Polar Bear Hunt 2015 - Day 7

Expedition Day 2: Hornsund

What was planned...
What actually happened...

After our first dinner on board and our first night at sea, we awoke to an overcast sky and a warm 6°C out of the wind! In the distance was bare rock, with patches of snow and ice, and the occasional glacier filling in the valleys. We turned into one of the fjords and headed for a lowering cliff. At its foot was a smudge of colour - green - that would prove to be a rarity on this voyage. This would be our first landing place ashore.

Ron & Janine pretending its not cold...
Heading out of the fjord into the Greenland Sea
Sailing south along the coast, passing mountains, snow...
and glaciers.
Then sailing into Hornsund...
passing the Quark Expedition's ship.
The cloud was very low.
Approaching Gnalodden, with its smudge of green at the base.

Ashore at Hornsund

Now was the time to be fitted for our expedition coats and for that most important accessory - fleece-lined gumboots. After a hearty breakfast (they were all hearty!) we dressed up like stuffed penguins (or the Michelin-Man) and went through the first of the Zodiac drills.

Adam, the entertainer, also doubled as the "mud-room" manager, checking clothing, the all-important lifejackets (sorry - "personal flotation devices") and then made sure we swiped our room cards through the reader so the system knoew we were leaving the ship. We had to swipe them again to get onboard.

After dropping anchor, a Zodiac was lowered
so someone could check the weather, the sea and look out for polar bears...
They would land and look around.
Then return to the ship to start ferrying people ashore.
First we had to dress up, in regulation red coats.
Line up for lifejacket check and swipe card.
And then you are onto the Zodiac and discover how cold it really is outside..
Tom the driver had done it all before
But it was exciting to everyone else.
Another Zodiac heads off to the shore.
The MS Expedition seems a long way off.
Sentry on Polar Bear watch.
Look! A bird.
For a region full of snow and ice, liquid water was very rare.
But the birds knew it was there. They came and bathed in it....
Then filled their beaks with mud and flew off - adobe-style nests.
What's that?
Mr FOX!.
The area was once used as a base for seal hunting.
The logs are not reinforcing against the wind, but against polar bears.
Flowers was surprisingly common.
A nesting pair.
Gnalodden cliff is used by many birds at nesting time. They are hard to see on the cliff, but...
There are many of them wheeling around in the sky.
Then it was back onto the Zodiacs...
A push into deep water,
And back to the ship for lunch.

Continuing South

After we were all back on board, and the person who had not swiped their card properly was located (on board), we moved out of Hornsund fjord and continued south, passing more rock and ice. Then it was time for a discussion of the day's activities, a drink and then another round of eating (groan....).

Gnalodden recedes into the mist.
Scenes as we sailed south along the coast of Svalbard.


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Last updated: 18/10/2015