Jun 16, 2018 - National Geographic Explorer
The expedition from Svalbard to Greenland and all the way to Iceland is underway! Our first full day on board was a great introduction to the High Arctic of Svalbard. We awoke to wind-driven swells as we rounded the south cape of Spitsbergen, the archipelago’s largest island, and sailed into Storfjorden. After lunch, we arrived at the third largest island of Edegøya. Here we went ashore to explore an area called Russebukta, or Russian Bay. Svalbard reindeer greeted us as we stepped from the Zodiacs onto the smooth, glacially-polished rock outcrops. The tundra was soft and spongy underfoot. Purple saxifrage wildflowers painted the landscape in between the green mosses and lichen. Birders among the group spotted a variety of birds in the tundra ponds, including purple sandpipers, gray phalaropes, and king eiders. Dressed for the weather, we returned to the ship as the wind freshened. After a well-deserved hot shower, we enjoyed the Captain’s Welcome cocktail reception and dinner. It was our kind of expedition!
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