We woke up this morning to the sound of the ship crashing through pack ice as we made our way into Smith Sound looking for wildlife. After breakfast, naturalist and archaeologist Natasha gave a presentation about permafrost and how it affects Arctic archaeology, both positively and negatively. Later this morning, we reached the northernmost point in our itinerary, 77 degrees and 49.5 minutes, and began making our way back south. Travel through pack ice can be slow – and noisy! The cold air over the seascape gave rise to Fata Morgana mirages of distant icebergs.
Just before lunch was announced, we spotted the nineteenth polar bear of the trip. We postponed lunch and began a slow approach to the bear. When we were a few hundred metres away, she got up and began moving towards us. Eventually, she approached within a few metres of the bow of the ship before strolling away, giving us a truly dramatic view of this magnificent predator.
After teatime, undersea specialist Gail gave a presentation about polar diving, explaining amongst other things how she manages to stay warm (enough?) and dry in waters that can be as cold as -1° C (30° F).
After dinner, naturalist and bear finder Kerstin told us about her nine-day hiking trip from Kangerlussuaq to the edge of the Greenland ice sheet. She shared wonderful photographs and the “Monowalker” she used to carry her gear.