Day 13 |
Jun 21, 2011

Poolepynten and St. Jonsfjord, Spitsbergen

By Robin West Expedition Leader

Co-ordinates: 78 27 003N, 011 52 260E
Weather: Clear Blue skies
Air Temperature: 3 degrees Celsius
Sea Temperature: 2 degrees Celsius
Wind: None

I woke up this morning to very calm seas and excellent weather. Today the port of call is Poolepynten, a small narrow pointed spit that protrudes from the eastern side of Prins Karlfordland and is well known for being a Walrus haul out. I made my way up to the Bridge, only to be informed by the Captain that he had already spotted walruses. This was excellent as it was to be the first walruses of the trip.

The Captain brought the ship into its final anchorage at which time the scout boat and expedition team headed ashore to scout and to set up a safe area so that there would be no disturbances to the Walruses.

There were a total of ten walruses lying on the very end of Poolepynten. Although there was not much movement to speak of the walruses still offered us some great views as they lifted their heads from time to time revealing those distinctive tusks. Later in the morning, three more appeared from the water, they remained in the shallows for about 30 minutes or so before making their way out to sea. The morning proved to be very successful with many of the guests getting their first walrus sighting ever.

In the early afternoon the ship repositioned 10 nautical miles in an easterly direction towards St. Jonsfjord. The ice charts had shown considerable amounts of fast ice however once in the fjord there proved to be less than what was shown. The remaining fast ice was covered in seals, both Ringed seals and Bearded seals.

I then decided to offer both a guided walk from the landed site over to the glacier as well as a Zodiac cruise taking in not only the seals but also the many Common Eider ducks that littered the ice edge. The walk was a great success with guests getting an opportunity to see many of the flowering plants that Svalbard had on display with the most prominent being the Purple Saxifrage. On the way to the glacier the hikers were met by some Reindeer, totally unperturbed the hikers they continued on their way as they walked off into the distance.

Once all onboard the ship set sail out of St. Jonsfjord, around Prins Karfordland and up in a northerly direction. Our plan for the following day was to head north and to make our way up into the northerly fjord as well as on to the ice edge in search for the ever-elusive Polar Bear.