Jump to content

Svalbard. Bearly made it with the bear necessities. 31st July to August 15th 2022.


Recommended Posts

Bearly made it with the bear necessities. Got an itch, scratched it, got a call, got a ticket and got a plane.

Whilst I have enjoyed several years of wildlife travel, it has been to warmer countries and I had always turned down the siren voices calling me to seek Polar Bears despite a life-long love affair with the beautiful beast.  Their habitat was just too darn cold looking and I don’t DO cold.

However the excellent reports appearing over the last few months are to blame for the recent rush of blood to my head and the breaking open of my little Piggy Bank. I reasoned that if I can camp at 4000 metres in the Himalaya at minus 22C seeking Snow Leopards I surely can handle a few nights on a small boat in the Arctic.

So why not just take a tentative step and make enquiries? You know! Test the water, so to speak! Where’s the harm in that? On 4th July 2022 with minimal research, so out of character for me, I registered an interest with AWS and blow me down I got the offer of the last space on m.v. Malmo for 2nd September. Eh?  A check discussion with Lady Galana brought forth the somewhat encouraging response to “go now you old fool or you may be too old next time!” Wise words from a wise Woman although no doubt they could have been phrased more gently. Unsurprisingly my offer to have her accompany me drew forth an equally pithy response in the negative with some mention of having other things in her social diary. So it was just me. I absolutely hate sharing cabins or bedrooms with strangers but in for a penny.

See the map of the polar area for my location on Isle of Man and the insert for my route.                                  pole.jpg.298a98c709e3be06e2ffab116712f77c.jpg This is a short haul trip so getting there should be relatively easy. (Spoiler alert! Wrong!)





So the booking form was sent off and accepted and the deposit paid. Scandinavian Airlines seemed to want me to visit a few Capital cities before arriving in Longyearbyen so overnight hotels were needed in England and Norway as well as a precautionary pre embarkation night in Longyearbyen.

All that was now needed was to survive the relatively short lead in time of two months without too much time for things to go wrong. Then SAS decided to go on strike but surely it would not last long!



Then I got a mail from Arctic Wildlife Tours saying they had overbooked Malmo and could I possibly bring my trip forward to sail on 3rd August. They offered the inducement of single occupancy of my cabin and to pay any airline change fee if I would.  I would.

Hotels had all been booked with Booking.com so were cancellable so good bye and thanks to Airport Inn and Spa at Manchester airport, Radisson Red in Oslo and Mary Ann’s in Longyearbyen for the two bookings on 1st and 12th of September as well as long layovers in Stockholm outbound and Copenhagen inbound.

In their place came an overnight at the Comfort Hotel in Copenhagen and two nights at Mary Ann’s Polarigg for 1st and 2nd August outbound and nothing on the way home as the whole trip could be done in around 15 hours even with a 6 hour layover in Oslo and another 4 in Manchester. Twice the time on the ground than in actually flying anywhere but that is what SAS Lounges are for.  I liked that return flight a lot so took a night in Svalbard Polarfarenen after disembarkation to line up the times to get it.

NOW all I had to worry about was the SAS strike AND a 45 minute transfer between my Copenhagen flight into Oslo and the flight out to Longyearbyen. Then happily the strike ended so I could fret about the Oslo transfer which due to the Scandinavian efficiency of “Transfer” was doable IF the first flight was on time. IF!!



The days passed quickly and the necessary clothing was arrayed upon the spare bed and I was good to go. I even enjoyed dodging a pressing contact who demanded my phone number when away and telling him ‘Not possible! I am out of contact!’  And when he retorted ‘Why? Where the heck are you going? The North Pole?’ smiling and saying ‘well not actually the Pole itself but near enough’!

And that was that. Twenty six days from booking to going. I was off to the Airport for the afternoon flight to Manchester. Plane late but it will save layover time in Manchester. To SAS check in and bravely booked right through to LYR (Lady G would have a fit if she knew) but I hate carrying bags and can always buy clothes in Longyearbyen should the bag not make it. So Day one ended in Copenhagen and a short walk to the Comfort Hotel got me to my bed in fair shape for the early morning (08.00) flight to Oslo and THAT transfer.

Day 2. I don’t think I can keep this up, began at 05.30 with a walk down to the airport and the late arrival of my inbound plane. So when we boarded I mentioned my short transfer at Oslo to be told this plane was not late. NO! but it is going to be as you still have lots to do before doors close. And of course there was more to come. We had a “no show” at the gate and his/her luggage had to be found and taken off the plane. Bu**er! Things got a bit tense but the pilot did his best and peddled as fast as he could and we made up a little time giving me 18 minutes to get to the next plane.

And this is where Lady Luck played her part. I had booked seat 1C for a sharp exit and as the air bridge came on I was up and out like a champagne cork from a bottle but without the Fizz. We were at Gate D8 and the quick Customs gate was near at D2. A swipe of my Boarding Pass opened the gate to Customs and without breaking step another swipe got me into the Domestic Departure Lounge where my plane was just boarding at Gate A1. Made it even if my luggage would not. Wrong again. Looking out of my window I saw my clearly identifiable bag arrive and go up the belt into the hold. And we were off. OK we can draw a deserving veil over the schlepp off the plane in Tromso for Customs clearance just to get our passports stamped to enter Norway when we were actually leaving but nobody is perfect and that transfer gate more than compensated.

Into Longyearbyen on time and bag picked up. The shuttle bus awaits.

Just time to take my first look at Svalbard scenery.                                      1-DSCN7842.JPG.720995606862c05fd8a9bd07f5030d06.JPG


and we were off to check in at Mary Anne’s Polarigg. A bit spartan and rustic but it was good training for a Cabin boy’s ten nights at sea. Dinner was very good indeed. What time does it get dark?





That’s it for now Days 3 and 4 will follow shortly.

Edited by Galana
added text.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@GalanaI like your style! Well done for getting this trip together in record time and thanks for sharing your experience.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow. Now I know everyone but me has been to Svalbard. Next August 3rd for me so I’m excited to read this @Galana and especially love the ‘ah what the hell I’m going approach’.  And I really want to meet Lady G someday. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

WHEW I'm breathless just reading that, no breathing time there at all! But you made it, YAY and so now another Svalbard report for me to be envious of :)


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow, that was a surprise!

A great start to your report - I do like your wife’s words of encouragement. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone for your kind comments.

I will pace myself in posting  as I don't wish to run this and Big Year in parallel and I have videos to edit and upload and we know they take forever on YouTube and I want them in sequence with the narrative if I can.


So some initial thoughts on my trip 'planning' to keep it current. I am the type who buys plane tix 330 days out and then fits a trip into that window. This was a sea change for me. I am still not sure what happened.

Obviously from the reports kindly posted already I had no qualms as to choice of 'Agent' and got nothing but willing help from Jeanette and Svein at Arctic Wildlife Tours. I was also pre-programmed for a small vessel despite the additional cost and was very pleased that my first choice of 'Malmo' was available.

I had noted the comprehensive kit lists and the comments on Muck Boots and all the protective gear recommended and visible in reports. That is just not me and I had concerns that my normal attire of Red Bandana and Boots would leave me a bit 'exposed' but I really did not want to drag a whole wardrobe of stuff along.

An old friend once remarked that he planned his packing by loading his case with what he felt was the minimum he would need. He then took out about half and left it at home. It works for me too.:)

NB. I am not advocating going ill equipped to either the Arctic or the Equator. You must choose for yourselves but Lady G and I can cope for weeks with one bag each which when weighed in at the airport hit the scales at around 13Kg.

So what goes in? Well two sets of spare undergarments, two spare pairs of socks, shirts and such like. Shaving gear (for me not her:o) and toiletries. We use 'cubes' as containers. Sweater/Jumper and maybe a fleece. Stout boots and outdoor socks. I used to advocate wearing them to avoid loss but airport security is a big enough P.I.A. now that I decline to feed their habit. I pack em and wear flip flops. Leather belt with buckle is packed and I keep my kecks up with a plastic belt with plastic buckle  fashioned from camping straps. A towel and some plastic bags for laundry. That's it.

I have a very small carry on size Camera case with camera and binoculars, spare batteries and charger. Adapter for plug sockets.  SD cards in a little baggie. Travel Docs, cash and cards and papers in the front folder. I have no ambition to win 'young wildlife photographer of the year' (I would be disqualified by being too young anyway) so a One lens fits all "Bridge Camera" works for me. Lap tops are also a pain in security so with no interweb access on Malmo I left my netbook at home. Photo Back up was to be multiple cards swapped out at intervals.

As specials for this trip I did carry a full set of thermals and a couple of extra layers and took the outer covering of the fleece (not worn since Ladakh) to keep out wind or spray.

In the event I borrowed a pair of wellies for shore landings from the Zodiac and that was all I was really short of. Of course this was August and despite the latitude and ice the sun was quite hot at times. I would not need exposure suits and indeed I doubt I would have gone at a time when they were needed.

I will do a brief report of how things worked in practice at the end but the only thing I omitted to pack was a universal sink plug.  Never mind global warming that young Swedish lass should campaign to save water by fitting plugs to all basins and make stealing them a capital offence.:angry:

More to follow.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pt 2.b.


Well that was a bit dry having been done Ad hoc whilst Video 1 was uploading.

On 8/18/2022 at 9:48 PM, TonyQ said:

Wow, that was a surprise!

For me more than many others. :blink:


So where was I? Oh yes, Days 3 and 4.



Well after a strange night when it never got dark it was up and time for a look around this town. I had not been able to book Oddgeir as the recommended guide and Fox Whistler and did not care for ‘Better moments’ as tested by @kittykat23uk so I was very much on my own. Had I known then what I subsequently found out after the voyage, the Tourist Information stock a very nice little booklet called Svalbard Fugler or Svalbard Birds. A field guide with locations around the area where good birding can be had. There is even a hide (blind) that at the time I would have loved to have known about.


1-DSCN7928.JPG.24a5aec3d5e15a07faa0829685dd2f57.JPGLongyearbyen Town Centre and Advent valley.

So I just followed the road east along the river valley, meeting some very aggressive Arctic Terns on the edge of town and eventually found Barnacle Geese.


Arctic Terns in standby mode.


Leucistic Barnacle. Adventdal marshes.

I was interested in the Barnacles from Svalbard as they fly south to the area just north of where I live although over 16 miles of Solway coast separate us. And don’t be fooled that this is a Snow Goose. It is a leucistic Barnacle Goose. Not an albino but simply without pigmentation.

I passed the smelly and noisy Dog Kennels and arrived at one of the iconic road signs warning us not to proceed further because of Bears. Well they have similar signs in African covering everything from Warthogs to Elephant so why not Polar Bears?



I also photo some Purple Sandpipers, two of which had ID flags on their legs. One is a young bird of 2021 but KAP is a male of over 13 years old having been ringed by my informant on 31st August 2010.



Purple Sandpiper. Longyearbyen river estuary.


One year old leg.


13 year old leg.

That night I caused a bit of a stir in the Restaurant as I had seen two Arctic Skuas (Jaegers) resting nearby and thinking they may be gone by the end of my dinner I went out and took a couple of photos for my collection as, although they were not ‘lifers’, the opportunity of a close up shot was too good to pass up.


1-DSCN7932.JPG.2132f4f39fff4744a284d654480cb895.JPGArctic Skua posing near Mary Ann's Polarrig.

Next day was the same formula and I had arranged to meet up with a fellow Passenger, Jorun,  who was also staying at Mary Ann’s Polarigg and share a taxi to join Malmo at 16.00. So that was my first stay in Longyearbyen and we boarded Malmo on time and found my cabin.



Malmo awaits her next passengers.




My home for the next ten days. Quite OK for one.

We sailed at around 18.15 down the Fjord to seek out our first wildlife.




Well we failed on the bear that was said to be around but I got this Puffin for my Big Year score.



Atlantic Puffin.







After our first dinner we continued north east into a fjord and sighted our first Reindeer and then a small pod of Beluga, White Whales and very shy so this is the best I got



To bed in my nice Cabin and I did not take much rocking to sleep to the throb of the mighty engine of Malmo as we moved through what was technically ‘night’ but up in this latitude the sun will not set again until sometime in September.

More to follow.....


Edited by Galana
Course correction North east not South west. Whatever next?
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Off to a good start! I'm pretty sure I mentioned the bird hide in my report and I recall seeing photos of it in someone else's recent report, so you didn't pay close enough attention :)  Granted, it is pretty hard to find if you don't know where it is, easy to walk right by it.  It is also marked on the town map which our hotel provided.  For future reference :) Of course when we were there we didn't see a single bird from it as everything right in front was completely frozen over!




Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, janzin said:

I mentioned the bird hide in my report and I recall seeing photos of it in someone else's recent report, so you didn't pay close enough attention :)

Story of my life. If I go back, and I may without the cruise part, I will make sure to use it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

wow, an impulsive trip from the ever prepared @Galana! who would have thought but polar bears have a strange effect on people.:lol:


I'm having fun, as always with your TRs and BYs, with a grin and a few chuckles at your adventures, but it seems that your svalbard trip has not suffered the stuttering starts in the others' earlier trips (touch wood, but then your trip is over). 

More please, soon! and i'm very very jealous of the Beluga which we totally missed in the arctic. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, Kitsafari said:

but polar bears have a strange effect on people.:lol:

True. I have been fascinated with the IceBear almost my whole life. Grandfather was a Zookeeper with bears as his section and I got 'special privileges' when staying with him as a small boy in the days long before modern safety rules were heard of.


Pleased to read that you are enjoying my reports. I can confirm that we had no hang ups on this trip. The major problem being that just as chef had made a delicious Creme Brulee for dessert we ran into a 'bit of a swell' and the ensuing ship's roll caused it to slop out of the dishes.:angry:

Svalbard is very good for Beluga. We actually saw a small school from the airport whilst waiting for the bus.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Days 5 & 6.   or perhaps 4th and 5th August would be clearer?

It works for me.



After a decent sleep I woke at what should have been ‘crack of dawn’ but there ain’t no dawn to crack up here and won’t be for some weeks yet.                                                                                                           .1-DSCN8041.JPG.c864245375ecb57d7be7edda35628170.JPG

The poor bears must need counselling. No Dawn or Dusk and no woods to relieve themselves in.



Well if Dawn had been around she would have found us more or less heading north  and trundling along at 7 knots up Forlandsunde. This strait is quite shallow in places so cannot be used by larger vessels and the sandy/gravel banks are much loved by the increasing numbers of Walrus.

1-DSCN8044.JPG.6d405519dd2ee6796dbe5cfa4ac7996d.JPGI also spotted two Minke Whales in the calm waters where we are already encountering some ice.

1-DSCN8059.JPG.0aec55a6b9a856968cdefa6af69f9fc4.JPGWe anchor in a fjord under some cliffs that are home to 1,000s of Kittiwakes and Guillimots.




And these attract predators who await the unfortunate nestlings when they make their jump for the sea. Sadly we are too late in the year for Arctic Foxes in their lovely white coats as by now they are in summer ‘blue’.


1-DSCN8132.JPG.dcc08b63630b535803874f8e9ac14c29.JPGNot that this is any comfort for the poor Brunich’s Guillimot who is now going to feed some young cubs nearby. Some of the ice floes make strange shapes as they weather down but I draw the line at Fox Graffiti.                                                              1-DSCN8143.JPG.8e0bdee5b9a999acda2311a091fd5258.JPG



Next morning (5th) it is another lovely day and before breakfast I amuse myself on watch for bears and whales by snapping flocks of Auks passing by.

1-DSCN8173.JPG.ab5c5c4be529c796e295f33cea54829c.JPG The morning is spent exploring and admiring the splendid scenery and flora of the area. One would pay a small fortune for beds of Moss Campion like these. Silene acaulis . Sometimes called the Compass plant as the flowers appear on the south facing side first but good gardeners can fool it by placing mirrors around it to get an all over cover of blooms.                                                                                                    1-DSCN8195.JPG.2fcb2b782691314faa79401179ac131f.JPG

The scenery that we now pass through is getting even more beautiful if that is possible and that is coming from a Philistine who refers to Sossusvlei as ‘piles of sand’. Svalbard is not just about bears.




I think we must have moored up for lunch in Kongsfjord to seek bears as my next shots were taken as we set off in the Zodiacs to reconnoitre when were able to approach this Bearded Seal quite closely without disturbing it.




Whilst still unsure of our exact location we took the Zodiacs in close to a large glacier which was calving steadily and found the resultant floes very popular with Arctic Terns and Kittiwakes as resting places for catching fish disturbed by the mini Tsunamis of an ice fall.                                                                  1-DSCN8311.JPG.e53433e7d064f546857f6f2ef1903ed2.JPG1-DSCN8312.JPG.53215cf22e6f182b3c2fe17dff60ebb1.JPG1-DSCN8333.JPG.e900d83069cf6e01921565e78d1a5e6b.JPG1-DSCN8323.JPG.cfc0b156a3f96514da0da7a8918d032b.JPG

Black-legged Kittiwake.


Arctic Terns in Arctic conditions.

We moved off over night in order to be at some place early next morning where we hoped to find at least a glimpse of the so far elusive Ice bear. At dinner we had been instructed to be ready at 04.00 next morning.

A good spot to end today with a shot that greeted us when coming on deck just before 04.00 kitted for the Zodiacs.                                                       1-DSCN8369.JPG.8c8c3f07d126c15b3ec8d02ee67c538e.JPG


Not one but TWO Polar Bears.

Edited by Galana
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6th– 7th August.     Now just morning of 6th.:o

It is getting really hard to put this into a sensible report principally because other than guess work based on ‘time and distance’ I have not a clue as to where we were/are other than about 80 north and varying degrees east. I think we may be in Liefdefjorden having sailed around the north west capes during the night.



Then of course how does one compress the excellent sighting that awaited us on deck at 03.52 and lasted almost 8 hours into a few photographs for this report and not get overkill? I know some of my fellow pax spent hours if not days deleting the results of their darn machine gun multi shots. I can show some early build up of the morning’s activity before I switched to video as the easiest way to record what took place.

So here goes.

As instructed we manned the Zodiacs at about 04.00 and headed for the shore where not one but two Polar Bears were scavenging a walrus carcase. Bears are hungry at this time as their main prey, Seals, are far off on the pack ice which leaves scant pickings for bears on solid ground. They lose a lot of weight during this fast and subsist on their fat reserves until the ice returns. Females of course must find enough food for both themselves and for any cubs that are not yet fully weaned and this is what we found here.



Our early views were of the two original bears picking over the carcase but further inland we could see what turned out to be a female with two well grown but still sub adult cubs.



Even further inland, you can just make it out in the far distance in some of the video clips, was a sixth bear but it showed no inclination to join in the party. This was a SIX bear site. There is not much one can do to project a story here so I just did what I had come to do and admired the magnificent bears and took more photographs. Many more than I dare possibly show here.

1-DSCN8427.JPG.d18a4988bf12e3c9ca16d04d30825c6b.JPGBut keeping an eye on the female I was able to record their interaction and on one occasion she suckled them and then, when she obviously felt it was their turn to try the carcase, I was able to record their approach.

1-DSCN8658.JPG.90f84fe74c12726819871a9e0dde9c77.JPGThe bears ‘in possession’ did not concede the walrus so she settled down to wait with her cubs which made for some cute “Awwww” moments to anyone with a heart.


At some stage we returned to Malmo for breakfast and returned with anyone interested for another sighting, bringing along two crew, Priscila and Sarah, so they could share the viewing too..






Eventually the female gained possession and the cubs feasted too until satiated when they all lay down to sleep it off. More “Aaaaws”. Go on admit it!




I have a feeling that all these five bears were somehow related as otherwise they simply would not have tolerated each other’s company in such close proximity for so long.  Look in the second video at the way Mum ran off the last defender of the carcase without a fight. She just exerted her authority and he promptly yielded. So that was eight hours of our first Polar Bears and it was still only ‘lunch time’ and the day had more to show us. To be honest this one sighting would have been more than enough to justify my wishes and if we had not seen another bear I could not have complained.


Here are the links to the videos. About ten minutes running time each.

Polar Bears 1      https://youtu.be/IFc55J1esQ0
Polar bears 2     https://youtu.be/PsNKv_yHnls
Polar Bears 3 

I honestly think I must split 6th of August into two parts or it will take too long even for those hungry for more.

AND there is more to come for just the one day. Part 3 b follows after the videos...

Edited by Galana
amended text as some photos failed to upload.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 bears at once? That seems just greedy... I agree that the one sighting would be enough to justify the trip! 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

An amazing sighting, great photos and videos (the first one won’t open on my iPad, but so and three are fine)

You said you went for breakfast and then returned- did you imply that some people didn’t return? Incredible if so.

Your trip is justified already :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, TonyQ said:

did you imply that some people didn’t return?

I am fairly sure a few did not as otherwise the two crew could not have come along. I may be confused in all the excitement.

Yes. Six bears only four days into the trip would have been more than enough on some trips but without putting in a spoiler, this was not our last encounter or the only mammals on my 'wanted list' that we found.


To continue..

here is the second half of 6th August.

Not as long as I first feared as I can now give space to all of 7th in one fell swoop to get back on track wherever that is.



After lunch and good byes to the Fab five we up anchored and moved a small distance. Possibly to the other side of Liefdefjorden or close by.



There we anchored up and took to the Zodiacs to explore some bird cliffs where 1,000s of Guillemots and Kittiwakes filled the air with their cries as they fed their young perched high on the cliffs.



And as before, where there is prey, as in vulnerable nestlings there are predators. Even Polar Bears have been known to ascend these slopes in search of the local equivalent of McDonalds or KFC (without the sauce of course.)

And so it was.

At least the Foxes were there as well as Glaucous Gulls. All waiting for a take away meal.



1-DSCN8886.JPG.16f2d5d7e10e30cff87c3bbcc2b860c7.JPGAlready on full alert. We actually saw one nestling that had successfully gained the safety of the sea get taken by a gull who took it to land to finish off only to have its prize snatched by a wily fox. It’s a tough old world out here.


Sad that it did nor make it but there are cubs to be fed too.


We concluded this excursion with a trip around some glaciers and the waterfalls they make with melt water.1-DSCN8971.JPG.75ef8409f2c2b577aeb56c636091e695.JPG1-DSCN8974.JPG.14fe1fb8ed199307299551bde91658a1.JPG

After returning to the Malmo for dinner we were told we would sail through the night and next morning we would be well placed for a close encounter of the Walrus kind or maybe a another bear.


The crew set the course east for Lomfjorden as we slept.



That now brings our excellent day to an end.



7th August to follow, with a totally unexpected ending.




Edited by Galana
corrected text
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can't even speak...six bears.... speechless!




Awwwwwww! such cuties!


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dave Williams

What a trip Fred, well done for going for it. Wh dares wins eh!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fantastic sighting of the bears, what a great trip!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks to all following along.


7th August. Started well and finished on a high note.

As foreseen Malmo had sailed further east and from I can work out we were anchored in Lomfjorden as we awoke to a new day. If one can have a ‘new day’ when the last one has just segued into the next with no dark interval to marks its passing.

I am not sure if we had breakfast first before getting in the Zodiac or it was postponed. Memory fails me.


First the 'ladder/landing stage is secured'. And then the Zodiacs follow and into the Zodiacs we went at 08.30 fed or not. The weather was misty and the sea mirror calm as we set off for the dim shape of land. Zodiacs carry homing devices so we were in no danger of failing to find our way back to Malmo should the mist thicken.

But the mist did prevent a landing to see the Walrus colony as it was too dangerous to risk bumping into a mist enshrouded Polar Bear stalking the same walrus that we were. 1-DSCN8980.JPG.3e8d04f5642bc917e7d93233c7aa79eb.JPG1-DSCN8983.JPG.260de1f8a0d260d883dc006ea6e121bf.JPG

Who woke me up?


Thank goodness they are going and we can get some sleep.


So we sailed/cruised around a bit looking at around 20 or so Walrus sporting themselves on the shingle beach and making ‘walrus noises’ which at first we thought were snores but apparently was the scratching of flippers on thick hide. We learned that the formidable tusks reveal whether the bearer are left or right handed, just like elephant, and are not used for feeding as I had thought. They feed on clams sucked out of the sand by those rubbery lips and reserve the tusks for fighting and as an aid to hauling out on ice. We also learned two very interesting other facts on Walrus anatomy but as this is a family friendly forum I will just refer you to ‘Ode to an Oosik’  that makes reference to it and leave you to work this out for yourselves.



After this edifying visit to the Walrus we upped anchor and proceeded on our way passing by various scenic glaciers where we lingered whilst a couple flew their drones despite warning of possible loss when the magnetic interference of the Pole combined with the drones pre-programmed ‘safe return feature’ will cause it to return to its original launch point. As it cannot work out that the ship may have moved and it does not work well as a submarine the device ends up on the sea bed. I heard tell of a skipper of one ship who was running a ‘score’ for lost drones in much the same way as Fighter aces drew little planes by their cockpits to record ‘kills’.

To brighter things. Some of these glaciers are quite magnificent as the following shots, taken from the vessel show. (I hope).


Our cruise east continued as we originally planning to locate near Kapp Laura on the east of Nordauslandett. This involved a long passage along the coast which contains the northern hemisphere’s longest ‘ice barrier with a 160km long ice front over 40 metres high fed by most of the island.


Having been up quite early I had retired to my cabin only to be woken by Metta banging on my door with the news that we had a large pod of Whales feeding just off the boat. So kind! So at around 22.00 I was still in some déshabillé whilst photographing about 50 Humpback whales slowly fishing around the flat calm sea. (I hasten to re-assure those worried about such things that I had covered my modesty by pulling on my waterproof trousers and fleece over my nightwear as I did not wish to arouse any feeling of jealousy or envy amongst other crew or passengers.)


It was amazing to see the large open mouths of these creatures as they surfaced with prey being filtered out by their baleen before being swallowed. And everything appearing in slow motion and synchronised with the other animals in close proximity. A few shots here but I had to revert to video in an attempt to capture the action and accompanying noises of the blowing, seabirds screaming and even the dull thumping of Malmo’s mighty engine.

We had glorious views as the massive animals slowly made off into the ‘sunset’ at midnight.

We were advised that we were diverting from Kapp Laura and heading out east to the lonely island of Kivitoya at 80 North 32 East where we should make landfall around 08.00 next day.

And so it happened just like the Captain said.



Edited by Galana
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What a great report. It's amazing how different the scenery was compared with mid-May when we saw no running water at all. Magical bear encounter.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow. Hope next August with Arctic Wildlife tours proves even half as good as this trip. I could even give up a couple of bears for these whale sightings.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

36 minutes ago, kilopascal said:

Hope next August with Arctic Wildlife tours proves even half as good as this trip.

From what I was given to understand and witnessed there is no reason to think that you will not have as good a time as I did. I hope so. There is more to come.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So I thought I recalled some previous post from you about probably never going to Svalbard. Too cold. Too long in a boat. Yada yada. And indeed there it was June 14 in an @Janzin trip report on Svalbard. So good on ya @Galana.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

Safaritalk uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By using Safaritalk you agree to our use of cookies. If you wish to refuse the setting of cookies you can change settings on your browser to clear and block cookies. However, by doing so, Safaritalk may not work properly and you may not be able to access all areas. If you are happy to accept cookies and haven't adjusted browser settings to refuse cookies, Safaritalk will issue cookies when you log on to our site. Please also take a moment to read the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy: Terms of Use l Privacy Policy