Day 8 |
Jul 30, 2011


By Shoshanah Jacobs, Marine Biologist

Co-ordinates: 80°18’N – 018°20’W
Weather: Warm with a breeze wind, overcast.
Air temperature: +4°C

The morning brought cloudy skies, a stiff breeze and, at more than 80 degrees North, quite a swell alongside the ship. But that didn’t prevent us from offering the polar plunge! It would be cold anyway and besides, how many times would one get the opportunity to dunk one’s body this far north? Once the conditions were deemed safe, if not a bit crazy, we set up the boats and the gear. And then the call was made. We weren’t sure how many would actually participate but, to our surprise, more guests plunged into the frigid waters than on any other voyage!

It was super fun. We attached the harnesses and watched each guest jump over the side of our Zodiac. Then we reeled them back into the boat and the relative warmth of the polar air. Of course Richard, our photographer, managed to catch it all on film!

Then it was time for Peter, our historian, to tell us about the Andree Expedition and the mysteries that still cloud that story. Many questions were asked and we headed off to lunch with a much better appreciation for what travel in the north was really like ‘back then’.

In the afternoon we lowered the boats again, this time to make a landing on Logøya. After clearing it for any dangers, such as polar bears, we began landing guests in small groups to ensure that we did not disturb the locals! And local they sure were! Dozens of walrus were hauled out or frolicking in the waters on two beaches at opposite sides of the island. This made for pleasant walking between the two except for the rather annoyed Arctic Terns that seemed to expand their defended territory as we moved further away. On one beach most of the walrus were in the water and this was rather entertaining because they were more active than if they were just lying on the beach taking in the sun. They snorted and growled at each other, pushing their way around and, on occasion, one would slam its pointed teeth into the hide of another. The walrus on the other side were certainly more relaxed and though they were sleeping, the odd one would raise its head to check us out, showing us it sparkly tusks before drifting off to sleep again. Life for a walrus in the summer is certainly very lazy.

In the evening we offered the usual Recap & Briefing with all sorts of interesting information to complement the day’s activities.