mystical destination. Particularly when thinking back to the 17th century and imagining the up to 200-300 ton wooden whaling ships and their auxiliary rowing-boats that were once all afloat in this fjord trying to harpoon the slow swimming Greenland right whale. Simultaneously, 2 hiking groups explore the Gullybreen area. This glacier has retreated quite dramatically. Old travel-guides from the 1930s show the glacier front protruding into the Magdalenfjord.