Svalbard: We Steam Northward to a Wonderland of Scenery and Wildlife

Wim Reports:

We steamed Northward into the ever changing and ever dramatic landscape.
There are Guillemot (Auk family) colonies all around and we have filled many memory cards with these beautiful birds, flying around, nesting, fishing and foraging.

As we travelled northward we manoeuvred through massive icebergs, many splitting and calving to create smaller mountains.

 

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It is amazing to look up at some of these, towering high up and to realise that only a small fraction is visible above the surface of the water.

On the way we stopped for an incredible experience. An island with about 80 to 100 walruses hove into view. Within moments we were able to disembark and we joined the walruses.

It was amazing to lie down among the walruses – only a meter or so away, and to photograph them at such close range.

 

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We spent about 5 or 6 hours on our stomachs, enjoying this unusual contact with these huge creatures … and of course our memory cards filled up yet again!

By now we were at the 81st parallel – only 9 degrees from the North Pole. At this stage we had seen hundreds of thousands of wonderful seabirds and thousands of seals but no Bears as yet.

But that changed as we steamed a little further Northward. To our delight we found a Polar Bear on one of the Northerly Islands and as you can understand, we photographed him for hours!

 

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He was foraging around and gave us plenty of photo opps.

Another colony of Guillemots with thousands upon thousands of birds was next. It was quite bewildering, not knowing which way to look next! Foraging here, on the cliffs there, diving in yet another direction. 

We are now heading even further Northward, the furthest North that we are able to travel, to another remote Island that we believe has many Polar Bears …