Spitsbergen

Jul 03, 2019 - National Geographic Explorer


After a long evening yesterday and a long sail all through the night, we woke up on the eastern side of the Spitsbergen Island. But before we could get going, we had a bit of admin to take care of—intros to the naturalists, safety briefings regarding all things Arctic, and so on. We managed to finish so quickly that the photo team had time for a breakout session so that everyone was a little better prepared to capture our first landing.

During lunch, the weather turned a little and the wind kicked up, but not enough to stop us as we headed out in Zodiacs to land on the rocks of Boltodden. Once landed, there was a surprise: a perfect set of dinosaur footprints? Set into the sandstone, the prints—about 30x30 centimeters—looked as through the animal had walked over the beach just hours ago.

We separated into groups and headed further inland to explore the area. The long hikers climbed to elevation to get a better overview while the shorter walk stayed close to sea level. Staying closer to the sea is never a bad thing—suddenly a radio cracked and the polar bear scouts patrolling the coast spotted a large group of beluga whales, traveling leisurely along the coast toward the landing. Cameras at the ready, we waited until the animals showed up, their perfectly white backs coming out of the sea—a great sighting on our first day!

Back aboard, we prepared for our next event: the captain’s welcome cocktail party! The officers and crew got applause for their hard work and all they do to keep us comfortable and safe on board.

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About the Author

Kasper Jaeger

Naturalist

Kasper is a city boy, born and raised in Copenhagen, Denmark, but has always known that his place on Earth, was further north. The longing for wilderness and high mountains came early; in his early teens he went on his first weeklong trekking trip in the Norwegian mountains. He comes from a Greenland loving family and therefore, after finishing his first education, Kasper went to the Arctic, never to look back.

About the Photographer

Dagný Ívarsdóttir

Naturalist

Born under the ever-lingering midnight sun in the Arctic and surrounded by exploding geysers, spewing volcanoes, majestic glaciers, and powerful waterfalls—Dagný is a true Icelandic Viking who firmly believes in elves, trolls, and all the other supernatural beings that reside in Iceland’s mystical nature. She is a committed adventure junkie who loves nothing more than spending time in the backcountry, snowboarding, mountain biking, or hiking.

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