80 Degrees North - Pack Ice
After another tasty buffet on board the M/S Quest, it was time to head up to the warmth of the Panorama Lounge to have a coffee, sit in a comfortable chair and enjoy the beautiful view. The pack ice that surrounded us had shades of blue, white and everything in between.
M/S Quest was cruising at 80°N, around Moffen Island, and most of us never been so close to the Geographic North Pole. This mytical point in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. All around us, multiple birds were flying. From Kittywakes to Glaucus Gulls and Black Guillemots which were spotted nearby from time to time, as well as ringed, harped and bearded seals lazying on the ice floe.
The silence of the Arctic was allowing us to hear the sound of the ice pieces moving under the water or colliding with each other nearby. All the sudden, an announce came from throughout of the PA system and the bridge: "Bing, Bong... Walrus at 03 o'clock!". We all grabbed our binoculars and looked to the direction announced. Walruses! 9 of them! Just lying on the ice.
The captain was maneuvering the ship brilliantly in the ice and slowly approached the area. We enjoyed looking at these majestic creatures while finishing our hot “after lunch-drink”. We saw them playing with each other, pushing themselves off the ice floe, cuddling and sleeping.
Later on, the amazing guide Marguerita taught us all we needed to know about them. It was a haul-out of females walruses and calves of different ages, from 2 to 5. What an amazing afternoon full of ice, wildlife and an amazing Arctic scenery.
Please note: We always follow strict wildlife guidelines to ensure that we do not cause any disturbance.
Since 1999, we have taken travellers on once-in-a-lifetime trips to Svalbard. From May to September our three small expedition ships, carrying only 12 and 50 passengers, explore this magnificent Arctic archipelago. Unpredictability and flexibility are the main keywords when you travel with PolarQuest as the exact route depends on weather, ice conditions and wildlife encounters. Sometimes you might be woken up in the middle of the night if a polar bear has been spotted on the ice.