||80°28.7’N / 014°28.7’E
Good morning, good morning on another beautiful day on the Plancius! While we were getting ready for our landing at Mushamna, a Minke whale was spotted, swimming by the ship. The landing also started well, with two ivory gulls flying around the site! We split up in three groups, one went for a long walk up the hill, one for a walk along the beach, and one free roaming on the beach. We also had a group enjoying the calm waters from a kayak. The water acted like a mirror, reflecting the surrounding mountains and glaciers.
Although the landscape looked barren, we did see many nice plants: Mountain avens, Svalbard poppy, Tufted saxifrage and we walked through a ‘forest’ of Polar willow. The freezing and thawing in the area also led to beautiful stone rings, a form of frost-patterned ground. Around the corner from the beach where we landed there were two trapper huts, one of which was built in 1927 by Hilmar Nøis, who built several huts in the area. The second hut was built in 1987 by Kjell Reidar Hovelsrud in 1987, a relatively big, modern hut that he used for overwintering and trapping until 1994. On the long walk we also found an old wooden trap that was used to catch foxes.
Our plans in the afternoon were slightly disrupted by a bear sighting close to our planned landing site at Worsleyneset. The captain spotted this bear at Antenøya from a distance of 3 km! We circled around the island to get a bit closer and while doing that, we saw another Minke whale and a seal. While a landing would have been too dangerous, we were able to get the zodiacs in the water and go for a cruise, under close observation from the bridge. Whilst moving towards the island, the polar bear was spotted swimming to the peninsula, where he climbed on to the land. We approached the bear carefully and, from a safe distance, we observed him from the zodiacs. The polar bear was male and seemed well fed and healthy, walking along the beach. What an amazing sighting to finish of the day!
In the evening we passed by Moffen on our way to the northeast. The flat, low-lying, moraine island is hard to spot on a day with rough seas.