01.08.2013: On the way to Spitsbergen

Leaving Russia

Pos. 70° 44' N - 32° 35' E

Finally, we are heading north to the high Arctic - ok, we are on our way to Spitsbergen! The blockade of the Russian officials was harder than ice. In 1991, we were allowed to sail to Franz-Josef-Land but this year we were refused passage although we were in possession of the necessary documents and so, the goals of the planned expedition will not be met.

Unfortunately as well is the fact that the two Russian Vladimir and Slava will not be coming along with us. Slava, a widely experienced "Polar-Man" had fought for years to get the necessary documents to sail with the "Dagmar Aaen" around the North Pole. He had come to join us again this time full of vigour and together with Vladimir, was a total gain for the crew. the national park guide, who was an excellent photographer, had made preparations for a long time in advance and had invested an enormous amount of energy to make this journey possible - unfortunately in vain.

Cleaning ship freed the ship and the crew from a lot of frustration

The difficult farewell, where his (and our!) disappointment was clearly visible, almost turned into a farce: the border officials forbid him and another journalist standing beside him to photograph us while sailing out. The reason? They naturally didn't offer one, but they probably would have come up with something. Hopefully Vladimir can use his anger and the anger in many other places about such actions for further work in the media - good luck!

The arbitrary way of the officials dealt with the situation was echoed in Russian and German newspapers, internet and television. Hundreds of articles and programs, from the Russian GEO, local newspapers (Lübecker Nachrichten, Hamburger Abendblatt) and national newspapers to the FAZ, reported on the sailing ship in the coal harbor. Did "Dagmar" and the crew heave a deep sigh of relief after the pilot left the ship and we were finally on open waters? At least after the scrubbing of the deck, which started immediately and lasted for hours, a feeling of relief was almost physically perceptible. Cleaning ship freed the ship and the crew from a lot of coal dust and a lot of frustration!

With sunshine and calm waters, we are quickly on our way to Spitsbergen - we will report further from there.

Matthias Berg

Sponsoren, Förderer & Partner