Southeastern Spitsbergen landscape-seascape and biodiversity dynamics
under current climate warming

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Notes on The Davis Harbour Area on The East Coast of West Spitsbergen (Dr. H. N. Coryell)

(orginal text in English)

During the summer season of 1919 an exploring party for the Northern Exploration Company, made a trip of short duration to the east coast of the West Island of the Spitsbergen group. At that time a small harbour, near the 77th parallel was rediscovered. It was not generally known by the English speaking people up to this time and was not mapped upon English sailing charts. The harbour was named by the members of the expedition "Lady Davis Harbour". Upon further investigation along the shore south of the harbour a coal horizon was discovered. It was supposed to have a wide extent, so claim was made by the expedition on behalf of the Northern Exploration Company to the entire east coast of Spitsbergen from Whales Bay to South Cape in order to cover all probable occurrences. A few samples were collected.
Early during the summer season of 1920 a claim party was ended in Davis Harbour with instructions to hold the Company's claim; to gather all the information concerning the coal that was possible for them to do, and to collect data on the weather conditions in the district.

August 5th.1920.Thursday.
The temperature was +2C. with abundance of rain and heavy fog. The field party remained on board all day. Bell, Bevan & Coryell went on shore to pick out a suitable place to build a hut or pitch tents.

(...)

August 7th.1920. Saturday.
The temperature was +7C. in the sunshine There was an abundance of fog and wind from the north. It did not rain today. In the evening after the sun eased to shine the temperature fell to +2C. The field party moved into the hut during the afternoon even though it was not completed. The stores were placed in a tent a short distance northwest of the living quarters. The party left in charge of the field work were:
H.N. Coryell., H.S. Kane., J.T. Theedom., F.C. Ryan., A. Jacobsen

(...)

August 10th.1920. Tuesday.
There was a low fog during the morning. In the early afternoon it was about the mountain tops only and still later the sky became clear and the fog disappeared. There was a gentle wind from the west that give rise to a strong surf from the east as it whirled downward from the mountain tops to Davis Harbour Beach. The temperature today was 3C. The coal was traced along the shore to Dead Bear Point and observations were made in the vicinity of Dead Bear Plateau and mountain. The section at Dead Bear Mountain was studied from the top downward or a distance of 1060 feet.

(...)

August 14th.1920. Saturday.
There was a strong surf today, driven shoreward by the easterly wind. Rain and snow fell during the entire day. The temperature varied from +1C later in the day. At 10.30.p.m. the ground was covered with snow. No geological studies were made outside today.

(...)

August 20th. 1920. Friday.
The sun shone nearly all day. The temperature at 8.30. a.m. was +5C. A fog covered the mountains at 6.30. p.m.
The section at Hedgehog mountain was studied. The trip was extended southward over the glacier between Hedgehog and Mt. Barbara to Dead Bear Point, where the coal and the adjacent section was studied. The Dead Bear Point area is made up of numerous fault blocks of small size which causes the coal to outcrop at various levels at different places and at different levels in the same vertical section.

(...)

August 29st. 1920. Tuesday.
The temperature was +4C at 10.30. a.m. The wind was very strong from the northwest and blew our boats about the beach. One was destroyed. Much of the tar paper was torn off the hut by the wind. The sun shone brightly during the entire day.
The day was spent in weighting the tent ropes, repairing the hut and covering the lumber with heavy stones in order to keep them on shore.

August 30th. 1920. Monday.
The temperature was 4C at 5 p.m. The west wind was very strong all day. It tore the tents, scattered the tent-board and other lumber about the beach. The sun shone brightly all day. The tents were removed and the food stored in the hut. The tent-boards were weighted down, boxes were filled with stones, the lumber was covered with rocks, so as to keep it on the beach. The broken boat was tossed about during the night and was left on the east edge of the beach flat.

August 31st. 1920. Tuesday.
The temperature was 4C. There were clouds covering the sky, some fog and rain. The strong wind ceased yesterday afternoon and then began again at 3. p.m. today, and everybody was very busy to keep on the land. This is the fourth day that such strong whirling gusts of wind made trouble.
The morning was spent in repairing the damages done by the wind and after the storm that began at 3. p.m. there were still many things to be done.

(...)

September 2nd. 1920. Thursday.
It was little foggy at 9. a.m., but became clear at 10.15 a.m. The temperature was +4C. The fishing smack Ornen II came to move us to Calypso and to leave 3 trappers at Davis Harbour for the winter season. This closes the work of the party for the season.