Day 9 |
Sep 02, 2013

Lower Savage Islands, Nunavut, Canada

By Chris Srigley, General Naturalist/Polar Bear Guard


Co-ordinates: 61˚50.34’N 65˚43.82’W
Weather: Overcast
Air Temperature: 0˚C, 32˚F
Sea Temperature: 1˚C, 33.8˚F
Wind: 25 knots

As I awoke this morning I quickly became aware of the sea conditions. I did not have to look outside to know we would be dropping Zodiacs to take guests on a tour through the Lower Savage Islands. Located Southeast of Baffin Island, here in the Canadian Arctic, this small archipelago is home to many sea birds and most importantly it usually has a summer inhabitant, the Polar Bear.

Seeking a bit of lee from the winds, Captain Maggie brought Silver Explorer towards the Northeast corner of the islands. Here, just before 8:30 a.m. I loaded my guests and headed towards the entrance.

With these string winds blowing the ride in was somewhat bumpy; however the chop was just the right size that we were able to keep ourselves dry. Once within the islands we found smooth sailing.

Having been to the Lower Savage Islands many times in the past, I knew exactly where I wanted to go first - some narrow channels winding through the smaller islands at the entrance to the main channel. Quite often Polar Bears can be found resting amongst them.

Scoured by glaciers some six thousand plus years ago the islands seem barren. Scattered lichens and mosses could be seen amongst the glacial erratic’s dotting the skyline. It always amazes me how beautiful places that can be described as barren can be.

With the tide dropping, we worked our way slowly through the rocks being exposed. There are many places you can get into at high tide but not out if you spend too much time in them!

Around the next corner, there lying in the sun we found Ursus maritimus, a Polar Bear. As if none in the Zodiac had seen anything as exciting before, we grabbed our cameras preparing ourselves for a closer approach. Finding a good location I nosed the Zodiac into the rocks and planted us so all could get a good view and take photos.

As the last Zodiacs arrived, our Polar Bear decided to get up and amble across its small island to where we had all just come from. Making my way back around the corner we found it standing offering us much better views!

Before we knew it, our time was up and we needed to return to Silver Explorer.

Back onboard the dinning room was filled with excited chatter as guests, along with the Expedition Team ate lunch and reminisced about our morning.

With an afternoon at sea planned, due to the long distance between Lower Savage and tomorrows stop, we joined Historian Collen Batey in the Theatre for her talk ‘Native – Norse interaction in the Canadian Arctic’. Taking us on a journey through time, Collen explained the early movements of the Norse, Thule and Dorset cultures bringing us through to the present day where artifacts are still being found. Thus showing how these cultures had come into contact with each other.

This evening was one of our special nights onboard, our Venetian Society cocktail party. Gathering to celebrate the guests, their friendship and loyalty to Silversea, we enjoyed good conversation, shrimp and caviar before Assistant Expedition and Venetian host Leader Timothy Amm raised a glass for a toast.

We are still waiting for another clear night in hopes of a show from the Northern Lights, would tonight be the night?