Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Travel Notes, Chapter#6, The Fjaerland fjord and Boyabreen glacier

Our tour started from Balestrand pier, it was a connected tour, we should catch our Bergen connection right after we arrive the Balestrand.  Our round-trip on the Fjaerland fjord package tour were including  visits of Norwegian Glacier Museum and the glacier Boyabreen.  It was a fantastic half day!

In a cloudy and cool day our tour started in time. We were a small group of people but from different places of the world such as;  Australia, Spain, USA, UK and  we were from Turkey among other local people.  
We passed through the amazing places, lonely fjords with wonderful colors, wonderful shades,  seagulls, little towns, little houses....
The weather conditions were  changeable even though it was first week of July. 
I wonder winter time in these fjords, how they provide their daily requirements? They must be so much isolated during winter time, indeed.
 We have noticed a tunnel construction, most probably they will connect two sides. 

They are familiar and experienced to drill the tunnel, and suspension bridges between islands, and sides of fjords, where the geography is suitable, we saw different applications during our round trip.
When we arrived to Fjaerland, the glacier bus  was waiting us. Our guide was a lovely young lady who is a student in Bergen. She told detailed information about the museum and glacier, including some other important stories related with the area.
We’ve visited  the Norwegian Glacier Museum. It is a small museum but visual exhibits are well organized, you get to see how the glaciers have influenced us and the climate throughout history. The museum's stated purpose is to "collect, create and disseminate knowledge about glaciers and climate".
It provides information about the glacier Jostedalsbreen and the Jostedalsbreen National Park and also houses the Ulltveit-Moe Climate Centre.

The Fjaerland fjord is a tributary of the Sognefjord and is also known as "The green fjord". Fjaerland is the village where fjords meet glaciers and you can get up close to Jostedalen glacier, the largest glacier in continental Europe.
By the way, let me define what is a glacier! A glacier is snow and ice in motion. Glaciers form at those localities where more snow falls in winter than melts in summer. An ice mass build up over time and will start to move gravity when it is more than 20 meters thick.  
It is so obvious that, the land shape has been shaped by glaciers. Towering mountains and U-shaped valleys surround large delta areas formed by the accumulation of sediment supplied by the glacier rivers. Several thousand years old of deltas formed at a time of higher sea level can now be seen as terraces in the valleys.
It will be better to give a short information for Jostedal Glacier has a total area of 487 square kilometers. The highest point is Høgste Breakulen at 1,957 meters above sea level. Branches of the glacier reach down into the valleys, for instance Bøyabreen in Fjærland and Nigardsbreen, both at 300 metres  above sea level. The thickest part of the glacier is 600 meters.
The glacier is maintained by the high snowfall rates in the region, not the cold temperatures. This means the glacier has high melting rates. The Jostedalsbreen has around 50 glacier arms such as the Nigardsbreen and Tunsbergdalsbreen in Jostedal, the Briksdalsbreennear Olden, the Bøyabreen by Fjærland
Boyabreen is one of about 25 glacier tongues branching off from the plateau of Jostedalsbreen. The main glacier feed Boyabreen. Whether Boyabreen grows or retracts depends on the surplus of snow and ice at the top of the plateau. The glaciers will grow if more snow is falling during winter than what is melting away in the summer. The response time from the main glacier down to Boyabreen is approximately 3 years!

Ice breaks loose from the front of Boyabreen all though summer. Chunks of ice falling into the glacier river may be carried into the lake below.  We were lucky to be able to see even though big pieces of ice floatings in the water. We’ve learned that a big ice block crashed down just before our arrival.  We couldn’t get a chance to see amazing crashing activity  but ice floatings were swimming on the surface.
This is “living” ice which is different from the kind of ice we produce by deep freezing water. From the outset, the glacier ice is composed of many snow crystals which have been fused and grown larger. For this reason, living ice contains air filled channels. 
Another important info is that in 2012, the glacier arm Briksdalsbreen lost 50 meters of ice in a few months. More recent measurements now show that Briksdalsbreen retreated 146 meters  in 2006, and could be in danger of breaking away from the upper ice field. Ice climbing has now been terminated because of this event. One of the serious remedy of global warming!
As I’ve  learned a sad story that something hiding in the glacier; in 1972 a small airplane crashed on Jostedalsbreen. The pilot was killed, and his body was removed from the aircraft. The plane was gradually covered by snow and became embedded in the glacier during winter. Since the glacier  moves slowly there is a possibility that the remnants of the aircraft will be transported downhill and reappear when the ice melts. Calculations based on available data indicate that the wreck will some day will appear near the top of Boyabreen!
After visiting this amazing places and learned much more details for the global warming causes and its effects, I realized once again that we have to protect our old world as much as we can. At least, there are lots of things  that we can do, individually!
So, we said good bye to this lovely small village to go back to Balestrand to catch our ferry for Bergen.
This photo reminds me a stanza I've read 
"Seagulls fly high overhead, 
Seagulls fly high as  if near the ocean"
I believe that these beautiful seagulls are always escort sailors!


Cathy said...

I'm so glad that most reasonable people now accept global warming as a fact. It will be nice if we can all work together to save the glaciers and wildlife that depends on them.

Rengin Yazitas said...

Cathy, especially, young generation works for awareness. I'll share some other info about glaciers we've visited at different countries in Europe, the situation is so scary than we think!