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Day 9 - July 12, 2009 - Diskobukta, Edgeoya, Svalbard And At Sea

By Hans-Peter Reinthaler, Biologist

Co-ordinates: at sea
Weather: sunny in the morning with strong winds, overcast in the afternoon

Anchor was heaved at 6 o’clock in the morning and we went straight into Freemansundet, a channel between the islands of Edgeoya and Barentsoya in the eastern part of the archipelago, to do some ice cruising there. Due to the weather conditions with strong winds, fog and drift ice in the sund, it was impossible to go further in. So the Prince Albert II turned around and headed towards our afternoon landing site at Diskobukta on Edgeoya.

I was up in the Panorama Lounge, having breakfast with guests, when the Captain dropped anchor in front of the bay, waiting for the conditions to get better. At about 9.45 hours, the Captain and Expedition Leader decided to leave our anchor place at Diskobukta because the wind was getting even worse and there was no chance of doing a landing on the beach of the bay. The plan now was that the Prince Albert II would head southward around the southern tip of Spitzbergen to reach Bellsundfjord tomorrow morning. So it was a whole day on sea and therefore a good opportunity to present lectures. My colleague Stefan was the first in the morning, talking and having a discussion round with our guests on the topic of climatic change. The lecture was visited by some 50 guests and there was discussion ongoing until nearly 11 o’clock when the second lecture from Chris started. He was talking about another fabulous place on this earth: The Antarctic and the expeditions of Prince Albert II to this continent.

Around midday we were just getting to the south tip of Edgeoya, when an area of drift ice was in front of the ship. A few minutes later I was sitting with guests at lunch, when Conrad, our Expedition Leader, announced through the PA system that a Polar bear was walking around some 100 meters ahead of the ship. Most of the guests interrupted lunch and came to the starboard side of the vessel to see the bear. The Captain then made a nearly 360-degree turn with the vessel because the ice was drifting away to get us nearer to the Polar bear. The afternoon was calm, and the Expedition Team was looking out from the outer decks for any whale sightings, but unfortunately there were no whales at the moment to see. At 15.30 hours, my colleague Robin Aiello gave her lecture on “Sea Monsters and Mermaids” in The Theater.

Today’s Briefing & Recap consisted of a short review of this voyage and an outlook for tomorrow, followed by the video of the voyage from Kristine Hannon, our photographer. Our guests were fascinated by the work of Kristine and to my personal opinion she did really a great job by showing in excellent video the beautiful nature of Svalbard.

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