We woke on the west coast of Svalbard navigating our way into Krossfjord under spectacular blue skies and sunshine. This area is protected due to its important bird populations, many of which we saw streaming back from foraging trips ahead of the ship. Our first destination was Fourteenth of July Glacier (named by the Duke of Monaco after the French Bastille Day) to explore by kayak and Zodiac. Conditions couldn’t have been much better as the snow-covered mountains were mirrored in the glassy waters. After a BBQ in the sunshine, we headed for Lilliehook Glacier, and the 10 km face was absolutely breathtaking. Next up, 80 degrees North, with ice for toasts and hopefully some more furry wildlife.
National Geographic Endurance
The final day of an expedition is always filled with excitement and anticipation. After an amazing journey all around Svalbard, we were eager to see what we might be able to experience today to round out such a fantastic trip. With some wonderful weather to greet us into the calm waters of the large fjord of western Spitsbergen, Bellsund, we headed out after breakfast from National Geographic Endurance . Our last outing in Svalbard certainly did not disappoint! Not everyone can say they’ve walked along the terminal moraine of a tidewater glacier. On shore, we were treated to stunning views of the large glacier, Recherchebreen, and the surrounding expanse of the fjord. As an extra treat, we took the scenic route back to the ship by way of an impromptu Zodiac cruise, visiting a small haulout of walrus and exploring the glacial lagoon, which offered the chance for a closer view of the glacier face and an appreciation of the sculptures of ice it leaves behind. In between packing and editing photos, our last afternoon onboard included presentations from undersea specialist Rory and polar bear expert Kerstin. Following Captain Aaron Wood’s farewell cocktail party and another excellent dinner by the amazing dining team, our trip would not be complete without one last interruption by wildlife. This time we sighted fin whales out along the deep-water shelf. Then we watched the voyage slideshow put together by our photo instructor, Michael, and reminisced on an incredible trip around Svalbard.