We started the day by exploring the sea ice edge west of Banks Island in the Northwest Territories of Canada. This area is known for having some of Earth’s thickest multiyear sea ice. The local polar bear population utilizes the large, multiyear ice floes as platforms for hunting. It is the only known population where pregnant female polar bears use the large floes as a denning ground.
We eagerly explored the region in search of wildlife. The morning program entailed scouting for wildlife and listening to two excellent presentations by our highly knowledgeable naturalists. The first presentation was by naturalist Eric Guth on, “Meet the North: Life in the Arctic, One Introduction at a Time.” This was followed by a highly informative presentation on an overview of tundra ecosystems with naturalist Doug Gaultieri.
By midafternoon, visibility improved, and we spotted a female polar bear and cub on an ice floe not far from the ship. We spent the afternoon watching polar bears in the area and were able to capture some excellent images from the outer decks of National Geographic Resolution. Teatime and sushi on deck 8 in Tupaia seemed to coalesce perfectly with polar bear viewing. We wound down the day with another excellent presentation by naturalist Elise Lockton on the history of Herschel Island, the perfect precursor to tomorrow’s activities. We enjoyed views of the sea ice and closed out the evening with another entertaining and informative recap and briefing on tomorrow’s activities.