Melfjord & Træna, Norway

May 08, 2018 - National Geographic Explorer

When sailing up to the Arctic Circle, one is immediately struck by the receding tree line and the deep blue oceans that hug the coastline. Carved out by glaciers over thousands of years, these fjords each tell a story, and it is up to us to record, understand, and preserve their ecosystems for future generations. Today we did this by exploring the ecosystems of the water or of the land.

For those who sought to better understand the ocean and the water of the fjord, there was a Zodiac Cruise that looked for local aquatic life. There they were confronted by the stark contrast between a moose carcass and lively birds that lived in the fjords.

For those curious about the land, a hike through the woods of the fjord showed promise of adventure. The ground, determined to catch their boots in mud or knee-deep snow, created an arduous hike for them. But the explorers trudged on and were rewarded for their labors when a moose and its child were spotted near a gushing waterfall of fresh water from the snowmelt.

In the evening, guests were treated to captivating lectures by National Geographic photographer Dan Westergren and Naturalist Eduardo Shaw. An expert in his craft, Dan demonstrated techniques to elevate photos by asking essential question of “how can my photo create a sense of place?” This, coupled with a keen eye for the nature of light, results in incredible photos. Eduardo, as captivating as ever, vividly described the natural history of Norway, from the birds to the lichen that thrive in this harsh environment.

During recap, Jonathan taught us the history of how the glaciers of Norway were formed, the various types of glaciers, and their ecological importance in the world. Jim picked up from there, explaining just how something as simple as the tilt of the Earth creates our seasons and ultimately the Arctic and Antarctic Circles. Stefano then guided us through a crash course in Norwegian. Thoroughly entertaining, his brief lesson gave a glimpse into the meaning of the saying “language is the clothes of a culture”. Finally, Chef Matijas explained the process that he and the kitchen had used to harden up the soft flesh of the cod that our own shipmates had caught just two days earlier and that would be served for dinner.

It’s been an exhilarating day chock-full of learning and exploration!

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About the Author

Stefano Pozzi


Stefano is originally from Italy and nature has always been the greatest of his passions. Spending time outdoors is his every-day's priority with a special devotion rock climbing during summer accompanied by ski and snowboarding during winter.

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