Arctic Cruise Adventure Trip Log ( 17 - 31 Jul, 2017) - Sunday, 23 Jul

Sunday, 23 July: Raudforden and Danskoya
January 2018

This morning we awake to yet another stunning, panoramic view of the Svalbard coast. “Raudefjord” in Norwegian, this area is so-named for the deep red sandstone that sweeps upwards to our either side. The glistening white of several glaciers only adds to the drama of this stark place as we board the zodiacs and go ashore. Some of us, fascinated with the diversity and beauty of the rocks around us, seek out our geologist, Jason, who explains the complicated processes which, over millions of years, crafted this landscape. For those more interested in the history of the region, a small wooden hut nearby offers a glimpse into the hardships endured by early 20th century trappers attempting to make a fortune on these seemingly desolate islands.

After a beautiful morning,Le Boreal sets sail in the afternoon for Jan Mayen, retracing our route as we cling to the western corner of Spitsbergen on our way South. As we pass by the abandoned settlement of Smeerenburg, an excited Captain Garcia suddenly comes over the ship’s PA; more bears have been spotted! We rush to the bridge and observation decks, watching in awe as three adult polar bears rest on the beach beside a large dead whale. An opportunity such as this is too rare to pass up, and we quickly lower the ship’s zodiac fleet for a closer approach of these Arctic icons. Our expert boat-handlers quietly maneuver through shallow water as we crouch silently in the hull, watching in awe as we approach the resting bears within 200 feet! One lifts his head as we approach, though is obviously too stuffed after a day gorging on whale meat to give us much attention. We are privileged to observe these animals so closely on the beach, and with our quest for the great ice bear now truly complete, Le Boreal makes Southwest towards the open ocean. After dinner, as we cross over the continental shelf break far below, Captain Garcia’s voice once again resonates throughout the ship, announcing that we have come across several blue whales! Parkas back on and cameras in-hand, we rush out on deck to the sight of these whales, the largest animals ever to have existed on the planet. A calf is observed feeding nearby its mother, who offers a spectacular show as she raises her flukes in a dive. As if Svalbard itself has bid us farewell, we return to our cabins and enjoy a peaceful evening.

Click Here to read 'Monday, July 24: At Sea for Jan Mayen'