Woodfjord and “The North-West Corner”, Svalbard
After our almost surreal day in the ice yesterday, we are once again heading towards land, and for the first time this voyage, we are traveling south! The morning destination is the large fjord system, Woodfjorden, in the northern part of the island of Spitsbergen. The weather is fairly warm and pleasant, with low-hanging clouds, and it all gets that much more interesting when the PA system brings Doug’s voice out to every corner of the ship: “POLAR BEAR! A mother with a cub!” Once again we rush out to watch these magical creatures, as they just stroll down the beach, clearly on a mission somewhere unknown to us. After some more breakfast and sorting through more pictures of furry creatures, the expedition staff has finally cleared us a landing site and are welcoming everyone ashore for a bit of leg stretch or even a short hike. The landing site is called Mushamna, Mice-Harbour, and here we find one of the best preserved trapping stations still standing in Svalbard, and as we get there, it turns out that there are “locals” there to greet us! And what a meeting. It is in fact the former trapper himself that is at the cabin. He built the station himself and spent a number of years here, and now he is in the cabin to spend the summer with a good friend and his nephew. They all tell stories about the history of the place and show us the station as only the architect himself could do. The landing also offers good sightings of birdlife and plants as there are red-throated divers on nest, arctic terns, and some beautiful moss campion. As we make our way back in the Zodiacs there is something going on, as the marina deck is full of equipment and boats! Everything makes sense when the PA announces that the daredevils among guests, staff, and crew are invited to do “the polar plunge.” In total 16 from among us took a dive into the blue at 79 ̊North!
While lunch is served, our bridge team takes the National Geographic Orion out of Woodfjorden, and next on the schedule is Smeerenburgfjorden on the north-west corner of Spitsbergen island. Read More>
Jul 15, 2016
National Geographic Orion