BEING The most northern people in the world at 80 degrees north
We were woken up to the announcement “Good morning ladies and gentlemen, it’s 7am on a beautiful Arctic day and the outside temperature is a balmy 5 degrees, the water is at zero, and we are at a latitude of 80 degrees north. This means that we are currently the most northern people in the world right now. We are literally on top of the world folks!” As I pulled aside the curtain I was blinded by sheer brilliance as sunlight filled the sky and bounced off the dazzling white landscape.
Back in Longyearbyen, the relative warmth of mountains and tundra quite often create a thick blanket of cloud in the summer months, which had somewhat dampened my dreams of alpine blue skies and crisp endless horizons. Don’t get me wrong, the steep valleys of ancient rock and permafrost were stunning and humbling in a way that only nature can be when it unravels itself in such powerful and uninhabitable ways. And, there is something magical about a low cloud shifting to reveal a steep towering cliff littered with thousands of nesting little auks twittering away in excitable chorus. But nothing compares to the insignificance you feel when exposed to a vast expanse of open sea and sky like we encountered when we moved away from the land mass and headed due north, into a realm untouched and unfathomable to humankind.