The last shore excursion on this Spitsbergen Explorer Cruise took place on Alkhornet at the entrance of Trygghamna and northern entrance of Isfjorden. Alkhornet is part of Northern Isfjord National Park and dominated by a sheer mountain cliff, named for its prominent shape, “auk horn.” The landscape around this large bird cliffs is lush and beautiful; loaded with hundreds of thousands Brunnich’s Guillemots, and a large colony of Kittiwakes. The daily briefing said fox dens who eat birds, and a substantial community of reindeer possibly could be seen. The moss tundra below the cliffs are extraordinarily lush thanks to all the bird guano (bird shit) which fertilizes the area.
The cliff mainly consists of old bedrock which is more than one billion years old! (I can’t even get my mind around that kind of number.) East of where we landed is a deep and long bay which has a diverse history; important and vulnerable cultural remains from several of Svalbard’s historical periods.