Jun 24, 2018 - National Geographic Explorer
This morning we awoke in Rømer Fjord, just south of where we were yesterday. The sky is overcast, with a fog bank over the open ocean in the distance. We are stopped, with fast ice in front of the bow. Here, in east Greenland, the end of June is like the beginning of spring. The ice looks thin, with pools of meltwater everywhere. It is stong enough to hold bears, however, and they seem to be everywhere: standing, swimming, laying, and walking. One of them begins to walk towards us in a curious fashion. Is it the sound of the ship that has attracted the bear’s attention? Or is it the unnatural size, shape, and color? Or maybe the silhouettes of people on the bow and monkey deck? I suspect the answer is, “all three,” as I look out the dining room window, finishing up the last of my bacon.
We stay with the fast ice and bears until after breakfast, wisely deciding to forego our planned landing just a few hundred yards away. Now we need a new landing site. We try a tributary fjord and quickly find some more ice and more bears. Time to try some place further away!
Late in the morning, Captain Skog and expedition leader Lucho decide to try a new place that none of us (and apparently no survey ship) has been. We are facing a short fjord, very protected from seas and wind and perfect for kayaking. There is one glaring problem, however: no depth soundings on the chart. This exercise is going to be a bit slow. Lucho is anxious to get us off the ship, so he takes a Zodiac and a couple of staff to scout the area. The Captain eases National Geographic Explorer into the fjord, preceded by a Zodiac with sounding equipment. He stops the ship just short of a submerged terminal moraine, a monument to the past glory of the local glacier. All was well until the report from the scouting party. A polar bear was within close range, so the search for a disembarkation location had to continue elsewhere!
By mid-afternoon, we have found another place for Zodiac tours and kayaking. Later, we see bears and more bears―even a mom and a tiny cub. For us, June 24th will always be known as the Day of Bears; we saw more than 20, fewer than 50. So, we wonder, what will tomorrow bring?
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