We usually have an easy start with the expedition. Some mandatory briefings about zodiac operations, how to behave in Polar Bear country and some things about cultural remains. Apart from these briefings we usually land in Ny Ålesund and another place in Kongsfjord, typically an easy landing so people can get used to the zodiacs and the terrain.

IJsbeer; Polar Bear; Ursus maritimus
Polar Bear family on a dead Walrus

However this year we seem to have started a new tradition. During my first cruise of the season, we saw a mother and cub Polar Bear at quite a distance, causing excitement with our guests. With the second trip, we even had the best bears of the trip during that first day, again a mother and cub. And now, we heard during our landing in Ny Ålesund that the people in Ny Ålesund had moved the Walrus carcass that washed ashore (and attracted several bears) close to the settlement to a new location, a few miles further west. Of course, we had to check this out. And yes, we found the carcass, with a mother and cub feeding on it. So time for our first zodiac cruise. Slowly we came closer and closer when we discovered another mother and cub at the ridge above us. These two, however, were at a much larger distance, so we kept focussing on the two at the beach. Mother was happily feeding on the Walrus, while the cub had time enough to play around with some kelp in the water. After 45 minutes we decided to leave the bears alone and move on north. Three visits to Kongsfjord in a row and each time we had bears. I must say I like this new tradition…


Arjen Drost

Arjen is a Polar ecologist, nature photographer and full time expedition guide on expedition cruise ships in both Polar regions. With his pictures and stories he likes to show the beauty of these very fragile and threatened places.

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