Polar Bear Hunt 2015 - Day 11
Expedition Day 6: Magdelenefjorden and Smeerenburg
We awoke to heavy seas and a dark grey sky. Soon we steered closer to the coast and slipped into the calmer waters of Magdelenefjorden. This is one of the most popular tourist ship locations, and was once a shelter for whaling ships. It also featured as the picnic location for Victorian tourists. We spent most of the morning here. A few brave (mad??) people decided this was the ideal location for a swim so in they went - and came out just as fast! - before embarking again and heading out to sea. Soon we headed into the calmer waters of another fjord where we cruised in the Zodiacs around small bergs of blue ice and then close to the snout of the Smeerenburgbreen glacier. Later, as we headed north another bear was spotted and we crept up close to the cloast to watch as the bear made her way along the coast. at the birds and oher wildlife.
Magdelenefjorden is a small sheltered harbour and it is obvious why it was used by the whalers to escape from the rough sea. The small peninsula that juts out into the fjord was used as a burial ground by the whalers, but over the years the frost heave has puhed the bodies back out of the ground to the delight of the bears and archeologists who were fascinated by the clothing and other artifacts that were uncovered. Today the ground is roped off. We walked along the coast a short distance then climbed the hill for good views. But madness descended on some people and they dived into the freezing water. Back on board it was lunch time and then a short rest before our next fjord adventure.
Video of Magelenefjord
A short video taken as we passed up the coast towards the entrance to Magelenefjord. The sea was rough adn the wind blowing strongl. There is no sound on this video
Video of the polar plunge
Yes, they were mad...
With the wind still strong and the seas rough, we searched out the sheltered waters at the head of Smeerenburg and the glacier that tumbled down into the sea. It was a jumble of ice, badly fractured as it crept over the rocky land, but it provided a nice quiet environment for us to cruise around in the Zodiacs to look at the blue ice bergs that were floated in the bay. While we were there, more ice fell off the face of the glacier but we were not troubled by the ice or the wave that followed.
Along the snout of a glacier
A short video taken as we motored in the Zodiac near the snout of the glacier
Just when we thought we could settle down for a rest and quiet drink in the late afternoon another bear was sighted. This one was ambling along the edge of the ice close to the water, so we crept up close and watched as she walked clowly along the coast. Through binoclars we could see she had a tracking collar - hence the "she". When she reached the rocky point it became difficult to clamber over the rocks, so she slipped into the water and swam off.
Last updated: 30/11/2015