Polar Bears at Tinayrebukta

Tinayrebukta, Spitsbergen. Day 39. 6th August 2013.

Bearded seal, Glacier, Ivory Gull, Kittiwake, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, Reindeer, seascape, Spitsbergen, Tinayrebukta, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

We had left Longyearbeyan the previous afternoon and sailed north up the coast of Spitsbergen during the night to a northern fjord, Tinayrebukta.  We piled into the zodiacs in the early morning and within half an hour came across a pair of polar bears, mother and cub, who had been feeding off a reindeer carcase and weren’t at all concerned about us.

You can go on a voyage such as this and not see a single polar bear and we had jagged two in the first half hour.

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Bearded seal, Glacier, Ivory Gull, Kittiwake, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, Reindeer, seascape, Spitsbergen, Tinayrebukta, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

This is the voyage.  Up the coast of Spitsbergen, across to Greenland, down the coast of Greenland through the fjords and then down to Iceland.  The red dots don’t all indicate stops.  Many are intermediate points to simulate the route.  There is also serious distortion here due to the Mercator projection.  Spitsbergen (or Svalbard to use the less ambiguous name) is actually half the size of Iceland.

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Bearded seal, Glacier, Ivory Gull, Kittiwake, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, Reindeer, seascape, Spitsbergen, Tinayrebukta, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

This is the voyage in Spitsbergen.  Longyearbyen is at the bottom of the map.  I have included the trip to Pyramiden.  From Longyearbyen we sailed to Tinayrebukta (this post), Lilliehöökbreen, Hamiltonbukta and Smeerenburg, then departed for Greenland.

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Bearded seal, Glacier, Ivory Gull, Kittiwake, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, Reindeer, seascape, Spitsbergen, Tinayrebukta, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

We were able to watch the polar bears for a while.

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Bearded seal, Glacier, Ivory Gull, Kittiwake, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, Reindeer, seascape, Spitsbergen, Tinayrebukta, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

After a while they settled down.

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Bearded seal, Glacier, Ivory Gull, Kittiwake, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, Reindeer, seascape, Spitsbergen, Tinayrebukta, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

… for an after-dinner snooze.

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Bearded seal, Glacier, Ivory Gull, Kittiwake, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, Reindeer, seascape, Spitsbergen, Tinayrebukta, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

This gives an idea of the situation.  There were four or five zodiacs filled with people.  The bears are on the shore on the left.

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Bearded seal, Glacier, Ivory Gull, Kittiwake, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, Reindeer, seascape, Spitsbergen, Tinayrebukta, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Bear and reindeer carcase.

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Bearded seal, Glacier, Ivory Gull, Kittiwake, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, Reindeer, seascape, Spitsbergen, Tinayrebukta, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Snoozing time….

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Bearded seal, Glacier, Ivory Gull, Kittiwake, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, Reindeer, seascape, Spitsbergen, Tinayrebukta, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Not far away, a magnificent glacier spilling slowly from the mountains into a still fjord.

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Bearded seal, Glacier, Ivory Gull, Kittiwake, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, Reindeer, seascape, Spitsbergen, Tinayrebukta, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

May be a different glacier.

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Bearded seal, Glacier, Ivory Gull, Kittiwake, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, Reindeer, seascape, Spitsbergen, Tinayrebukta, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Same glacier, further back.

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Bearded seal, Glacier, Ivory Gull, Kittiwake, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, Reindeer, seascape, Spitsbergen, Tinayrebukta, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Black guillemots.

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Bearded seal, Glacier, Ivory Gull, Kittiwake, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, Reindeer, seascape, Spitsbergen, Tinayrebukta, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

A great number of gulls in front of a glacier.

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Bearded seal, Glacier, Ivory Gull, Kittiwake, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, Reindeer, seascape, Spitsbergen, Tinayrebukta, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Ivory gull.

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Bearded seal, Glacier, Ivory Gull, Kittiwake, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, Reindeer, seascape, Spitsbergen, Tinayrebukta, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Kittiwake.

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Bearded seal, Glacier, Ivory Gull, Kittiwake, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, Reindeer, seascape, Spitsbergen, Tinayrebukta, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Bearded Seal.

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Bearded seal, Glacier, Ivory Gull, Kittiwake, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, Reindeer, seascape, Spitsbergen, Tinayrebukta, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Bearded Seal.

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Bearded seal, Glacier, Ivory Gull, Kittiwake, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, Reindeer, seascape, Spitsbergen, Tinayrebukta, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Ice on the water.

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Bearded seal, Glacier, Ivory Gull, Kittiwake, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, Reindeer, seascape, Spitsbergen, Tinayrebukta, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Another massive glacier.

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Bearded seal, Glacier, Ivory Gull, Kittiwake, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, Reindeer, seascape, Spitsbergen, Tinayrebukta, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

The same view from further out.

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Bearded seal, Glacier, Ivory Gull, Kittiwake, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, Reindeer, seascape, Spitsbergen, Tinayrebukta, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Now we were starting to head back to the ship for lunch.

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Bearded seal, Glacier, Ivory Gull, Kittiwake, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, Reindeer, seascape, Spitsbergen, Tinayrebukta, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

There’s the ship (Polar Pioneer) on the left, and a couple of zodiacs heading back towards it.

11 comments on “Polar Bears at Tinayrebukta

  1. what stunning pictures!

    Like

  2. Wonderful shots. Thank you for ‘taking me’ on a trip I could never accomplish in real life. I would be unable to enjoy any view from such a ship, or a zodiac – I get seasick on anything too big to row. The last two shots are my favorites, though I also love the blue colors and abstract patterns in the glacier in the gulls shot. And am I the only one to notice that the green net in the first pic is laid out to appear like a dolphin?

    Like

    • Murray Foote says:

      Thanks very much Jeni. I seem to be OK on the sea so far, even in a force 9 gale in the South Atlantic. I certainly hadn’t seen the dolphin shape in the net. I have several posts coming up with abstract shapes in the ice.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What an incredible experience…and photos to go with it.

    Like

    • Murray Foote says:

      Thanks very much, Robert. There’s a certain amount of luck involved too. A couple from the Canberra Photographic Society who did the journey in the opposite direction encountered bad weather all the way and didn’t see any polar bears.

      Like

  4. Dreamvoyager says:

    Wow this must have been an amazing and expensive journey!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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