This morning would be our first aboard National Geographic Explorer during our 15-day expedition along the Baffin Island and Greenland coasts. Introductions were done by the natural history staff and information given about what to expect on our walks, hikes and Zodiac cruises as well as how to dress and the importance of staying with our groups in polar bear country. After that we were all decontaminated! This was not as extreme as it may sound. Because traveling in marginal environments can be damaging to them, an inspection was done of outer layers of clothing as well as boots to make sure no introduced seeds or soil would be spread. Later in the morning the photo team gave us some helpful hints for the photographic portion of our expedition.
During the afternoon we sailed to a place recommended by our Canadian ice pilot, Ray Jourdain—a small inlet on a small island called Noble Inlet. Just as walks and hikes were being organized, the first polar bear of the expedition was spotted by one of our guests! The bear was napping on land and was woken up by our approach. He quickly settled back into his summer slumber as we learned about the Arctic Baffin Island ecology by the naturalist on shore. Many of the summer flowers were still blooming including the moss campion. Some groups stayed closer to shore and enjoyed learning about the tide pools. Once back on board we all enjoyed the Captain’s welcome aboard cocktail party and dinner.