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Bellsund VIDEO

During the night the weather changed from a few snow flurries to just downright snow. We awoke to the ship entering Bellsund. This two armed fjord is quite large in extent and pierces to the interior of Spitsbergen Island. The wind that came with the storm made anchoring quite difficult, so the bridge team got together and came up with another plan. Once a new anchorage was found that opened to the south, as the wind was from the north, the ship held and morning activities could begin. The low flat shingle beach didn’t look as though it held much promise, but once we arrived so did the reindeer. The wind had pushed them to the lee side of this peninsula as well. They were mostly young animals that were curious about us and came to investigate the strange colored bipedal mammals that had suddenly landed on their “turf.” The Svalbard reindeer migrated away from Europe thousands of years ago, and once the ice retreated from northern Norway permanently they were stuck in Svalbard. Read More>

Jun 14, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

Southern Edgeøya, Svalbard, Norway

We woke up as we were cruising along the west coast of Edgeøya (Edge Island). The anchor of National Geographic Explorer was launched outside of Årdalsnuten at the southwestern tip of the island. The scheduled landing of guests this morning was slightly delayed because of a suspicious white furry creature that had been spotted onshore. Read More>

Jun 13, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

Hinlopen Strait

At 4:00 a.m., light streams in through the cabin porthole. Since we are way above the Arctic Circle, the sun never sets in summertime. Overcast skies don’t make a bit of difference, it’s still bright outside. Way off in the distance horizontal slivers of snowy white and gray mountains surrounded by light clouds are visible. Svalbard light is always wonderful to witness and photograph. This turns out to be another beautiful morning in Hinlopen Strait, the body of water which divides Spitzbergen and Nordaustlandet. The ship’s engines turn off and on. Read More>

Jun 12, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

Eastern Svalbard’s Pack Ice

We see the world in different ways and read her messages with hearts and minds. At times the stimuli received are too complicated to synthesize. Here, in the ice, all is reduced to simplicity. And yet, in spite of that, it is still difficult to tell others back at home just how we feel. Limited to a few words, what should we say? Tweets from far above the Arctic Circle. Read More>

Jun 11, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

Northwestern Edgeøya, Eastern Svalbard

Rosenbergdalen is a lovely, broad, gently sloping valley on the northwestern corner of Edgeøya. Arctic tundra with its simple beauty and tenacious vegetation, some still covered in snow, invited us to explore. Zodiacs, in many ways, are the key to an expedition, as they afford us the rare opportunity to see remote corners of the world and set foot where few have traversed. Read More>

Jun 10, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

Hornsund, Svalbard

The famous Norwegian explorer Amundsen stated “Adventure is just bad planning.” In his case maybe the goal was to survive and achieve a successful expedition. We are instead well-supplied with a great infrastructure and are well fed on board National Geographic Explorer. For us adventure is searching for the magical wildlife and scenery you find here at one of the most northern archipelagos in the world. At the northern tip of Svalbard you are only 540 nautical miles to the North Pole. Already, yesterday, before we had cast the lines and left the pier, our sharp-eyed Captain Oliver Kruess spotted a female walrus with her calf swimming in front of the bow. Read More>

Jun 9, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

Bellsund, Spitsbergen

The last day of our expedition along the coast of Norway and north to Svalbard took us to the largest island in the archipelago, Spitsbergen. There are several large fjords or glacially-carved bays that indent the west coast of Spitsbergen. The ship was anchored in one of these fjords, Bellsund, where the bay splits into smaller fjords. Even from the ship we could tell that the hillsides were alive with seabird life. Once on shore we could see the clouds of small birds that make the scree slopes their home in the summer time. Read More>

Jun 7, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

Hornsund, Spitsbergen

We woke up to a misty morning as the National Geographic Explorer was cruising southwards along the east coast of Spitsbergen. This morning, however, still offered great excitement, as our Global Perspectives Speaker, Geoff Daniels from Nat Geo Wild, gave a fascinating talk with video clips of Svalbard´s wildlife. During the morning we anchored in Hornsund on the western side of southern Spitsbergen. Read More>

Jun 6, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

Nordaustlandet and the Pack Ice, Svalbard

One feels insignificant in the vastness of this land.  The horizon and sky blend and we find ourselves enveloped in a sphere within which we are only a tiny particle floating through time.  There was silence in the night as we sat at anchor off the southeastern coast of Nordaustlandet, the second largest island in the Svalbard archipelago. Read More>

Jun 5, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

Olga Strait & Hinlopen, Svalbard

During the night we sailed between Edgeøya and Barentsøya, and through Freemansundet. Both islands are named after the early explorers which ventured into the area. Wilhelm Barentz was the pilot on the Dutch mission in 1596 to find a short cut to Cathay (Chine), going north. Spitzbergen (pointed mountains) became the name of the land he found as he was forced to turn south because of a compact ice wall, the Arctic pack-ice. Edgeøya is named after the supercargo, Thomas Edge, on board an English ship which came up early 17th century searching for opportunities to harvest the ‘beasts,’ the walrus. Read More>

Jun 4, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

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Please note: All Daily Expedition Reports (DER's) are posted Monday-Friday, during normal business hours.