Ice, ice, baby…Today was all about ice. Just before breakfast, we spotted three walruses hauled out on an ice floe, quite a different sighting from the walruses hauled out on land the day before. Afterward, we entered Freemansundet, a narrow strait between Edgeøya and Barentsøya. In more open areas, the sea was calm and mirrorlike, offering us spectacular reflections of the Arctic landscape. Farther east, the strait was filled with ice, and we spent the morning admiring its beauty. It’s amazing how ice can be so mesmerizing with so many intricate details. Despite our best efforts, we had to turn back since the ice that had filled the strait was too strong, even for a ship as capable as ours.
In the afternoon, we learned a lot about the nature of Svalbard and how it is managed from naturalist Carl Erik. After hours of admiring the ice from the ship, it was time to head to it. We boarded Zodiacs and landed on an ice floe. We were able to wander around and even saw some polar bear prints.
Throughout the day, polar bears teased us with footprints that often showed up on pieces of ice just next to our ship, but they were too shy to reveal themselves to us. After dinner, one of them finally decided to show itself to us by sleeping on a piece of land-fast ice in front of a glacier face. What an amazing backdrop for a nap and a wonderful way to end the day!