Bear Island, Norway Cruise Port, 2019 and 2020 Cruises to Bear Island, Norway | The Cruise Web
 

Bear Island, Norway Cruise Port

Bjornoya is named after Dutch navigator Willem Barents and affectionately called Bear Island after the white polar bears he was on the lookout for when he first discovered it. It’s located at the very bottom of the Norwegian Svalbard archipelago and sits upon a huge, mist-covered rock in the chilling Arctic Ocean. The area is eerily beautiful due to a perpetual fog that lingers on the island’s rock-filled shores all year long. In 2002 it was declared a nature reserve along with the surrounding waters within a four nautical mile radius which was extended to 12 miles in 2008. In the past, Bear Island laid claim to coal mining, fishing, and whaling; however, after receiving protective status, the only inhabitants can be counted on two hands. Those remaining man a small meteorological station in Herwighamna, as well as a Norwegian radio station. The island is also home to many birds that tend to travel in extensively large groups.

 

  • Cruise passengers often visit the island’s old whaling station that was open for only a short period between 1905 and 1908. It’s located in the midst of an abandoned mining settlement and the remnants are quite fascinating.
     
  • Many visitors will take inflatable boats known as zodiacs to observe the enormous and intricate tunnels and caves located at the foot of the island’s cliffs.
     
  • The meteorological station began life as a radio station which is now only its secondary outlet. It’s quite small and easy to miss, and those manning it don’t welcome visitors, so it’s best to admire it from afar.
     
  • Its name notwithstanding, Bear Island is not a permanent home for polar bears; the ones that wander there stay no more than a few months. The island’s only indigenous mammal is the arctic fox, always a big draw for visitors.
     

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