Harbour Seals

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

From Hamiltonbukta in the morning, we sailed to Smeerenburg.

Glacier, Harbour Seals, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, seascape, Smeerenburg, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

We ventured out in the zodiacs in the late morning and here is a selection of the surrounding glaciers.  The ship is not the one we were one.

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Glacier, Harbour Seals, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, seascape, Smeerenburg, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Zodiacs at the bottom of the glacier give a sense of scale.  Although the glacier looks solid and stable, it is moving, so it can’t be too safe to hang around at its base (the zodiacs aren’t actually that close).  For example, there is a large rock on top of it probably somewhere between the size of a zodiac and a small house.  After months or years that is going to tumble down the front.

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Glacier, Harbour Seals, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, seascape, Smeerenburg, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

This is a huge moraine wall which shows how far that glacier has receded.

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Glacier, Harbour Seals, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, seascape, Smeerenburg, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

A wider view, with the glacier and moraine wall from the preceding image on the left.

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Glacier, Harbour Seals, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, seascape, Smeerenburg, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Glacier, Harbour Seals, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, seascape, Smeerenburg, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

After some time in the bay, we went back for lunch.

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Glacier, Harbour Seals, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, seascape, Smeerenburg, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

After lunch, we went back to a different area.  Carol (the expedition’s archaeologist) was showing some remains from a whaling station that used to be there.  Another group of us was experimenting with neutral density filters and long exposures.  This is an eight-second image from that exercise.  There are lots of logs lying around in the background.

I still had impaired mobility and wasn’t racing round as much as the others.  So Don, the expedition leader, who had decided to reconnoitre another area in a zodiac, invited me along.  This proved a very fortuitous opportunity.  We encountered a herd of harbour seals relaxing on the rocks.  As I was the only photographer in the zodiac, I was able to get much better images than would have been possible in a full zodiac.

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Glacier, Harbour Seals, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, seascape, Smeerenburg, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Glacier, Harbour Seals, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, seascape, Smeerenburg, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Glacier, Harbour Seals, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, seascape, Smeerenburg, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Glacier, Harbour Seals, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, seascape, Smeerenburg, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Glacier, Harbour Seals, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, seascape, Smeerenburg, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Glacier, Harbour Seals, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, seascape, Smeerenburg, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Glacier, Harbour Seals, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, seascape, Smeerenburg, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Glacier, Harbour Seals, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, seascape, Smeerenburg, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Glacier, Harbour Seals, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, seascape, Smeerenburg, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Glacier, Harbour Seals, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, seascape, Smeerenburg, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Glacier, Harbour Seals, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, seascape, Smeerenburg, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Glacier, Harbour Seals, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, seascape, Smeerenburg, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Glacier, Harbour Seals, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, seascape, Smeerenburg, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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13 comments on “Harbour Seals

  1. lensaddiction says:

    Love the scale shots of the glaciers, really brings it home how big they are, and great seal shots, they look very plump

    Liked by 1 person

  2. W.H. SIM says:

    oh, to be as blissfully happy as those seals!!: D

    Liked by 1 person

  3. OK. How did that big rock get up there? And, what caused the hole in the muzzle forward of the eye on that first seal? Awesome photos as always.

    Like

    • Murray Foote says:

      (1) It’s on the top of the ice, so my guess is that it fell of a cliff further back, perhaps undermined by the glacier.

      (2) You don’t mean the ear? That’s the only hole I see.

      Like

      • Thanks for the reply. Don’t ask about number 2. 😉
        I must have missed, but what was your impaired mobility due to? How old are you once more?

        Like

      • Murray Foote says:

        65 now, 63 then.

        I had a baker’s cyst in my right leg when I boarded the ship. Towards the end of the voyage I also developed cellulitis in that leg and was given lots of antibiotics and largely confined to bed for the last day or two. With a day or two to go I also hit a hatch cover with the shin on my other leg, causing a strained achilles tendon (recurrence of an old cricket injury). When I got to Iceland to my surprise a doctor in the hospital declared me cured for the bakers cyst and cellulitis and then I just had to wait for the achilles tendon to slowly come good over the next week or two.

        Like

  4. Karen Wattie says:

    Wonderful post. What. Could be better than glaciers and seals? Makes me yearn for my youth in Comox B.C.

    Like

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