Day 6 - July 21, 2013 - Kvitoya, Storoya, - Svalbard
By Hans-Peter Reinthaler, Biologist
Co-ordinates: 80°14´N, 28°15´E
Air Temperature: 1° C
Around 8:00 am the Silver Explorer reached the southwestern point of the island of Kvitoya and was welcomed by fog, some ice bergs and a stiff wind of about 30 knots. After the anchor was dropped a scout boat was sent out to evaluate the situation along the shore line. Last time the ship was here there were a lot of walruses in the waters around the island, and near the point where the monument of the Andree Expedition is located two Polar bears were lying in the snow.
The scouting didn´t take too long, and after 20 minutes the boat came back without any sightings of Polar bear or walruses. Due to the wind gusting up to 40 knots the landing on this northeastern most island was canceled.
The Silver Explorer left the anchorage position and set sail approximately 40 nautical miles towards our afternoon destination, Storoya. In the meantime a lecture was put on in the Theater. Our geologist on board, Juan, talked about ice and glaciers - an excellent topic as both islands we planned on visiting today are covered by an icecap. At 12.30 pm the ship reached our anchorage position on the northern side of Storoya.
Weather conditions changed significantly in the meantime. The winds dropped to 25 knots and the sun was shining. Again a scout boat was sent out to check the situation on the island. This time we were a little bit luckier as there were two Polar bears sleeping on the shore side, but strange enough no walruses could be found. Zodiacs were dropped in the water shortly afterwards for a one hour tour.
As the wind dropped, a swell came in from the south into the island. Subsequently, guests on the first tour got drenched with rain as the Zodiacs made their way towards the bay with the bears. Upon arrival, the bears were spotted sleeping 150m away from the Zodiac. Even though the guests saw the bears, it was the expedition and adventure of the Zodiac ride that the guests enjoyed most.
The Zodiac tour for the second group was much smoother than the first. The sun came out again as the Zodiacs toured the bay, and even in one occasion a bear raised its head to check us out.
Back on the ship, everyone recounted how happy they were to experience the fresh Arctic air, spot Polar bears, and take part in an adventurous Zodiac ride in one of the remotes part of the world.
After a rough start, our day in the Arctic paradise of the archipelago of Svalbard ended as an interesting one. Having experienced such a unique time up in the north, guests enjoyed a delicious and well deserved dinner in the Restaurant.
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