Holy macaroni, what a spectacular day! We were woken from our morning slumber by the now familiar sound of ice gently clunking along the hull. What an incredible feeling to wake up, knowing that you are well and truly in the habitat of the lords of the arctic! Eager eyes were up and searching on the bridge bright and early, looking for hints of off white (translucent) fur. Shortly after breakfast, Captain Aaron Wood’s eagle eyes spotted a large male polar bear on an isolated ice floe, eagerly attending to his recent hunting success.
For over an hour, we had a stunning view as the large, healthy bear carefully feasted on the blubber of his bearded seal prey. We were so lucky to have such a clear view, and everyone captured both fantastic memories and phenomenal photographs.
After a delicious lunch, we approached the coast of Storøya: a small island, predominantly covered in ice, located in the northeast of the Svalbard archipelago. Here we planned an afternoon Zodiac cruise, hoping to spot some wildlife. We were utterly thrilled to encounter about 100+ walrus spread out in small groups amongst the broken ice floes. The wind was calm, the light was golden, and everything was perfect for an intimate encounter with these magnificent beasts. Mothers with young calves were spotted, and it was utterly enchanting to see them in a moment of sweet, snuggly rest on the ice. Our local Norwegian guide, Carl Erik Kilander (who just happens to have been raised by walrus), noted it was the most memorable walrus encounter he had experienced.
The evening meal was enjoyable as always, thanks to our wonderful team of chefs. After dinner was punctuated by the spotting of another two polar bears ahead of the ship. I don’t think we could have asked for a more perfect day.