Blue whales, belugas and the King of the Arctic - What a start!
PolarQuest's guides blogs from their incredible expeditions in Svalbard. Below, you can read about M/S Quest’s amazing wildlife encounters with belugas, blue whales and polar bear on the 15th of July.
We boarded Quest after a visit at the museum where we learned about Svalbard’s history and nature. M/S Quest left the harbour at 17.00 and after dinner we already had an encounter with the largest animal of the planet - the blue whale. Two adults and a calf gave us a good show. The whales were so close that we could hear them blowing out the air. We saw the big blows, the flukes, the feeding and even some breaching! They were around the ship for at least 45 minutes.
After this excitement most of us went to bed, but in front of Poolepynten one of the guests saw a polar bear in front of the walruses that hauled out on the beach. We decided to go out with the Zodiacs to check out the polar bear. The bear walked along the beach to the North, and we all got a very good view of the King of the Arctic. After a while we decided to go back to the ship and at that moment the bear laid down, looked at us and it seemed like he also needed a sleep.
In the morning, while a lot of us were taking a shower before breakfast, there was the lovely voice of our expedition leader again with more wildlife news. Belugas on the southern shore of Kongsfjorden, a new species just before breakfast! Next stop, Ny-Ålesund and there we saw reindeer, lots of birds and got to hear a lot about history and science in Ny-Ålesund. In the afternoon we had a nice walk on Ossian Sarsfjellet, where we saw more reindeers and we also spotted some Arctic foxes.
We were very lucky to have experienced all this within 24 hours!
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 53 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.