Guillemots, Walruses and a Polar Bear

Hamiltonbukta, Spitsbergen. Day 40. 7th August 2013.

We had sailed overnight and were now in the remote bay of Hamiltonbukta, probably around forty kilometres from where those sealers were frozen in, in 1872.  Early in the morning, we set out in the zodiacs.

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Glacier, Guillemots, Hamiltonbukta, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Walrus, Wilderness, Wildlife

These are bird cliffs.  There are thousands of guillemots up there nesting on little ledges.

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Glacier, Guillemots, Hamiltonbukta, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Walrus, Wilderness, Wildlife

If you click on this image, you can see some of the birds up there.  We were at the time when the chicks leave the nest, high on the cliffs.  The only problem is that they haven’t flown before and they don’t do it very well.  The parents call to them from down on the sea and they throw themselves out of the nest, half flying down to the sea, often bouncing off rocks on the way down but usually seemingly little the worse for wear.  However, it is a hazardous journey and skuas and glaucous gulls are waiting to snap up any chicks they can, particularly the ones that don’t make it to the sea.

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Glacier, Guillemots, Hamiltonbukta, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Walrus, Wilderness, Wildlife

Here’s one that made it down safely,

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Glacier, Guillemots, Hamiltonbukta, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Walrus, Wilderness, Wildlife

now reunited with Mum

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Glacier, Guillemots, Hamiltonbukta, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Walrus, Wilderness, Wildlife

and paddling off together.

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Glacier, Guillemots, Hamiltonbukta, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Walrus, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Glacier, Guillemots, Hamiltonbukta, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Walrus, Wilderness, Wildlife

This is just a cliff, no ledges for the guillemots to nest.  Note the waterfall at the right though.

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Glacier, Guillemots, Hamiltonbukta, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Walrus, Wilderness, Wildlife

 

A little later we encountered a couple of walruses, mother and cub.

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Glacier, Guillemots, Hamiltonbukta, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Walrus, Wilderness, Wildlife

They looked at us for a while, then slid back into the water.

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Glacier, Guillemots, Hamiltonbukta, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Walrus, Wilderness, Wildlife

These were the only walruses we were to encounter on the journey.

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Glacier, Guillemots, Hamiltonbukta, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Walrus, Wilderness, Wildlife

Another of the ubiquitous glaciers of Spitsbergen.

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Glacier, Guillemots, Hamiltonbukta, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Walrus, Wilderness, Wildlife

I didn’t expect to see a yacht so far north, though.

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Glacier, Guillemots, Hamiltonbukta, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Walrus, Wilderness, Wildlife

There was also a stray polar bear up on the cliffs.  They are usually solitary.

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Glacier, Guillemots, Hamiltonbukta, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Walrus, Wilderness, Wildlife

There are 2,000 to 3,000 polar bears in Spitsbergen (or Svalbard if you prefer).  The males grow to 350-500kg and the females 150-250kg.  They are 2 to 3 metres long.

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Glacier, Guillemots, Hamiltonbukta, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Walrus, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Glacier, Guillemots, Hamiltonbukta, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Walrus, Wilderness, Wildlife

Patterns and details in the glacier….

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Glacier, Guillemots, Hamiltonbukta, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Walrus, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Glacier, Guillemots, Hamiltonbukta, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Walrus, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Glacier, Guillemots, Hamiltonbukta, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Walrus, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Glacier, Guillemots, Hamiltonbukta, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Walrus, Wilderness, Wildlife

The floating ice sometimes assumes fantastic shapes.

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Glacier, Guillemots, Hamiltonbukta, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Walrus, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Glacier, Guillemots, Hamiltonbukta, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Walrus, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Glacier, Guillemots, Hamiltonbukta, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Walrus, Wilderness, Wildlife

The scale of the glaciers is most impressive.

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Glacier, Guillemots, Hamiltonbukta, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Walrus, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Glacier, Guillemots, Hamiltonbukta, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Walrus, Wilderness, Wildlife

Bird cliffs again.

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Glacier, Guillemots, Hamiltonbukta, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Walrus, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Glacier, Guillemots, Hamiltonbukta, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Walrus, Wilderness, Wildlife .

(I am about to increase my posting rate until the end of the month.  One a day is not enough to finish Spitsbergen and Greenland in that time so some days there will be two posts).

7 comments on “Guillemots, Walruses and a Polar Bear

  1. Once again, incredible image of a wonderful experience. And I still wonder how you get the images from your camera to your post.

    Like

  2. GMG Galleries says:

    Paddling off together is an absolutely amazing photo. The rest are good too, but that’s my favourite.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. W.H. SIM says:

    magnificent shots and a great post. humanity is but a blip in time compared to the immense age of these mountains, and the generations of wildlife who live among and near them.

    Like

  4. […] Guillemots after first flight fall. […]

    Like

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