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Petunia Bay / Spitsbergen / Norway / 05.09.2019

We’ve left the Nordsenskiold glacier, returning to the base along the coast of Adolf Bay, making our way to Petunia Bay and the old Polish base taken from us by the Norwegians. We have several kilometres to walk. We’re walking. We see traces of big paws imprinted in soft ground in the bay. These footprints can only belong to one animal. The polar bear. This is its territory, and we are the intruders. We scan the area through binoculars and a telephoto lens. Vigilance and full readiness. Weapons loaded. Here every white spot is a potential threat, every lump of ice on the water is a floating bear. We’re walking as fast as the terrain allows us. Here distance is measured not in kilometres, but in time. We’d agreed to meet around 7pm at the old base. That was to be approximately 3-4 hours of walking. We were supposed to check in via radio before 6pm, to report that everything was okay and to say we were waiting for the dinghy. It’s 10pm now and we still haven’t been able to make the call. Walking along the coast, we reach a cliff where an elevated water level cuts off the path. We have to turn back and try to get up the hill, from where there will be a straight line home (to AMU’s base). We stop next to quite a steep slope of a mountain made of small stones. The first theoretically best place to climb up. The time for joking is over. We’re climbing up, keeping an eye out for each other. With each step, stones slide from under our feet. One reckless move and we’ll tumble straight into the sea. We made it. Before us was the view of a plain and in the distance, Petunia Bay with the Polish polar base. It’s just across the bay. It would take us several hours to get there. The water provides a considerable shortcut. 20 minutes and we’ll be home. If they come for us. We don’t have the strength to go to the scheduled meeting point. We make contact. They’ll come. We’ll be at the base in an hour, enjoying a hot dinner. The best dinner I’ve ever had. A dinghy, water and the shortest way home. By water.

Wiórek / Poland / 28.05.2010

If the water rises a few more centimetres, our town, our house and the Old Market Square in Poznań will be flooded. That’s what the firemen guarding the dykes said. Every morning at 6am I go and check the water level on the Warta river. You can’t see the river. There is a lake like a mirror from which the tips of bushes and tree tops protrude. The view is beautiful and terrifying. The sky is everywhere. Up and down. Green lines on the horizon. I know where the riverbed is. Where it should be. Instead of frightening me, the view of flooded fields, meadows and forests impress me with their beauty. It’s sunny and warm. Spring is in full swing. Lush green and blue sky and water. The queen of life. In the heavens and on earth. The earth is hidden. You behold water.
Michał, a student of Adam Mickiewicz University, holding the frame with dedication in Petunia Bay.
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Each photograph used during the journey stops being luggage, changes its destiny, takes on a new life. It creates a unique travel sack with a story in the background. Always just one. One shot, one sack. Luggage (no excess)
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