After setting sail last night we travelled throughout the night south to reach Hornsund the Southern most fjord in Spitsbergen. At 6am there was an announcement that there was a feeding frenzy in front of the ship involving Fin whale, Humpback, Dolphin and 1000’s of Kittiwake. The surface of the sea was teaming with activity for at least 60 minutes. Great start to the Expedition. To reach Hornsund we had to motor until 1pm when we set anchor is the Picturesque Bay of Brepollen the location of the Storbreen Glacier. Cruising by Zodiac in the afternoon we spotted a white figure in the distance towards to glacier. Polar bear alert – our first view. A young 3 / 4 year old bear. A welcome sight on only our first day. It’s suprising how speedy it swam after diving in the water from the iceberg to seek a peaceful position right under the Glacier. Incredible sight and whilst it sunbathed we had to pinch ourselves as we enjoyed the show of several carvings from the glacier with dramatic sounds of thunder as they ripped away from the main glacier creating tsunami. Yet another lucky strike, several Ivory Gulls feeding and resting in the bay apparently a rare but lucky afternoon and we felt blessed on our first afternoons expedition out on Zodiacs.
My colleague Steve promised instant wildlife hit and he was right compared to Antarctica where you also experience up front wildlife but not in close succession – maybe it’s just our luck, let’s see. The weather has been very kind so far and although it’s been around 7 Degrees most of the day the sun has shone and it’s been warm and clear. The scenery has much in common with The Antarctica Peninsula so far although the seas have been flat and calm which I have no complaints over. No need to sea sickness medication yet. The guides on board are top notch, experienced, friendly and delighted to share their expert knowledge. The Published Frank Todd gave a lecture this morning on Spitsbergen wildlife which was entertaining and a first class introduction to the wildlife we can expect to see If we’re lucky!