Posted by: tim ellis | July 28, 2016

Svalbard – Thursday 28th July 2016 – Isbjørnhamna

Arctic Tern
No fog this morning, although as often seems to be the case, low lying cloud is obscuring the tops of mountains. We sail up the fjord to the glacier at the top end, where we take a zodiac cruise, looking at some interestingly shaped icebergs and the glacier face.  A couple of Ivory Gulls are flying about and there are several Arctic Terns on an iceberg, but little other wildlife.

 Ivory Gull

This afternoon’s excursion is close to a Polish research station, which we see, but do not visit, instead trekking inland up a stony valley to a Little Auk nesting site.  A few people, on looking at the terrain, opt instead for another zodiac cruise – which may have been a good choice on their part, as they get a close encounter with some Beluga. We see them from about a mile away up the hillside, but persuading people the small dots in the photos are really whales may prove tricky!  We do see the Auks in abundance, however, and a couple of reindeer, one quite close and the other on top of the mountain, beautifully silhouetted against the sky.  There is also a very dark Arctic Fox which wanders through the bird colony.
Little Auks at Isbjørnhamna
 

Alex takes us on a “mini cruise” on the way back to the ship, via the glacier in the next bay.  The Beluga were here earlier, but have obviously moved on.  There is a large iceberg which cracks noisily, causing some of the passengers to jump, and a large lump of ice that calves off the glacier before we return to the ship.  The last party who return to the ship reveal that the iceberg has now split into three, with a large piece of ice erupting to the surface close to where we were when we heard it crack!

 Iceberg - Isbjørnhamna

Tonight is the Captain’s farewell dinner, with lots of thanks to all the Crew and Staff.  The desert is listed as “Baked Alaska on Parade” – which turns out to be several baked alaskas, complete with Roman candles and sparklers, leading a parade of all the kitchen and restaurant staff, who get a (well deserved) round of applause.

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