Arctic Cruise Adventure Trip Log ( 17 - 31 Jul, 2017) - Saturday, Jul 22

Saturday, July 22: Lidefjorden and Idabreen Glacier
January 2018

This morning, our expedition team lowers several zodiacs into the water well before most of us have awoken, and drivers diligently scan the nearby beaches of Woodfjord for wildlife and interesting places to go ashore. While they search, we enjoy our breakfast against the panoramic backdrop of these magnificent glacial mountains. Suddenly, a much-anticipated announcement is given over the ship’s PA— a polar bear has been sighted! Captain Garcia maneuvers Le Boréal close to the rocky ledges where the creature stands, and we enjoy watching as the bear, a young male, nimbly struts across the shoreline. After allowing for some good looks, the animal takes to the water in its search for food, and we prepare to disembark.

Our morning landing site is the most lush environment we have yet seen in the Arctic, and we hop off the zodiacs near a glacial melt-stream coming from the nearby mountains. Dense mats of purple and yellow flowers cover the ground, and green cushions of arctic plants turn rocky hillsides into verdant fields. Our expedition botanist, Dagmar Hagen, enthusiastically identifies the delicate tundra flora of our landing site, while historian Bob Burton offers insight into the presence of a grave found nearby. Those on their hands and knees are treated to the colorful mosaic that is the Arctic wildflower bloom— the purple flowers of moss-campion and drooping bell-heather make for some stunning photographs under the guidance of our photo coach Richard Harker.

The zodiacs take us from the windy beach, and after a choppy ride back to Le Boreal, we enjoy a delicious lunch while we head further into the fjord. Soon we are back in the zodiacs and (in much calmer weather) making landfall on a cobble beach of beautifully sculpted stones while a spectacular glacier towers in the background. Jason, our expedition geologist, informs us that the structure we are standing on is called a lateral moraine, thousands of years in the making; as the icy river that is the glacier flows, it scours the underlying bedrock, pulverizing and sculpting the landscape around it. This debris often forms large deposits such as the one on which we spend our afternoon.

This evening, our expedition leader Matt Drennan announces that we will spend another day in Svalbard in the hopes of finding more polar bears, which has become the top priority of our naturalists! While our expedition team scans for wildlife late into the night, we enjoy a relaxing evening watching the stunning scenery roll past and prepare for an extra day in this breathtaking wilderness.

Click Here to read 'Sunday, 23 July: Raudforden and Danskoya'