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Jan Mayen

Travel Guide Europe Norway Jan Mayen

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Introduction

Jan Mayen is a volcanic island in the northern Atlantic Ocean, roughly between Norway, Iceland and Svalbard. It is a mountainous island with the Beerenberg being the highest point at 2277 meters above sea level. The island is part of Norway, officially part of the Nordland country.

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Geography

Jan Mayen is about 373 square kilometers and consists of the larger and mountainous Nord-Jan and smaller but flatter Sor-Jan. They are connected by a narrow isthmus. On the isthmus you can fin the two largest lakes of the island, Sørlaguna (South Lagoon), and Nordlaguna (North Lagoon). Beerenbug Volcano is located in the north with it's large glacier of over 100 square kilometers. In the south, Rudolftoppen is the highest point, at around 770 meters above sea level. Here you will also find the Olonkinbyen settlement.

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Settlement

The island is not permanently inhabited though scientists and other researchers regulary pay a visit to this remote part of Norway, officially part of the Nordland country. Population varies between 15 and 40 (depending on the season), living the settlement of Olonkinbyen. All these people are personnel working for the Norwegian Armed Forces or the Norwegian Meteorological Institute. People work here for either 6 months or one year and are exchanged twice a year in April and October.

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Sights and Activities

Climb Beerenburg with the Norwegian company of Eco Expeditions!

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Weather

Weather on Jan Mayen is changeable, but in general the weather is humid and cold, though not bitterly cold because of the influence of the northern Atlantic Ocean. Temperatures vary between 4.9 degrees Celsius in August and -6.1 degrees Celsius in February and March. The highest ever recorded was 18.1 degrees in June 1953 while the lowest was -28.4 in February 1963.
Precipitation is quite evenly distributed througout the year though not very heavy. The driest month on average is June with around 35 mm while September and October have 82 mm of precipitation. Snow is possible in all months though, especially up the Beerenburg Volcano.
Even dry and relatively mild days can still feel cold because of constantly blowing winds.

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Getting There

For more information about visiting Jan Mayen, check the Jan Mayen website or the complete Home Online website with questions about visiting the island.

By Plane

Hercules planes fly personnel in from Norway to the unpaved airstrip at Jan Mayen, called Jan Mayensfield, about 8 times a year. The planes are operated by the Royal Norwegian Airforce and fly in from Bodo. Flights are cancelled when visibility is not sufficient to land and sometimes planes that are already close to Jan Mayen have to return because of sudden weather changes. Although the flights are mainly for personnel and for freight, you might be able to get special permission and visit the island. It doesn't come easy nor cheap though.

By Boat

There are no ports or harbours, only offshore anchorages. A few companies (see above under sights and activities) run tours to the island by ship. Cruiseships travelling between Norway and Iceland or Greenland usually pass by Jan Mayen and you have to be lucky to have clear views. Usually, these ships don't anchor though because there too many people on board to go on land.

Every year in June, the British company the Travelling Naturalist has a 10-12 day trip starting in Scotland via Faroe Islands and Jan Mayen to Svalbard, with a day or two spend on the island itself.

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Getting Around

Well, getting around Jan Mayen is only possible by boat which have to anchor offshore. Otherwise, walking is your only option on land, but you have to come very prepared for that if you want to cover larger areas. Also, permission is necessary and you can not go everywhere.

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This is version 4. Last edited at 16:59 on Jun 5, 13 by Sander. 3 articles link to this page.

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