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Svalbard Trip Report


Guest sniktawk
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Guest sniktawk

Svalbard Trip Report

 

This trip was organized by Andy Rouse, and was available by personal invitation only.

 

It goes without saying that the main purpose of these trips is PHOTOGRAPHY.

 

On this trip we used a relatively small vessel MV Stockholm operated by Polar Quest

 

http://www.polar-quest.com/?SID=2&PID=...amp;mode=simple

 

The vessel was exclusively chartered by our group which consisted of 10 customers plus Andy and his girlfriend Carol.

 

The crew is immensely experienced they need to be in these difficult waters.

 

Food was great, accommodation fulfilled the three S standards completely without being ostentatious, and service was as good as you would get anywhere.

 

In addition to the ships crew we had the assistance of Lisa (a Swedish Naturalist), whose knowledge was extremely well appreciated by all!

 

We flew from Heathrow to Oslo (SAS) and on to Longyearbyen the main “city” of Svalbard (Spitsbergen).

 

After a night at the SAS Radisson (not as posh as it may sound, but still nice warm and comfortable) we left the following afternoon to steam north on our first of 14 days

 

This was our first ever “cruise”, so we were interested to see what would occur. Neither of us are “happy” on boats, I in particular have a healthy fear of the sea.

 

There are no “average” days everything is dependant on weather and what is sighted from the vessel either on the ice in the water or on land. At this time of year (early September) it does not really get dark, however this does not guarantee good light.

 

You need to be prepared to be woken at any time of the night or day and try to react as quickly as possible (I failed miserably on several occasions).

 

On our trip we were very lucky to get some amazing Polar Bear sightings either on pack ice from the vessel but also from Zodiacs When viewing from the zodiacs the bears were either on shore or in the water near to shore. As you will see from the pictures you can get quite close, although we were not counting we are told we saw 40 bears!

 

So what else is there? We found two Walrus colonies, lots of seabirds and remarkably a Blue Arctic Fox. Unfortunately the results of my photography on the latter two were diabolical.

 

There is of course masses of ice and mountains rising out of the sea to admire if only for its starkness.

 

Personally I miss trees and other green things.

 

Images from the trip can be seen at the following links, I would like to apologise for the amount of Polar Bears, I got carried away, and no doubt some of them should not be on the site.

 

http://sniktawkwild.zenfolio.com/f539843013

 

 

THE PURPOSE OF THE TRIP WAS TO VIEW POLAR BEAR IN THE WILD, AND HOPEFULLY GET SOME GOOD IMAGES AND VIDEO.

 

WE ARE MORE THAN HAPPY WITH OUR SUCCESS IN ACHIEVING THIS DREAM!!!

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Thanks Sniktawk, I have been waiting to read your report. 40 bears would please me completely.

 

Some absolutely stunning landscapes with the ice, just beautiful. Walrus are interesting but not as appealing as bears to me, but I liked the photo with the walrus showing his long tusks.

 

I don't see any polar bears yet, so perhaps they are still loading.

 

Did Andy Rouse give critiques and tuition as well? What a wonderful experience.

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I'm looking through the bear photos now. Really lovely.

 

Image 30 with the two bears, one with water dripping from his mouth really appeals to me. Image 35 also is wonderful and although I like the cropping I wonder if you have something similar with more of the reflection. But it probably won't look as balanced. Swimming polar bears and the one near the end getting out of the water onto the ice are great. I won't comment on them all, what a great trip it must have been. Thanks for sharing these lovely photos.

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What lovely, lovely pictures. It's impossible to choose a favourite. I would like a whole wall of them!

 

Thankyou, Snitawk.

 

Jan

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What great photos. The scenery is spectacular. It looked like you joined the walrus pod, you were so close. The polar bear shots are outstanding. I like the jump shot and so many nice reflections. Truly a grand collection. Thanks for sharing and no apologies needed.

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[sniktawk Posted Today, 05:06 AM

I would like to apologise for the amount of Polar Bears, I got carried away, and no doubt some of them should not be on the site. /quote]

 

Please, no apologies, Sniktawk. Fabulous images of a beautiful, iconic, and charasmatic animal... You must have been very lucky indeed to see so many of these creatures and get such great captures of them...

 

Cheers,

RickMcK

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Absolutely STUNNING images, truly magnificent.

I love the polar bear shots, sooooo many that are just top notch with great lighting, great composition, great clarity of detail and real charm in the polar bear action. I suggest you consider entering some of them into the top international wildlife photography competitions, I'm sure they would do well.

Some great shots in the other 2 folders too...

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Absoultely fantastic. You're fortunate to be able to see the polar bears in the wild whilst they still have their natural habitat.

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Thanks, sniktawk. Lovely bears! I hope you didn't get too seasick.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest sniktawk

A quick but belated thank you to those who enjoyed the images.

 

 

Nyamera,

 

Only one bout of seasickness (my first ever) on the last day, so I must not complain!

 

PT 123

The potential good news is that this year the ice has not melted and has in fact increased. Fingers crossed!

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The potential good news is that this year the ice has not melted and has in fact increased. Fingers crossed!

 

That is some positive news!

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Good news about the relative lack of sea sickness and the relative increase in ice.

 

This past summer in Wisconsin was the coolest one in most people's memories. Very pleasant. Maybe all part of the same system. Not writing this to pooh pooh global warming. It wasn't cool all over.

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I think this report is lost in the "off topic" section. I vote that this be moved to "Trip Reports" ...... the images are fabulous, and only warrants a wider audience.

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