After working through some thick early season pack ice and searching for polar bears, our expedition leader felt that it would be good to see if we could get ashore and go hiking for our last day in Svalbard. The fjord of Hornsund was a good choice. Plan A was to land at a place called Gnålodden, where there is an old trapper hut and an opportunity to explore near some bird cliffs. Alas, the shoreline was completely blocked by a jumble of ice that prevented our Zodiacs from reaching the landing. On to plan B!

A perfect place was found near a point known as Gruspyten. A number of different hikes were offered, from long hikes up the cliffs, to the easiest short hike. A photo hike was well attended, and the highlight was the ability to get close to the Körberbreen glacier. A bonus was the calm winds, so it felt surprisingly warm on shore.

A second landing in the afternoon was not far from the morning’s landing, but with some chilly winds. Moments before the guests were due to begin disembarkation, a large group of Beluga whales appeared a few hundred yards from National Geographic Resolution!

All in all, our last day in the Svalbard Archipelago was a great way to end this chapter of our expedition. And now it’s off to the south to explore the coast of mainland Norway.