Journey in Spitsbergen - July 2005


H.S.H. Prince Albert II in The Spitsbergen, in
the footsteps of his great-great-grandfather
Prince Albert Ist of Monaco
1906 – 2006: the adventure goes on

At the beginning of the twentieth century, Prince Albert 1st, as a pioneer in oceanography and a forerunner in environment protection, explored unknown regions in the Spitsbergen. In hazardous weather conditions, the Prince and scientists on board of his ship drew up an inventory of sea life and carried out meteorological records and photo surveys aiming at studying the pack ice and glacier movements.

From July 25th to 31st July 2005, H.S.H. Prince Albert II visited the same places as his famous ancestor during his researches, especially the glaciers « Lillihöök » and « Monaco ».

Thanks to pictures taken at that period, Prince Albert II could realize the impact on the planet's climatic warming: the glacier snout withdrew of six kilometers, specialists assessed that approximately 40 % of its volume melted in a century.

Panorama of Lilljehook - july 1906
Panorama of Lilljehook - july 2005

During this expedition, His Serene Highness wished to invite a team of scientists specialized in the Pole, including Mrs. Samantha Smith, who heads the WWF "Arctic Program", Mr. Roberto Cassi of the International Atomic Energy Agency (Marine Environment Laboratory) and Professor Jean Jaubert of the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco.

The main scientific objectives of this expedition were the following:

To study the accumulation of pollutants exported by industrialized countries in marine organisms which are typical samples of the food chain. It enables to better assess the threat this pollution represents for ecosystems and Arctic populations.

To measure tracers trapped in annual rings of shells of long life mollusks, to build up the climate's accurate evolution during the two last centuries.

Plankton organisms were caught with nets, and deep sea animals were collected by divers in self-contained breathing apparatus who ventured in icy waters adjoining the pack ice.

During this navigation, Prince Albert II and members of His expedition were able to discover a varied wildlife such as polar bears, walruses, seals, as well many birds, such as common murres and thick-billed murres, Atlantic puffins and dovekies.

Over 670 nautical miles (1200 kilometers circa) were covered around the archipelago, latitude 80° North and 36' minutes was reached.

H.S.H. Prince Albert II wishes to go in this region of the world again. From April 10th to 19th 2006, he will try to reach the North Pole in sled dogs from the Russian base of Borneo, approximately a hundred kilometers away.

A press conference in the Oceanographic Museum will be held on November 28th 2005 in the presence of His Serene Highness as well as the members of the next expedition to give a full account.

Monaco Monday 14 April () - Copyright © 2008 Prince's Palace of Monaco -