Our course today took us along the wild north coasts of Spitsbergen and Nordaustlandet. We explored the ice-choked entrances of the great fjords and farther south into Hinlopen Strait, which lies between the two largest islands of the archipelago. The icy world of April dominated the landscape with snowbound mountains towering over fjords paved with white plains of frozen ocean. Along the way, we kept a constant lookout for wildlife and found both seals and walruses. Then, in the late afternoon, we spotted our first polar bears, a beautiful mother with two tiny cubs. They had just emerged from their winter den.