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At Sea, Entrance to Scoresbysund, East Greenland

Today, we ventured west, bound for the eastern coast of Greenland. With our bearings set on Scoresbysund (the planet’s largest fjord system) we made progress through fluctuating fog which rises and falls like a gossamer curtain, draping us in whiteness before revealing a calm, grey sea once again. Our day proceeded as such with little interruption until a call from the bridge announced an unexpected blue whale sighting. Read More>

Jul 7, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

Jan Mayen Island VIDEO

Today was very special indeed because we were able to visit Jan Mayen Island in the far northern Atlantic Ocean. Jan Mayen is an active volcano, very similar to some of the other islands which lie along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, including Tristan da Cunha and Ascension Islands in the south Atlantic and the Azores and Iceland in the north. But Jan Mayen is the farthest north on the ridge and is very difficult to get to; and once there it is often very difficult to get ashore. This is the first visit by National Geographic Explorer and only the second time that a Lindblad Expeditions/National Geographic ship has visited here. The island was originally used as a whaling station by the Dutch in the 17th century. Read More>

Jul 6, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

Cruising at Sea

Today brought another day at sea, cruising a ways off the polar ice edge. The reason we’re not spending time right near the ice is that fog has enveloped the area, and visibility is extremely poor. So for safety reasons it is prudent to give the ice some room! Hopefully, visibility will increase at some point today, and we might have a chance to look for wildlife along our path near Greenland. This particular area can be subject to fog, because the colder Arctic waters and ice collide with the warmer Gulf Stream sweeping its way north toward Europe. Read More>

Jul 5, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

Greenland Sea

After several exciting days in the Svalbard Archipelago we now head towards Greenland on this, our first sea day on a magnificent Arctic voyage.  To put our recent adventures into perspective, our young nine-year-old explorer reporter, Charlotte Fisher, shares her own reflections and those of other guests she has interviewed today.  A relaxing day at sea was pleasantly interrupted after lunch by the appearance of a great blue whale in the middle of nowhere in the Arctic seas. Read More>

Jul 4, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

Hamburgbukta and Ny Alesund

This morning the mother ship dropped the hook off Hamburgbukta along the northwest coast of Spitsbergen Island. A very small bay, barely visible from the sea, was entered via a narrow entrance to a natural harbor surrounded by a dramatic glaciated landscape. Setting off on our excursions of the morning we were impressed by the lush tundra and abundance of lichens as we made our way across the rolling rocky terrain of Albert I Land (named after Prince Albert of Monaco who contributed significant baseline information that is used today to compare climate and glaciers of a century ago). Read More>

Jul 3, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

Pack Ice and Woodfjord

After a night cruising in the ice, we pushed forward with the ship into the heavy pack ice. Cruising in pack ice with an ice-enforced ship is an amazing experience. Since National Geographic Explorer is not an icebreaker, there is a limit to how much ice we can plow through. However, with our skilled captain, we were able to use the leads that sometimes open, and this gave us an opportunity to push forward deep into the pack ice. Today we travelled along Reinsdyrflya (Reindeer Flat), and as we travelled in leads, we discovered some walrus hauled out on the ice. Read More>

Jul 2, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

Smeerenburg & the Pack Ice

We were awoken early this morning, no rest for the wicked! The National Geographic Explorer was heading through the narrow passage of Sorgattet, between the island of Danskoya and Spitsbergen, and then into Smeerenburgfjorden. The passage was narrow, but the wildlife was good, with puffins, thick-billed murres, Arctic terns, and even several walrus being spotted before breakfast.  As the butter melted on our toast, we anchored just off the island of Amsterdamoya and the once busy settlement of Smeerenberg, literally translated as ‘Blubber town.’ After breakfast we went ashore to explore, with hikes of various lengths being led around the shoreline, observing and documenting the historical remains of the old whaling settlement. Read More>

Jul 1, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

Lilliehöökbreen, Stefan’s Garden, Krossfjorden

Our first full day in the Arctic is complete- not that yesterday really ended if you come from the perspective of the lower latitudes where the sun actually sets! I’m not sure about you but my day began at 3 a.m. with vibrant rays of sunlight bending towards my face through a double-paned porthole. Set in motion at that hour by the sun hanging a healthy 20 degrees in the sky, I ventured out on deck to be greeted by a great swath of Spitzbergen’s western coastline a few miles ahead. Outlined with jagged peaks belying its Norwegian name (spiky mountains) the atmosphere seemed to suggest calm, stable weather for our first day ashore. A slow approach to this western stretch of the Svalbard Archipelago bought us time to cover the logistics of an expedition to the high arctic: polar bear safety, Zodiac operations, the nuances of kayaking in cold waters, etc. Read More>

Jun 30, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

Hornsund Fjord

We awoke this morning to an awesome surprise - there was a polar bear on the beach! Our ship, the National Geographic Explorer, had cruised to the eastern end of Hornsund Fjord in southern Spitzbergen, where a eagle-eyed naturalist spotted the bear from miles away. By the time we were all dressed and out on the deck, the ship had approached close enough to the lone bear for us to clearly see it walking on the black beach. We watched it as it walked, sat, and even laid down on the beach. The bear was close enough for us to see its eyes looking at us, the hair on its feet, and the scar on its leg.     Later in the morning, we anchored in the northeast end of Hornsund Fjord, with tall jagged peaks all around us. Read More>

Jun 28, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

Freemansundet, Edgeøya

After searching for polar bears most of the day yesterday it was good to stretch our legs on the tundra of Barentsoya. We are still on the east side of Svalbard, and some of the Gulf Stream current helps create an upwelling by bringing up cold nutrient water to the surface that will feed the whole food chain. The fertilization by bird droppings further enriches the surroundings of Storfjord and the rich vegetation cover characteristic for this area was such a wonderful contrast to yesterday’s polar desert. We had great luck on the hike and were able to get close to a rock ptarmigan. Read More>

Jun 27, 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.