We set sail on Friday afternoon (9/27) west through Isfjorden dropping anchor in a beautiful inlet fjord called Trygghamna where a magnificent mountain called “Elk” greeted us in Horn Harbor. The next morning (9/28) after breakfast and a safety talk in preparation for our first Zodiac landing we did with beautiful light, warm 40 degree weather and very little wind.
On Sunday (9/29) after sailing due North all through the night we anchored in Magdalene Fjord. On our morning zodiac ride a harbor seal greeted us. The day was much grayer. but what grays they were…warm and cool with thin patches of titanium and zinc white - some mixed with alizarin crimson - every now and then a wisp of light ultramarine blue pierced through.
The ground was a sandy beach with ice of all dimensions, textures and opacities scattered along its shore. I could walk on thin ice layers that crunched with the sound of toast similar to what I once experienced walking on Kilauea in moonlight in 2000.
Further in there were areas of yellow ochre and sap green vegetation caused by the history of whale processing on this shore. In the early 17th century Svalbard was a whale-hunting center shared between the Dutch and the English.
On Monday evening (9/30) we docked in Hamilton bay at the top of the northern most fjord: Raudfjord.
The next day 10/1, I took an exhilarating zodiac ride around 11:00 AM confronted by incredibly blue transparent icebergs, scattered ice all around as well as the face of a small glacier which periodically calved. light was very grey when we began but improved by the time we had to return revealing an incredibly lit mountain in reds, rusts and ochre.
This was the day of our first polar bear siting from the ship. Thanks to Sungpil I have a great photo: