Jun 20, 2019 - National Geographic Explorer
Today had a general plan to find wildlife and get ashore—and it worked out spectacularly! We had beautiful, clear blue skies and very little wind that, although perhaps not the wintery, atmospheric weather expected of Svalbard, made for a pleasant day to explore the area.
We started in Russebukta, or Russian Bay, named for the Russian trappers called Pomors who lived in small huts in the area. Most of us went for a good walk up into the tundra to see the wildlife and scenery up close. There were a lot of reindeer there and they were very relaxed around us, even approaching for a closer look at us.
The real highlight was the bird life, particularly the striking red phalaropes dabbling and feeding in the lakes. In the early afternoon, we headed back to the ship to have lunch while the ship repositioned near a spot on the island of Edgeoya called Kapp Lee. This was another Russian trapping site where the Pomors would hunt walrus that came ashore here several hundred years ago. The Russians slaughtered them for their skins, fat, and tusks, and many bones still litter the beach today. We visited, hoping to see live walrus, and it was great to see them returning to their old sites.
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