The final day of our voyage around Svalbard started off bright, with the sun’s rays glinting off the floes of pack ice surrounding the ship. In such ideal conditions, it didn’t take long for us to spot what we were all hoping for – a gorgeous polar bear on the pack ice. The animal proved inquisitive and approached National Geographic Resolution as she sat in position, our cameras at the ready on all the outer decks. It was a beautiful male in good condition, and it came to within 200 meters of the ship, giving us a lovely opportunity to observe it with the naked eye.

Getting another polar bear sighting to round off our voyage was a real treat, and we edged our way out of the pack ice in high spirits to begin our journey back to Longyearbyen. En route, Michael spoke on the development and innovations of Norway’s energy policy, while Kerstin explained how to identify the sex of polar bears; fortunately, we had plenty of case studies these last few days!

On our way south, we made use of the gorgeous weather inside Smeerenburgfjord and headed to the furthest end of the fjord to admire the enormous face of the Smeerenburgbreen Glacier. Teatime saw a beer tasting which featured the world’s northernmost and southernmost breweries, after which we gathered in the Ice Lounge for an informal panel session with the expedition team about the challenges, issues, and potential solutions to the climate crisis.

To finish off our wonderful trip, Captain Martin hosted a farewell cocktail party in the lounge before another excellent dinner. The reality of having to pack and prepare to depart National Geographic Resolution is slowly but surely setting in…