Sublime Svalbard Part 1

November 18, 2016  •  4 Comments

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Sublime Svalbard

(Part 1)

This is a land so wild and beautiful it will challenge your image of the world and may change you forever. So raw and real that it makes the “real world” that most of us live in seem fake and artificial. 

What a privilege to be able to explore this overwhelmingly beautiful wilderness with just 11 other traveller, 2 guides and 5 crew on our expedition ship the Polaris I. We boarded the ship in Longyearbyen, the world’s most northern city….it has a rather frontier and quirky feel to it, added to by the signs asking you to leave your guns outside the supermarket, not to park your dogs here and do not leave the city without a gun…..!

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As we boarded the Polaris I the excitement of all on board was palpable! Everyone in our small group quickly got to know each other, despite our introductions being interrupted by our first polar bear sighting! None of us could contain ourselves and we all piled outside onto the deck to admire the female and juvenile bears quietly resting in the golden light of evening. 

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(Not sure you’d be wanting to leave the safety of this holiday cabin any time soon if you were inside!)

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This was followed by the most incredible polar sunset (well the sun never really set at all but there sure was a light show as it dipped towards the horizon around 11pm!).

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As we continued on our expedition, wonderful moments beyond measure or description followed......

When we woke in Magdalena Fjord to a misty snowy morning which cloaked the mountains and laid an air of magic and mystique over the glorious fjord......

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As some of us soaked up the atmosphere and admired the delicately beautiful star-like snowflakes falling around us our 3rd polar bear was sighted! The bear was making his way along the shoreline right by our boat and we all watched in awe and wonder as the huge white bear ambled over the jumbled rocks by the ship and eventually disappeared over the ridge in front of us (see footnote re bear at the end of part 2). 

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Using the zodiacs we landed on a spit of sand to visit a large ugly of Walrus basking in the sun (yes, the collective noun for a group of walrus really is an ‘ugly’!!). These cantankerous creatures would intermittently rear up and ‘peck’ at one another with their tusks and some rolled down the beach into the water when they needed to cool off (or scratch!). 

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Later some walruses swam along with us while we were in the zodiacs, close enough to touch, curious, brave and so agile and confident in the water.

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Even the crew were excited when we saw a blue whale and her calf gliding through the water, even the calf was far bigger than our ship! Usually once they dive you do not see them again for 20 minutes, if at all, but these whales fluked and dove many times, perhaps the mother was teaching her baby to dive? An absolutely magnificent sight, especially against the glorious background of pristine snow covered mountains in the distance. Something that I never thought I would be lucky enough to see but that will remain in my memory forever.

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We were able to experience the incredible sights and sounds of huge glaciers calving with the booming thunder and enormous splashes!

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The serenity and beauty of the magical Arctic land and seascape was astounding.

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More about this incredible adventure in part 2!

 


Comments

Liz(non-registered)
Fantastic story and photos Sarah. Happy reminder of such a wonderful time that we shared on the Polaris...thanks for sharing.
rozzie.aussie(non-registered)
Fabulous description of the beginning of our trip, Sarah!
gary & renee(non-registered)
Wonderful talent you display with that camera, Sarah!
Gianni(non-registered)
Please don't park your dog here... fantastica
Apre scenari immaginari di fiabe artiche
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