We are beginning to get used to putting on many layers for our time outside on these beautifully sunny, cold days. We were ready as National Geographic Resolution pulled into Van Keulen Fjord for our excursion ashore this morning. We broke into different walking groups and went off to explore.
We were in for a real treat, as we observed over twenty Svalbard reindeer roaming around the plain. They seemed to vacillate between curiosity and uncertainty. They gradually approached us and then quickly rushed away. They were looking for grasses and lichens below the snow. Similarly, snow buntings and rock ptarmigans looked for seeds and morsels to eat. The rock ptarmigan used its feathered feet to brush away the snow.
Whilst we were ashore, the deck team was busy executing a lifeboat drill as the hotel team prepared a BBQ for us to enjoy when we returned.
In the afternoon, the power of the X-bow came into its own, slicing through the ice as the ship moved towards a resting polar bear. We watched for a while as the bear slept and occasionally rose to stretch and wander. As we watched the bear, a pure white ivory gull circled the ship, determined to have its photo taken!