Svalbard: Polar Bears Frolic and Hunt, Glaciers Calve against a Breathtaking Backdrop

Wim Reports:

We reached the northernmost point of our travels, passing uncountable Guillemots, walruses and seals.

We arrived at a beautiful island in the early morning hours and were immediately thrilled to see two Polar Bears.

The Bears were doing everything that one could wish for! We watched enthralled as they sailed along across the ice on their back legs, chased each other, and then rolled around on their backs. Our cameras were so busy capturing each captivating moment that as they wandered away to stroll through a large group of walruses with small calves our excitement escalated to an unbelievable level. However, the walruses and bears simply ignored each other, and our photographs of the moments there are superb.

After spending hours with the walruses –

 

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– we re-embarked and steamed through the night to the eastern border of Svalbard. Here we arrived at one of the largest ice-capped glaciers in the world. The glacier started calving a few weeks ago and the entire area is covered with various sized ice-floes. Amazingly beautiful in all directions!

We continued through this breathtakingly amazing landscape, trying to capture each vista – reluctant to miss any angle of the magnificent, always changing scenes.

Arriving at another island we immediately spotted a mother Polar Bear with her tiny cub. The duo were the first of ten bears that we saw on this island and they also captivated us as they foraged, rolled in the snow,

 

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… played together, stopped their activities for the cub to suckle, and then went hunting Eider Ducks. The ducks had chicks, also providing nonstop photographic delights.

We could not tear ourselves away from the bears, and at times were within an awesome ten meters from them. Their frolicking, family interactions, and foraging continued without a glance in our direction and we made full use of our time with them.

 

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Then another bear strolled onto the scene, and as soon as mother and cub spotted them they scuttled away in fright.

Now we are heading northward again to the 80th parallel, expecting some heavy, stormy, overcast weather. This is expected to clear by morning and will give us a chance to catch up on some sleep. With these 24 hour days and the constant magnificence all around we find ourselves reluctant to waste time sleeping and tend to only retire when totally exhausted.

After a good nights sleep tonight we are expectantly waiting for what the new, post-storm day will produce ..