Svalbard 2015 – Day 6.5: Beach bums

Great Scott! Day 6.5! Did we create a time paradox that unraveled the very fabric of the space time continuum?! Surprisingly and thankfully no. Actually I just felt the night spent on Torellneset warranted its own post, so I’m kind of squeezing it in between day 6 and 7. So here goes.

We arrive at Torellneset just before midnight in beautiful midnight sun and practically a clear sky. Seeing a colony of walruses at the very tip of the cape, we head straight for the zodiacs and go ashore.

As we go ashore we approach the group carefully. They don’t seem to be very bothered by our presence.

A walrus colony basking in the midnight sun

A walrus colony basking in the midnight sun

Walruses enjoying the midnight sun

Walruses enjoying the midnight sun

 

 

There were also some in the water, being considerably more active, as well as very curious. Some of them were checking out our zodiacs. Thankfully they didn’t decide to test them with the teeth.

Curious walrus checking out our zodiacs

Curious walrus checking out our zodiacs

Others were checking out us. I spent a few minutes talking with this guy. Apparently baby talk with burping sounds and spitting passes for walrusian.

A walrus having a chat with me at the beach

A walrus having a chat with me at the beach

These guys weren’t sure what to make of me. They’re just a couple of meters out from the shoreline.

Walruses checking out the new guy with some scepticism

Walruses checking out the new guy with some scepticism

While we were hanging out with the walrus at the beach, I got the opportunity to shoot the arctic terns which were swooping over our heads. Unfortunately I almost always timed my shots wrong for their dives. Only after I stopped shooting and started observing them did I realize that their diving was directly tied to the movements of the walrus in the water, as they were picking up shrimps and other creatures whirled up by the walruses. Just a reminder of how important it is to understand your subjects to get the most interesting shots of them.

Arctic tern scouting for shrimps, mollusks and anything else the walruses whirl up

Arctic tern scouting for shrimps, mollusks and anything else the walruses whirl up

Arctic tern fishing

Arctic tern fishing

Arctic tern fishing

Arctic tern fishing

Laying on the beach and shooting with the 500mm along the surface gave some excellent smooth surface pics.

Walrus portrait

Walrus portrait

Blowing bubbles

Blowing bubbles

Stubble and dirty teeth, quite the charmer

Stubble and dirty teeth, quite the charmer

Walrus making his way up to the colony on the beach

Walrus making his way up to the colony on the beach

It looks more idyllic than it smells...

It looks more idyllic than it smells…

While most of the group returned to Origo after just a couple of hours, a few of us stayed behind and didn’t return to the ship until after 5 in the morning. It was an amazing experience and the light was simply awesome. On trips like these one really needs to make the most out of the opportunities, and this was a perfect example. In terms of nature experience, this was possibly the best part or the trip 🙂

 

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2 Responses

  1. November 2, 2015

    […] Svalbard 2015 – Day 6.5: Beach bums […]

  2. November 17, 2015

    […] Since this part took place from late evening until 3 in the morning, I’ve included it as yet another .5 day […]

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