Out here, there are two types of days. Some are spent in bursts of intense activity, while others pass more quietly, leaving time for sharing the experiences of the voyage and thinking about the lessons learned. Today was a day of the second kind, a day for reflection and contemplation.
The crackling sound of the ice against the keel of National Geographic Endurance was our constant companion as we made our way north. From the bridge, we scouted the frozen surface of the sea before us, searching relentlessly for any sign of life, any movement, any flickering of light that could indicate the presence of the very elusive polar fauna. More than once, shadows were caught in the abstract shapes of sea ice, playing tricks on us and misleading our minds into seeing what was not there.
Time seemed to expand, and we felt our own impatience growing. Our efforts were finally rewarded. First, we observed the elegant flight of a fulmar. Later, we spotted the unmistakable shapes of seals. They stared inquisitively back at us from their ice floats.
Scoping was not the only activity that filled our day. Everyone enjoyed the presentations of both Stefano Tricanico and Mark Brazil, which covered the myths and misconceptions surrounding polar bears to the migration of birds across the globe. We were also immensely fortunate to hear the story of Sir E. Hillary from the point of view of our Global Speaker, his own son, Mr. Peter Hillary. We also heard about the intricacies of eDNA research, which Hayley, our onboard scientist, passionately explained to the audience.
To finish the day, we dedicated our last recap to sharing our most memorable moments, including the sounds of the fjords, captured with a hydrophone, and the voices of our guests, keen to provide their own unique perspective on this unforgettable experience.
As we veered away from the frozen coasts of Greenland, leaving behind a vast surface of the frozen sea, and headed towards Iceland, we were gifted with one last surprise. Aft of the ship, on the portside, a sperm whale fluked and dove. A fitting farewell for such a remarkable expedition around the western edge of Greenland.