Searching for shelter
We woke up early morning due to rough sea. We were facing the swells on the SouthWest side of Spitsbergen, aiming at the fjord called Hornsund. The ship M/S Quest, does incredible in conditions like these.
M/S Quest was breaching through the waves, steadily steered by our handsome Viking Captain, Hordur. An experienced man that has seen a lot of weather like this before. Guests were out on the open decks, experiencing the cold winds whipping their freshly woken and tired faces. There were a lot of smiles (and windblown hair) at breakfast.
Our plan A was to land at Gnålodden, a point with an incredible steep but beautiful bird cliff and then land in Vestre Burgerbukta in the afternoon. But since strong eastern winds were raging through Hornsund, a landing at Gnålodden was simply impossible. So we decided to go for planB, which was to land at Burgerbukta first, since this bay is more protected.
We were right. The bay was calm (but still windy) and good enough to lower Zodiacs.
We did a beautiful little hike that took us up a little hill with a good view of a glacier front called “Kvalfangerbréen”.
Here we also got “attacked” by nesting terns, a feisty little bird protecting their nests (even though the nests were hundreds of meters away…).
In the afternoon the wind had died down, but was still questionable. So to make sure we did the right decision, all guides lowered a Zodiac and checked the landing conditions at Gnålodden. After just 5 minutes we returned to the ship, soaking wet down to our very skin. We had obviously reached a decision.
Facing the winds again, we aimed for a Samarinvågen - a bay on the other side of Hornsund. Hopefully we would find shelter there. We found more than shelter! We also found 2 humpback whales!
The whales were calm and curious, and came close to the ship, just 30 meters away.
We spent the evening in this bay, enjoying the beautiful glaciers, tall peaks, calm weather (finally) and a barbecue on deck. Another of those days where you go to bed with the belly full of butterflies after an eventful day.
Please note: We always follow strict wildlife guidelines to ensure that we do not cause any disturbance.
M/S Quest 50 passengers12 days 10 nights on ship USD 8 390LanguagesDeparture: July 2024Special lecturer on board
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.