The arctic sea is very rich of plankton, krill and fish – a paradise for birds and other mammals. The birdlife is amazing – sometimes hundreds of birds flying over you and so beautiful ones. Below some snapshots to share with you.
Below a fascinating picture of a cadger-gull following a seagull to force it to vomit its caught fish …… the seagull cries fleeing…..
Svalbard is famous for its more than 2,000 glaciers. Unfortunately, almost all of them are withdrawing because of global warming. Their sceneries are breathtaking.
The largest glacier is Brasvellbreen of which the waterfront is more than 200 km long – just amazing! A glacier river even ends in a glacier waterfall into the sea.
And finally some close-ups of glacier walls. Fantastic to hear the noise of the glaciers moving forward and a very special experience when the glacier is calving into the sea.
We were also very lucky to see a large number of arctic foxes – either hunting for eggs and young birds, approaching us for curiosity or just playing around (once even two young foxes with a reindeer). Many of them were still changing from their beautiful white winter fur to a brownish summer fur.
We even found a fox on drift ice, likely following a polar bear for getting some food left-overs. Later on he swam between drift ice which is known to happen very seldom.
On the search for whales we encountered a group of belugas along the coast. At least eight belugas stayed with us for some time.
In addition, we encountered several seals.
In the arctic world of Svalbard nature has to cope with cold temperatures, tough weather conditions and short summers. Consequently, all flowers are really tiny. Most extreme are the arctic trees which are even smaller than 1 cm ….. unbelievable … see below.
And the tiny flowers are beautiful and so colorful. A small number of examples below.
And lastly, the tundra landscape is so different to what we know – just breathtaking!
Other highlights of the arctic wildlife were the encounter with walruses. On 80° North we saw the first group of walruses on the small island Moffen.
Shortly thereafter, a group of three walruses were on drift ice.
Later during our cruise we had several more encounters with these strange and interesting animals. A few more impressions below.
Viewing and cruising through drift ice was just beautiful. We could have gone on forever – never getting enough of such views and memories.