Karl XII-øya is one of the most remote islands in the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard. Locked away in pack ice for most of the year, Rolf Stange puts it best:
“The end of the world! It is hard to imagine anything more remote than this island.”
In 1928 Italian aviator Umberto Nobile, returning from the North Pole in his airship Italia, crashed on the ice somewhere not far to the north of this island group, losing a third of his crew. With land faintly visible over the ice, three men set out to search for help. One died on the ice but the other two were eventually rescued by Soviet icebreaker Krassin.
I first became aware of the island three years ago when flicking through the ‘Arctic Pilot’. Information was distinctly lacking, restricted to a single overhead photo (see above). Intrigued I made an attempt to land but the logistics fell apart on the day and I was limited to a distant view
A few days ago I finally got there. As expected it was remote and covered in Polar Bears. A little part of my internal world map has been filled in.