National Geographic Endurance started the day by entering the Freemansund Strait between Barentsøya and Edgeøya Islands. This narrow strait was chosen by our expedition leader for its high-density ice cover and because it led to the eastern side of the Svalbard archipelago where fast ice was mapped. At 6:30 am, the first polar bear of the day was spotted swimming north. On the shore, he was followed by a second bear a few minutes later. What a great sighting to start the day.
In the late morning, we kept heading north. Entering fast ice, we spotted our first bearded seal enjoying a sunbath. Several walruses joined the party to take advantage of the great weather.
In addition to amazing wildlife observations, we observed landscapes made of incredibly scenic layers of sedimentary rock that is several hundreds of millions of years old. Meanwhile, we headed into the fast ice. Our afternoon ice landing allowed us to admire ice ridges made by the collision of ice plates!