The third meeting of the season was opened by Chairman Michael Cochrane who advised of seven apologies.
Today’s Speaker saw the return of Mr Tony Brown with his titled talk being ” In the Kingdom of the Ice Bear”. This was the tale of his sailing trip to the Norwegian Archipelago of Svalbard and surrounding islands (formerly Spitsbergen) located 600 miles from the North Pole. The boat would prove to be their home for 10 days with shifting ice making a land base problematical. Backed up with a first class photographic slide show the audience was treat to a panorama of geographical features that make up this part of the world with its landscape of ice caps, tundra and floes. Tony’s visit was during the summer and benefitted from a 24 day with no dark night time.
The buildings shown were of wood construction and had Polar Bear preventative measures in place. We were shown Reindeer, Husky Dogs, Walruses, Seals, Minke Whales an Arctic and Blue Fox and a great variety of seabirds such as Arctic Terns, Eider Ducks, and Puffins. The crowning glory was of course pictures of Polar Bears the undoubted kingpins of the area and very much top of the food chain. Suprisingly for such inhospitable climes there were a good deal of flowers although small in size. We learnt about how the animals operated in this environment and advised of the peculiar fact that nothing prior to 1945 can be removed from the beaches…its classed as Heritage!! Comments and questions were raised at the conclusion of the talk.
The Vote of Thanks on behalf of 36 attendees was given by Terry Byrne.
NEIL RAMSHAW SECRETARY