This morning at 7:00 am was noticeably darker than days before. One reason for that was the grey sky, however it wasn’t the main one. The days are getting shorter and shorter very fast at this latitude and this time of a year. The sea was rough, but not too much, wind 4 knots, and a scouting party was sent ashore of the Blomsterbugten, a little bay within the Kaiser Franz Joseph Fjord System. This fjord is a part of the Northeast Greenland National Park, the largest national park in the world. Three morning activities were offered for the guests, including long and medium hikes as well Zodiac cruises. The geology of the surrounding cliffs and mountain slopes was quite spectacular. Thousands of red, yellow, brown and dark-grey layers filled all the space between the sea water level and the clouds. The hikers had opportunities to watch a couple of Arctic hares that already changed their coats to the winter ones. A family of muskoxen were observed and photographed at a close distance. Meanwhile, the wind and corresponding waves were getting stronger, and the Zodiac cruising was a memorable event for those guests who had chosen this activity.
As lunch was being served, the wind picked up to 70 knots per hour (126 km/h) and, as our Captain Oliver reported to us at the evening recap, the wind was gusting to only a fraction below 100 knots per hour (180 km/h). This was the record wind speed for this ship so far! The wind was raising billions of sea water droplets that reflected the sun light and created a rainbow just along the sea surface. The ship showed no deviation from the intended route, but the captain made an announcement advising guests not to go on the open decks to be safe. From inside, the storm was quite special to watch, as the sky was blue and sun was shining during it.
In the late afternoon, naturalist Jim Wilson made an excellent presentation overviewing bird migrations and the ways they were studied.