The small hours of the day found us in Lancaster Sound, where we woke up shrouded in fog. Determined not to let the weather get the best of us, we gathered on the bridge and the observation deck above, ready with our binoculars, scopes, and cameras in hand. Our tenacity was soon rewarded as the fog lifted, revealing the calm waters of the sound and the frozen lines of Devon Island to the north, and Baffin Island to the south.
It wasn’t long until the mirror-like surface of the water became peppered with the whimsical shapes of sea ice, which quickly grew in number and size until avoiding them was no longer an option. Fulmars accompanied us on our journey towards Resolute as we pushed through ice. Our luck continued to improve, and just a little after 9:00 a.m., we found the first polar bear of our voyage!
As it relaxed on an ice floe, the bear soon became aware of us. Curious, it started sniffing the air in our direction and even taking a few steps towards National Geographic Endurance. On the ship, passengers, crew, and staff exchanged silent expressions of pure joy and excitement as we observed the bear grow increasingly playful and active. By the time the animal left, our cameras were full of photographs. We had the feeling of gratitude and accomplishment that always accompanies these encounters.
Little did we know, that bear was the first of six to appear before our eyes in the span of a few hours. We could not believe our luck as we encountered five more of these beautiful animals - two adult females and three cubs in total. They roamed around the ice, running, swimming, and scaring away more than a few ringed seals.
Recharged and grateful, we finished the day with a wonderful presentation on the auks of the North Atlantic followed by freshly made pancakes to celebrate another fantastic day at sea!