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Suffolkpynten & Suffolkvatnet, Svalbard, Norway

Suffolkpynten & Suffolkvatnet (in English Suffolk Point and Suffolk Lake) are the two officially approved Norwegian names for natural features on Svalbard (also known as Spitsbergen), a group of islands in the Arctic Ocean that constitute the northernmost part of Norway.

Suffolkpynten is a 600 metre long narrow spit at Hornsundneset, the northernmost point of Sørkapp Land on the main island of Spitsbergen, located at 76° 53
N 15° 31 E.  

Suffolkvatnet is a small lake, nearby and inland from Suffolkpynten, located at 76° 53
N 15° 33 E.


Population:-  Suffolkpynten is uninhabited.  The population of Svalbard in 2012 was 2,642.

How to get there:- SAS  Scandinavian Airlines run a service to Longyearbyen, the capital of Svalbard, from Oslo via Tromso. Various travel companies run cruise ships to Svalbard.


Time zone: Central European Time (GMT +1 hr).  Daylight saving time in summer + 1 hr.

 

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History & Derivation of Name

Svalbard

 

 

 

History and Derivation of Name

Suffolkpynten is now the official name, from the English name Suffolk Point first given by the English explorer Jonas Poole in 1610.  However, it has had several former names: Lake Suffolk Point (1613), Cap di Horn Sound (1646), Pointe Hofer (French 18th century), Punt Monier (1829), Palffy Cap (1874), Hofet Point (1910), and Hornsund Huken (1912).

Jonas Poole (1566– 1612) was an early 17th century English explorer, sealer, and whaler.  He served aboard vessels sent by the Muscovy Company on sealing voyages to Bear Island, in the Barents Sea south of Spitsbergen, from 1604 through to 1609.  In 1610 Poole was again sent to Bear Island to hunt walrus, as well as to search for a North East Passage through the Arctic Ocean to America.  He was given command of the 70-ton Amity.  Poole bypassed Bear Island altogether, sailing straight for Spitsbergen where he spent nearly four months (May-August) exploring the west coast and hunting walrus, polar bear, and reindeer.  In May 1610 he sent a skiff into a small fjord.  They returned with a piece of reindeer horn, resulting in Poole giving the fjord the name Horn Sound (Hornsund).  Poole named a number of locations, including Suffolk Point and Suffolk Lake, during this voyage.  Many of the names (most importantly Hornsund, Bellsund, and Isfjorden) that he gave to features on the west coast of Spitsbergen still retain their name today.

Suffolk Point and Suffolk Lake were named after Thomas Howard (1561-1626), created the first Earl of Suffolk in 1603 (see Suffolk Misc. page Suffolk as a Title).  At the time of Poole’s expedition, Thomas Howard was a privy councillor and a senior adviser at the court of King James I.  He was renowned for his naval exploits against the Spanish.  

Suffolk Pynten is in a remote area of mountains, glaciers, small offshore reefs & rough seas. Travelling there is therefore hazardous.  Polar bears are fairly common in the region, which was once popular with bear hunters, & the remains of many hunting huts can still be seen here today. 

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Svalbard

Suffolkpynten & Suffolkvatnet are on Spitzbergen, the largest island in the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, which is the northernmost part of Norway. With the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Barents Sea to the east, the Greenland Sea to the west & the Norwegian Sea to the south, Svalbard lies roughly halfway between the Norwegian mainland & the North Pole. The other main islands in the group are Nordaustlandet, Barentsøya & Edgeøya.  The administrative centre is Longyearbyen. The name Svalbard translates as "cold coast".

Although probably known about from around the twelfth century, the first definite discovery of the islands was made by Dutchman Willem Barentsz in 1596. The Dutch then established the first settlement at Smeerenberg in 1619, at which time Svalbard was first used as a whaling base. In 1920, the Spitzbergen Treaty recognised Norwegian sovereignty over Svalbard, & five years later the Svalbard Act saw the islands become a full part of Norway. Today tourism & coal mining are the regions two biggest industries. 

The landscape of the archipelago is one of fjords, valleys & mountains created by millennia of glacial action.  Today 60% of Svalbard is covered by glaciers. Being situated north of the Arctic Circle, Svalbard experiences midnight sun during the summer months, but polar twilight during the winter. Polar bears, arctic foxes & reindeer are all found here, together with around 30 species of migratory birds, such as the little auk, northern fulmar, long-tailed skua & arctic tern. Svalbard has seven national parks, fifteen bird sanctuaries & six nature reserves.

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