Our day started at 1:00 a.m. when expedition leader Bud announced from the bridge: “Wake up, everyone! We have sighted two bears, and they are slowly moving in our direction!
The two bears were indeed walking towards National Geographic Resolution, which had parked in the ice before dinner. From around a mile away, we could tell one bear was bigger, so we thought we were looking at a mother and her cub. However, as the situation unfolded, the two bears became one and they started mating. Very few humans have witnessed a moment like this one, and it was happening right in front of our eyes!
Slowly, the female grew curious about our ship and started approaching the bow. What a moment! The whole ship, guests and crew, stood still and silent on the outer decks at -20 degrees Celsius.
The following morning, expedition leader Bud allowed us to sleep in 30 minutes longer as National Geographic Resolution continued to travel north. Our second wildlife sighting of the day was two walruses hauled out along the very edge of the pack ice. After some amazing views, National Geographic Resolution continued eastbound until we came across very thick sea ice. The wind picked up, and the bridge team calculated that the northern winds were pushing the sea ice towards the northern coast of Spitsbergen at 1 nautical mile per hour.
The decision was quickly made to head back in the direction we came to avoid getting “stuck” in the sea ice. National Geographic Resolution steamed eastbound at 15 knots until we reached Smeerenburgfjord a few hours later.
What a day!