As every nature photographer will tell you, it’s important to get at the same level as the subject you’re photographing. This will bring you into the environment of the subject instead of being a passerby. However, while photographing potential lethal animals like Polar Bears this might pose a problem. You don’t want to be too much part of their environment… Fortunately the ship I worked on, the Plancius, has a deck fairly low above the waterline, but high enough to be save for the bear.
This bear apparently just had something to eat and now had a look at the strange thing that was near him in the water. This is the best way to see any wildlife. Just position yourself somewhere near it and wait for it to approach on his own terms. This way the bear decides how close he wants to come and can leave at any time, without being disturbed.