Bjørnøya and at Sea to Svalbard

May 29, 2019 - National Geographic Explorer

Today mother nature dealt us our first losing hand of the expedition, in that prevailing winds and swell conditions left all options for landings or Zodiac cruising untenable. Regardless of this we were still able to get glimpses of the striking features of the southernmost island in the Svalbard archipelago, which is home to nearly a million nesting seabirds from several species. After looking at several possible landing sites our expedition leader Russ Evans and our Captain Aaron Wood made the decision to set sail for Svalbard, where we could better use our time.

With a healthy compliment of northern fulmars and black-legged kittiwakes in tow we set our course further north. Another upside to our change in plans was the time it afforded to provide presentations on board. Our Global Perspective guest speaker Gregg Trienish gave a talk on some of the work his organization, Adventure Scientists, has done around the world. Later, naturalist and historian Peter Wilson gave an informative lecture on the history of whaling as it relates to not only Svalbard and Norway but worldwide. And David Berg provided us with an in-depth historical perspective of Svalbard, from the Vikings to post-World War II.

As a finale to the day our ship’s band, The Spice Boys, performed their usual eclectic set of popular songs after dinner. The main lounge was converted to a dance floor and the evening was a big hit.

Soon we’ll be in the Land of the Ice Bears. Stay tuned for further updates!

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About the Author

Doug Gualtieri


Doug’s passion for the natural world started at an early age in his home state of Michigan. He received two biology degrees from Central Michigan University, and later went on to get a master’s degree in conservation biology. His education led him to study a diverse range of natural sciences, with an emphasis on ecology, animal behavior, and migratory birds. Shortly after leaving the academic world, Doug migrated north to Alaska with his trusty Siberian husky, Koda. He began working as a naturalist in Denali National Park in 1999. For over seven years he has shared his love of Alaska and Denali’s six million acres with Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic guests, as trip leader for the Denali Land Extension based at the North Face Lodge deep within the park.

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