Our course today took us along the wild north coasts of Spitsbergen and Nordaustlandet. We explored the ice-choked entrances of the great fjords and farther south into Hinlopen Strait, which lies between the two largest islands of the archipelago. The icy world of April dominated the landscape with snowbound mountains towering over fjords paved with white plains of frozen ocean. Along the way, we kept a constant lookout for wildlife and found both seals and walruses. Then, in the late afternoon, we spotted our first polar bears, a beautiful mother with two tiny cubs. They had just emerged from their winter den.
National Geographic Endurance
The final day of an expedition is always filled with excitement and anticipation. After an amazing journey all around Svalbard, we were eager to see what we might be able to experience today to round out such a fantastic trip. With some wonderful weather to greet us into the calm waters of the large fjord of western Spitsbergen, Bellsund, we headed out after breakfast from National Geographic Endurance . Our last outing in Svalbard certainly did not disappoint! Not everyone can say they’ve walked along the terminal moraine of a tidewater glacier. On shore, we were treated to stunning views of the large glacier, Recherchebreen, and the surrounding expanse of the fjord. As an extra treat, we took the scenic route back to the ship by way of an impromptu Zodiac cruise, visiting a small haulout of walrus and exploring the glacial lagoon, which offered the chance for a closer view of the glacier face and an appreciation of the sculptures of ice it leaves behind. In between packing and editing photos, our last afternoon onboard included presentations from undersea specialist Rory and polar bear expert Kerstin. Following Captain Aaron Wood’s farewell cocktail party and another excellent dinner by the amazing dining team, our trip would not be complete without one last interruption by wildlife. This time we sighted fin whales out along the deep-water shelf. Then we watched the voyage slideshow put together by our photo instructor, Michael, and reminisced on an incredible trip around Svalbard.