Bellsund, West Spitsbergen

Jun 17, 2017 - National Geographic Explorer

After the excitement of last night’s bear sightings, the wildlife was a little more relaxed this morning. Shortly after breakfast, everyone crowded onto the bow of the National Geographic Explorer to witness the tall blows of a blue whale off the west coast of Svalbard. As the whale headed north, the ship continued south into Bellsund just in time to land in the afternoon.

After more than 24 hours on board, guests were eager to stretch their legs and many opted to take part in the long hike.

The landing didn’t disappoint and guests encountered arctic foxes, herds of Svalbard reindeer and geese, plus clouds of little auk who were busy commuting to and from their breeding colonies.

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About the Author

James Coleman


Jamie is from England. He grew up in Oxford, about as far from the sea as you can get in the UK, yet somehow decided he would work in marine biology and conservation. Ever since he reached his teens, he has dedicated time to this passion, working and volunteering in various roles on nature reserves and in aquariums. It was no surprise that in 2007, he left home to study marine biology at the University of Newcastle.

About the Photographer

Conor Ryan


Hailing from Cobh in the south of Ireland, Conor Ryan grew up on the shores of Cork Harbour where his fascination with the sea led him to study zoology at University College Cork. He continued his studies in marine biology in Galway, where he completed his Ph.D. thesis on the diet and population structure of baleen whales in the Celtic Sea using stable isotope analysis. His research also brought him to Cape Verde in search of the breeding grounds of humpback whales that frequent the coasts of Ireland. However these whales have not yet given up their secret!

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