|79°20.4’N / 011°41.4’E
Another beautiful day in Svalbard, after breakfast all of the zodiacs were lowered as the expedition team prepared for a morning zodiac cruise. We spent over two hours exploring the bay, getting a sense of the sheer size of the Lillehookbreen glacier, photographing the varying shades of colour and the different ice formations. The sun was shining, and we could hear the loud thunder like sounds as we witnessed a few calving’s from the glacier front.
There was plenty of wildlife around with a number of bird species spotted, including, common eider ducks, arctic terns, arctic skua, kittiwakes, brunnichs guillemot and even a brief glimpse for some, of a king eider and long tailed skua in flight. In the water we observed a few different species of seal, the inquisitive common seal, appearing in the water every so often looking in our direction, and the smaller ringed seal moving around in the water.
Many of us experienced true Arctic silence as the zodiac engines were turned off. We could hear the crackle and popping of the ice as the air escaped, and really enjoy the stillness and the reflections of the surrounding peaks.
Following a very short transit, we spent the afternoon anchored near Signehamna, a short zodiac ride away from the shore. We all gathered on the landing site, before dividing up into smaller groups. Those wanting a little more exercise and a slighter more elevated view embarked on a longer and faster paced hike. Other options included the medium hike, the leisurely group, and the birding group. A variety of wildlife was observed during the afternoon including Svalbard reindeer, arctic turns, many kittiwakes including dozens gathered on a few of the lakes at a slightly higher elevation. The birders and leisurely groups enjoyed a nice view of some king eider ducks on the water; and in some areas remains from the German marine weather station ‘Knospe’ could be seen too.
The kayakers enjoyed exceptionally calm paddling conditions during both the morning and the afternoon, taking in similar sights and surroundings from the comfort of their kayaks.
After another great day, we all headed back to the ship for our evening recap with the plans for the following day, followed by another delicious evening meal.