May 21, 2018 - National Geographic Explorer
During the night, the National Geographic Explorer brought us past 80° N on our sail towards Sjuøyane, which literally means the Seven Islands. As the wake-up call sounded, we found ourselves close to Phippsøya, the largest of these islands. Sjuøyane makes up the northernmost part of dry land in Svalbard and in Norway as a whole.
In the afternoon, Jasper Doest, our National Geographic photographer, gave a presentation on “The Highs and Lows of Storytelling in the Arctic” and naturalist Carl Erik Kilander provided an introduction to Svalbard, with an emphasis on history, nature and Svalbard policy. During dinner Expedition Leader Brent announced that we had just crossed the 82nd parallel. Shortly after, we encountered pack ice and proceeded northeast in search of wildlife. In the late evening, we reached the northernmost point of our expedition: 82° 8’ N! Going this far north on an expedition cruise ship is very unusual, but it seemed necessary this time, given that we wanted to sail along the ice edge to find continuous pack ice.
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