''Expedition Svalbard II'' Voyage 7116 Day 3

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Day 3 - July 25, 2011 - Bear Island

By Shoshanah Jacobs, Marine Biologist

Co-ordinates: 74°27’N, 019°02’W
Weather: Warm with very little wind, overcast.
Air temperature: +7°C


After a full day at sea yesterday, we awoke to land in sight! And what a spectacular landscape as the cliffs emerged out of the fog and we followed the thousands of seabirds into sheltered waters.

As we approached the anchorage site, the cliffs towered above us and we noticed that thousands of birds were using them as nesting sites. The Zodiacs were quickly lowered into the water and we boarded them right after breakfast. First we visited the few puffins that were nesting on a sandy slope in the cove. Their funny faces and bright red feet made them easy to identify both on the land at on the sea. Throughout the entire tour we heard the ‘melodic’ call of kittiwake, the small grey and white gull that followed our ship out of Tromso.

As we made our way around the corner we saw the full extent of the cliffs and the seabird colony… some of us came into full contact with the birds as they flew overhead. But, apparently, this is good luck! We made our way in and out of the limestone caves that have formed with the waves beating against the cliffs and we even got to see a recent shipwreck from 2009 and what the ice had done to it overtime.

Back on board we made our way to the north of the island for a very special visit to the meteorological station. Here only nine people live for a six-month rotation and they had not received another ship yet this season. We made our way to shore and then went for a long walk on the tundra where we passed a beautiful sandy beach, a walrus graveyard, jumped through a shallow stream, and really got to know all the tiny plants and flowers that carpeted our footing.

At the station we poked around the buildings while some of us checked out the bird cliffs for a closer view of the puffins. The dog residents of the station were particularly friendly and many of us spent a bit of extra time playing with them.

After Recap & Briefing everyone had a lovely meal and retired to bed early after a long day full of activity.

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