Alkefjellet & ice cruise
PolarQuests's are blogging from Sea Endurance. Please read an excerpt from the expedition cruise the 24th May - 1 June.
When we woke up, Alkefjellet appeared through our windows. The weather was absolutely excellent. The sea was calm and had a deep dark grey colour and at the surface there was a lot of white contrasting sea ice. We went for a cruise along Alkefjellet, an experience we will never forget. The impressive vertical cliffs raised high above our heads. This place is considered one of the most beautiful bird cliffs in Europe and an estimated 60 000 pairs of Brünnich’s guillemot are nesting here. The volcanic dolomite rose in dark columns and the intrusive light limestone lied horizontal in the bottom and at the top of the bedrock. Svalbard really is a geologist´s Eldorado! Before we knew it the bridge had spotted a polar bear on the pack ice and quicker than ever we were back at the ship to have a closer look at the bear. She was hunting for seals and it was eventually successful! And then, as this wasn’t enough, we saw another polar bear in the far distance. With this very satisfying morning behind us we set sail again. In the afternoon we enjoyed a stunning cruise among the sea ice. We explored the ice and enjoyed the silence. A brave bunch of us also explored the sea ice by standing on top of it. We cruised through the ice like in a labyrinth and we could see how large some of the icebergs were underneath the surface. Back on the ship it was time for a refreshing polar plunge. An impressive number of us went in! It was minus 1.5 degrees Celsius in the water and the air temperature was 0 degrees! While we continued the voyage in the evening we had the pleasure to get company by a fin whale, the second largest whale species. It can be up to 24 meters long and its streamlined body makes it a relatively quick swimmer.
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 51 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.