Posted by: tim ellis | July 24, 2016

Svalbard – Sunday 24th July 2016 – Smeerenberg

The Serinissima

According to last night’s briefing, we were due to sail at around 5:30 this morning to arrive in the next fjord over breakfast, so it’s a bit of a surprise to discover we are still in the same place we were last night. Pierre makes an announcement in the restaurant: – (1) The PA is not working, and (2) There has been a change of plan. We are going to do a zodiac tour straight after breakfast to see the walrus here. No sooner are we all ready to go when the walrus decide to take off, so we revert back to plan A. – At least the PA gets fixed (It turns out that one of the wires had come loose).


On the voyage up, an announcement is made that some Beluga have been sighted off the Port bow. We rush forward to see . . . nothing; they are now astern on the Starboard side. We race back around the ship to see blows, and some rolling backs as they disappear behind us.

When we arrive at Smeerenberg there are five Walrus backed up on the beach, so we will get our Walrus encounter after all. Or at least, we hope so, as they retreat into the water as soon as the first zodiac comes ashore. Fortunately they hang around wallowing in the shallows, so everyone gets the chance to see them. Also here is the northernmost colony of Harbour Seal, which also retreat to the water as soon as the first boat approaches, but again don’t go far, and they soon return to basking.


There is also plenty of bird life on the beach. Lots of Arctic Tern, who are busy trying to chase us off, and some Red Throated Divers, which in keeping with the theme, fly off when we approach.

The weather has clouded over when we get to this afternoons site at Raudfjord, where we are doing a zodiac cruise (no landing) to see the glacier. On the way out we manage to find some Arctic Fox – pale adults and darker cubs. We cruise through the Ice, returning to the ship as it starts to rain.

Arctic Fox

From here we are heading North to the sea ice, which we should reach tomorrow morning. The exact program will then depend on what we see, and what conditions are like when we get there


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