Adventures on the Arctic (part 3)
It is the 26th of July and we are sailing along the waters of Hinlopenstreet. The Captain is behind the wheel and most of us are on the bridge or outside on bow deck. We are enjoying the view and the ship sailing along the cold waters, while suddenly, on the cold arctic waters we see what its know to be the largest animal ever to have lived on earth- making an appearance to the surface exhaling air out of its blowhole. There were two blue whales swimming close to the ship. The light of the midnight sun was reflecting on their blue-grey skin and the small fin just emerging from the waters.
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Early the next morning, the expedition leader announced on cabin speaker that the landing in Utre Norskoya was going to be postponed because there were polar bears (mum and cub) around another little island (Norskoya). So, we abandoned having breakfast and went on to meet them. They were walking around the rocks and also looked a little curious and inquisitive towards us in the zodiacs
That afternoon, we headed to Magdalene Fjord. As we were approaching this magnificent place, I could see the sharp “Pointed Peaks” of the mountains Western Spitsbergen appearing in between the clouds. The ship drops anchor off for some landings.
First, we walked towards a glacier at Gravnesetoden; then we took a shuttle zodiac again to go to Alkenkogen where we hiked a fairly steep cliff to find thousands of little auks gather and nest. It was magical; the birds flying around in groups, their lyrics, the dramatic merengue-whip of pointed mountains with the glacier in the middle as a backdrop, total wilderness. This was pure nature and pure bliss, another big highlight for me.
That night, at the foot of the majestic glacier of Magdalene Fjord and with steaming mulled wine, we celebrated the incredible days of nature discoveries and adventures into the wild
The following day, we walk around the silent remains of the whaling stations that worked in the 1600s, the same spot spot where the Swedish Andree set off on his balloon expedition to the North Pole in 1897.
It was a beautiful sunny morning. I woke up to see from my porthole window the huge Lilliehookbreen Glacier. Senses already tuned into appreciate the incredible scenery and the beauty of those blocks of ice reflecting in crystal clear waters.
It’s also our last day and to complete the polar experience, we take some courage and plunge into the freezing waters of the Lilliehookbreen. The water was really really freezing and I quickly went back to the ship and straight to the comfort of the sauna. Only that could revive my frozen lips and shaking legs, it was so cold but what a good feeling afterwards. I felt renewed physically and mentally.
Back in Longyearbyen, after an amazing expedition cruising around Svalbard I feel I am a different person. T.S. Elliot expresses this better: “We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time”.
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