Day 12 |
Jun 19, 2011

Today’s Port Hornsund

By Shoshanah Jacobs, Marine Biologist

Co-ordinates: 77*00.6’N, 016*11.14’E
Weather: Overcast with patches of clear sky
Air Temperature: 3C
Wind speed 10km/h Northerly
Pressure 1012 hPa

In the early morning, the dramatic coastline of the Svalbard archipelago could be seen and many of us were up early to witness our approach into Hornsund Fjord. Soon the mountains surrounded us, and the blinding reflection of the sun’s rays off the glaciers made wearing sunglasses mandatory.

Shortly after breakfast the first group of guests was out in the Zodiacs as we explored the coastline looking for wildlife and marveling at the mountains and glaciers. We came across many bird species including Brunnich’s Guillemots, Glaucous Gulls, Kittiwakes, Little Auks, Eider Ducks, and Black Guillemots. Then we made our way to the glacier to get a closer look. But not too close! Evidence of its recent activity could be found in the many small icebergs floating in the bay. Several of them were a beautiful soft blue and we explained how that happens. It is a trick of the light!

As we were returning to the ship to change over the groups: there she blew! We came across a small pod of belugas. We stayed with them for about ten minutes and watched them diving and probably feeding in the area. A few of us even spotted two tiny calves next to their mothers.

Then we got to do the whole thing over again with the next set of guests! This time we worked our way around the bay in the opposite direction and began with the belugas. It was certainly difficult to pull ourselves away from them but we did have to see the glacier after all!

Returning to the ship was difficult but it was time to eat! Again!

After lunch I gave a lecture with my colleague Claudia on Arctic Ice. I covered the basics and Claudia covered the major changed in ice that we are seeing around the world. She showed an incredible documentary with amazing footage.

A quiet evening, perhaps, but all were satisfied and maybe even a little tired from the day’s adventure!