We have rounded Sår Kapp!!! The South Cape of Spitsbergen! We are now making our way along the first big fjord on the western side of the island, which is called Hornsund. We sail in the soft morning light along its northern shore until we reach a headland at the bottom of a majestic cliff where thousands of kittywakes make their nests. This place is known as Gnålodden, a name which refers to the incessant sounds of the birds populating the area.
We decide that it’s a lovely spot for a morning hike and so, after a thorough scout by the expedition team, we all go on land to explore the stunning nature from a different perspective.
In three different groups, we reach a beautiful high point from which there’s a lovely view towards Burgerbukta, the bay just to the east of our landing spot. We are lucky enough to experience the beautiful sight of an Arctic fox as it looks for food at the base of the cliff. On the way back towards the landing place, we stop by a very well preserved trapper cabin. It was used for many years by Norwegian hunters, including one of the first women to have ever spent a winter in Svalbard.
We hurry back on the ship. Our bridge team spots a polar bear sleeping on the fast ice in the eastern branch of Burgerbukta. We enjoy this majestic show in nature for a good hour. After a lovely lunch, we head over to our afternoon destination, just across the fjord.
Here, after some attempts to find good ice, our expedition team finds a really good and safe spot for us to land and walk on floating fast ice. This is truly a once in a lifetime experience, and we are simply overwhelmed by such an amazing treat!
As we are on the ice, we can see National Geographic Resolution just a short distance away. We spot the majestic peak of Hornsundtind, the highest mountain in Southern Spitsbergen, right above us! Simply a glorious time!
We get back onboard the ship and have a nice recap session and a briefing for tomorrow by expedition leader Stefano Pozzi. We enjoy a lovely dinner, recalling the wonderful experiences we all lived through in the past few hours, and we build anticipation for what is awaiting us tomorrow. Bellsund, here we come!