Svalbard 2015 – Day 4: Polar bears on the edge
As we wake up on the morning of the 17th – 3 days into our seavoyage MS Origo is gliding along the seaice, tracing the edge of the polar cap. The strong winds are nearly gone, there’s still a freezing breeze coming straight from the north pole. At least going this close to the ice, there’s no waves. My stomach appreciates the new conditions and we celebrate with breakfast.
The morning is spent on the lookout for bears.
Spirits are noticably higher as we come across the first signs of bears
Success. All alone on a large sheet of ice far from land in the arctic ocean, we come across our first polar bear. He seems to have caught wind of something because his trot is determined and pretty well paced. He doesn’t seem to appreciate our company though, and after a while he starts swimming away from us. Not wanting to cause any stress, we move on.
A while later we come across two polar bears together. Not a very common sight. Looking closer we see they’re next to a large seal kill. Probably a bearded seal.
As we approach, one of the bears retreats, while the other stays by the kill. Unlike the one that retreats, this one has bloody fur and is most likely the one who caught the seal, while the one that left probably showed up in hope of some free food. Some glauceous gulls also hope for some easy proteins, but keep a healthy distance while the bear is on the alert.
The ivory gulls are more gutsy
We stay with the bear for a while, but the light doesn’t improve and we’re not getting any closer, so after a while we decide to move on
We decide to head further into the ice, trying to reach Sjuøyane as the first ship this season. While some of us get some shuteye, Origo continues moving northeast, but during the night decides the ice is too dense, and we turn around and head along the ice and the south towards Hinlopen.
Before hitting the bunk I shot a short clip out the porthole of my cabin. Slanted horizon and lots of saltwater stains on the glass, but I think it describes the experience anyway