Bear Island & Pack Ice
Read about our travellers early-morning adventure on Bear Island and the wildlife they experienced during their trip towards Svalbard with M/S Stockholm.
Wednesday, 17th May 2017
Woken up in the middle of the night we could see the southern cliffs of Bear Island. As the forecast had promised the wind speed had picked up and we were deciding to try for a landing at the southwestern side of the island, boarding our Zodiac at 2.45 am. Two possible landing sites proved too rough once we gave them a closer look, but at our third location we were finally succeeding and had the chance for an extended walk on this remote place. Vast snowfields showed us that spring time was yet to come, still, astonishing numbers of different geese, fulmars, common eiders and kittiwakes were already present in the vicinity. Heading back to the M/S Stockholm we were cold but happy to have landed at this unbelievable remote place.
We moved on the Western coast of Bjørnøya and headed for the North in order to find the pack ice of the North and leeside from the wind. Just after lunch we arrived in the ice between Bjørnøya and Spitsbergen, and here we were spotting hundreds and hundreds of harp seals lying on ice floes with their young pups. They congregate in huge numbers to give birth, but spend only about two weeks with their young before they all disperse again – a privilege to see this brief moment. We spent the whole afternoon and evening long the ice edge scouting for more wildlife and finally parked our vessel in the ice with the engine turned off.
Travelling through the stunning Norwegian coastal landscape on a small expedition cruise ship is simply hard to beat. Lofoten islands welcome with picturesque fishing villages, squeezed between soaring mountains and quiet fjords. In wintertime Tromsø offers magnificent sceneries over dramatic landscapes and great chances to spot both orcas and humpback whales. If we’re lucky we will also see the magical Northern Lights dancing in the sky. Join us on an unforgettable cruise!
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.