Encounters with big, wild animals
Our guides are blogging from our expedition ships in Svalbard, and this time can you read about the adventures our travellers got to experience with Sea Endurance on Saturday the 19th of August.
In the early morning we passed through the narrow straight called Sørgattet with quite bad visibility to start with, but after a while with great views over the mighty mountains and glaciers at the end of the fjord. And all of a sudden, just before breakfast, someone shouted "polar bear!". And there it was, the impressive king of the Arctic, not one but two, close to a whale carcass on the beach. It was a stranded sperm whale that had attracted the bears, and we got very close to one of the bears because of the excellent maneuvering by the captain.
After breakfast we made a landing at Virgohamna and Smeerenburg, two historically very interesting places, when it comes to exploration and whale hunting. We also saw lots of wildlife on these spots; harbour seals and walruses were both laying on the beaches and we could approach both groups of animals very close. We did one final landing at the barren but beautiful Alicehamna, where we split up into different groups to go for a hike on the tundra. Some of us saw the very rare blue Arctic fox on their hike. During recap and dinner we where sailing even further north and crossed the 80 parallel during night. As a perfect ending of a fantastic day we spotted a blue whale in the waves off the northern coast of Spitsbergen. The largest animal in the world, only a few meters away from the boat!
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.