The island covered by an ice dome
Information about Victoria Island
The most westerly of the group, and, like Kvitoya on Svalbard to the west, it is covered by an ice dome. Visited by expedition cruise ships sailing between the two archipelagos. There are two small ice free (almost gravel) areas to land on the wets and north sides – with a decaying weather station at the latter.
Pictures of Victoria Island
Highlights Close to Victoria Island
Camp Ziegler on Alger Island was one of the camps used by the Fiala-Ziegler Polar Expedition of 1903-1905. This expedition failed in its ultimate goal to reach the North Pole. The expedition crew sought refuge at Camp Ziegler after repeated unfavorable events caused their mission to halt, mostly from extreme weather. Today the huts are in ruins, but one of the best preserved in the area.
Krenkel station, a Soviet rocket-launching site was established here in the 1957-58 Geophysical Year, becoming the largest in the archipelago. It closed in the year 2000, with decaying buildings, wreckage, remains of rocket debris, and leaking fuel tanks. A small base was re-stablished in 2005, with plans to revive the site.
The popular site to visit here is Cape Tegetthoff, named after the ship used in the Austro-Hungarian North Pole expedition to find the North-East Passage from 1872 to 1874, partially exploring Franz Josef Land. There are interesting geological pinnacles, tundra, wildlife, and remains of the hut used by Wellman to winter in 1898 before his failed attempt to get to the North Pole.
One of the most southerly islands, in the SW. A number of expeditions visited Cape Flora between 1880 and 1929, some setting up bases and winter quarters, including the Jackson-Harmsworth expedition of 1894-97. There are still artifacts and remains visible. Cape Barents, was also visited by several expeditions.
Cape Flora is also famous for where, on 17th June 1896, Jackson spotted two men heading towards his base, and asked – “Are You Nansen?”!
The most northerly island in Franz Joseph Land, and in the whole of Eurasia - Cape Fligely, 911km/566mi from the North Pole, at 81o 52’N. Various expeditions came here, some over winter, with at least two explorers buried here - Sigurd Myhre (1904?) and Georgiy Sedov (1914). A meteorological station was setup in 1932 and as a Soviet airbase in the high Arctic. Now there are decaying buildings covered in snow.
Ship and Zodiac cruising
With the myriad of islands and channels, and the ice, there needs to be a lot of flexibility of where to explore within the Franz Joseph archipelago. But there is the chance to see a range of Arctic wildlife, such as the Polar Bear and Walrus, plus species like Bowhead Whale and Narhwal that are scarcer in Svalbard waters.
Many of the ships that head up to the north pole pass through the islands.
The Admiral Tegetthoof, caught in the ice off Novaya Zemlya in 1872 came to a halt off this tiny island for the winter of 1873-74. They explored the area and there is the grave of Otto Krisch, the one expedition team member that died.
One of the largest islands on the SE side of the archipelago. Mapped by Payer in 1874 and visited by the Wellman expedition in 1898-99. It was the overwintering site of Bentsen and Bjorvik on the Wellman expedition, attempting to set up an advanced cache for Wellman’s attempt (he overwintered at Cape Tegetthoff) on the North Pole. Bentsen died here and the grave can be seen and the remains of the cabin.