Spitsbergen Monochromes

Spitsbergen. Days 39 to 41. 6th to 8th August 2013.

Bearded seal, Black and White, Blue whale, Glacier, Harbour Seals, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Polar Bears.

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Bearded seal, Black and White, Blue whale, Glacier, Harbour Seals, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Polar Bears.

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Bearded seal, Black and White, Blue whale, Glacier, Harbour Seals, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Tinayrebukta Glacier.

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Bearded seal, Black and White, Blue whale, Glacier, Harbour Seals, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Bearded Seal.

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Bearded seal, Black and White, Blue whale, Glacier, Harbour Seals, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Kittiwakes.

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Bearded seal, Black and White, Blue whale, Glacier, Harbour Seals, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Lilliehöökbreen Glacier.

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Bearded seal, Black and White, Blue whale, Glacier, Harbour Seals, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Blue Whale.

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Bearded seal, Black and White, Blue whale, Glacier, Harbour Seals, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Blue Whale.

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Bearded seal, Black and White, Blue whale, Glacier, Harbour Seals, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Blue Whale.

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Bearded seal, Black and White, Blue whale, Glacier, Harbour Seals, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Guillemots after first flight fall.

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Bearded seal, Black and White, Blue whale, Glacier, Harbour Seals, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Guillemots after first flight fall.

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Bearded seal, Black and White, Blue whale, Glacier, Harbour Seals, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Walrus.

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Bearded seal, Black and White, Blue whale, Glacier, Harbour Seals, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Polar Bear.

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Bearded seal, Black and White, Blue whale, Glacier, Harbour Seals, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Glacier at Hamiltonbukta.

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Bearded seal, Black and White, Blue whale, Glacier, Harbour Seals, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Glacier at Hamiltonbukta.

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Bearded seal, Black and White, Blue whale, Glacier, Harbour Seals, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Glacier at Hamiltonbukta.

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Bearded seal, Black and White, Blue whale, Glacier, Harbour Seals, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Smeerenburg.

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Bearded seal, Black and White, Blue whale, Glacier, Harbour Seals, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Smeerenburg Glacier.

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Bearded seal, Black and White, Blue whale, Glacier, Harbour Seals, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Harbour Seal.

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Bearded seal, Black and White, Blue whale, Glacier, Harbour Seals, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Harbour Seal.

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Bearded seal, Black and White, Blue whale, Glacier, Harbour Seals, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Harbour Seal.

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Bearded seal, Black and White, Blue whale, Glacier, Harbour Seals, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Mid-Atlantic ice.

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Bearded seal, Black and White, Blue whale, Glacier, Harbour Seals, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Mid-Atlantic ice.

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Bearded seal, Black and White, Blue whale, Glacier, Harbour Seals, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Polar bear in ice.

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Bearded seal, Black and White, Blue whale, Glacier, Harbour Seals, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Polar bear on ice floe.

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Bearded seal, Black and White, Blue whale, Glacier, Harbour Seals, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Midnight ice.
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Ice is Nice

Between Spitsbergen and Greenland. Days 41 and 42. 8th to 9th August 2013.

Greenland, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

All shots are at sea between Spitsbergen and Iceland.

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Greenland, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Still close to Spitsbergen, we passed a seal on a floating ice shelf.

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Greenland, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Always, interesting pattern in the ice.

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Greenland, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Greenland, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Greenland, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Greenland, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Greenland, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Greenland, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Greenland, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Perhaps some kind of frozen prehistoric marine monster.

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Greenland, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Greenland, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

This is the bow of the ship (a Russian icebreaker, originally built in Finland), cutting through the ice.

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Greenland, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

And then we saw a couple of polar bears swimming (this is a long way away).

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Greenland, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

That’s not a dog, it’s a polar bear!

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Greenland, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Watching us….

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Greenland, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Greenland, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Going down….

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Greenland, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

This is not land.  The polar bear is walking on an ice floe, sea covered by ice.

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Greenland, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

This will soon be an historic image.  Within ten years, at most twenty, all the sea ice in the Arctic will be gone.  The polar bears may go too, because hunting seals on the ice floes is an essential part of their way of life.  They can swim a long way but already some are likely drowning before they find the next patch of ice.

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Greenland, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

A brief sunset-type moment, where the sea fog cleared enough for the sun to come through.  It is 11:15pm, still too far north for the sun to actually set.

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Greenland, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Greenland, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Greenland, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Greenland, Icebergs, Nature, Photography, Polar Bears, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Ice Is Nice, that’s what they say,
Ice Is Nice, throw some my way,
Ice Is Nice on any day,
Twice as nice when violins play.

(Deliberately misquoted)

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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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).

Blue Whales

At sea, Spitsbergen. Day 39. 6th August 2013.

Blue whale, Glacier, Nature, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Whale, Wilderness, Wildlife

At 11:30pm, we were summoned on deck for a sighting of a couple of blue whales.  It being very far north in summer, there was still plenty of light and the sun wasn’t intending to set.  We sailed along with them for some distance, although they were several hundred metres away.

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Blue whale, Glacier, Nature, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Whale, Wilderness, Wildlife

Blue whales are the largest animal ever known to have lived, at up to 30 metres long and 180 tonnes in weight.  This is one of the reasons why you are most unlikely to see a blue whale in an Olympic-size swimming pool.  The largest dinosaurs may have been as long but their length is usually an extrapolation from just a few vertebrae and as land animals, their weight was a fraction of the blue whale.

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Blue whale, Glacier, Nature, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Whale, Wilderness, Wildlife

It is much easier to photograph a blue whale than a humpback whale because they swim along in a straight line and surface several times before going down.  This means it is easy to predict where it may come up again and may also account for why they were hunted almost to extinction by the early 20th century.

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Blue whale, Glacier, Nature, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Whale, Wilderness, Wildlife

Taking photographs of the whales is one thing, but including some of the setting gives another dimension of context.

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Blue whale, Glacier, Nature, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Whale, Wilderness, Wildlife

We were somewhere near the north-west corner of Spitsbergen.

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Blue whale, Glacier, Nature, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Whale, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Blue whale, Glacier, Nature, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Whale, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Blue whale, Glacier, Nature, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Whale, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Lilliehöökbreen

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

Black guillemot, Glacier, Kittiwake, Lilliehöökbreen, Nature, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

From Tinayrebukta we sailed about twenty-six kilometres to the end of the neighbouring (fjord) Lilliehöökfjorden at Lilliehöökbreen.  This is where a massive glacier comes out, twenty-two kilometres long and eight kilometres wide at the end of the fjord.

If you’re on a PC, click the image to see it at a much larger size and get a tiny snippet of the great majesty of the location.

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Black guillemot, Glacier, Kittiwake, Lilliehöökbreen, Nature, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Black guillemot, Glacier, Kittiwake, Lilliehöökbreen, Nature, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Remarkable shapes in the details atop the glacier.

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Black guillemot, Glacier, Kittiwake, Lilliehöökbreen, Nature, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Black guillemot, Glacier, Kittiwake, Lilliehöökbreen, Nature, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Black guillemot, Glacier, Kittiwake, Lilliehöökbreen, Nature, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Black guillemot, Glacier, Kittiwake, Lilliehöökbreen, Nature, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

A distant view with a long lens.

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Black guillemot, Glacier, Kittiwake, Lilliehöökbreen, Nature, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

A black guillemot taking off.

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Black guillemot, Glacier, Kittiwake, Lilliehöökbreen, Nature, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Kittiwakes.

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Black guillemot, Glacier, Kittiwake, Lilliehöökbreen, Nature, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Kittiwakes.

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Black guillemot, Glacier, Kittiwake, Lilliehöökbreen, Nature, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Kittiwakes.

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Black guillemot, Glacier, Kittiwake, Lilliehöökbreen, Nature, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Kittiwakes.

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Black guillemot, Glacier, Kittiwake, Lilliehöökbreen, Nature, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Note the ship, which gives you an idea of the scale.  It is 72 metres long.  Click on the image for a larger size if you can’t see it.

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Black guillemot, Glacier, Kittiwake, Lilliehöökbreen, Nature, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Black guillemot, Glacier, Kittiwake, Lilliehöökbreen, Nature, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

The ship is also visible here. (Click to expand to much larger size).

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Black guillemot, Glacier, Kittiwake, Lilliehöökbreen, Nature, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

An ice duck.

Sometimes the ice berglets can assume fanciful shapes.  This is a selection from the previous image.

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Black guillemot, Glacier, Kittiwake, Lilliehöökbreen, Nature, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

(Image expands to much larger size if you click on it).

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Black guillemot, Glacier, Kittiwake, Lilliehöökbreen, Nature, Photography, seascape, Spitsbergen, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife.

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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.