Where last year there was a lot of ice early in the season around Spitsbergen, this year there is none. In the past two trips, we either had to go 130 nautical miles west (halfway Greenland) or to 81º30’N to find sea ice. And it was only the end of June, still, a lot of summer left. I wonder where we would have to go to find ice during our August trips.
Even though being in the sea ice is an excellent experience in itself, the wildlife was a bit disappointing. We saw only a few seals and, despite many hours of searching for them and seeing several fresh tracks, no Polar Bears. We did see, however, a lot of Ivory Gulls. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this many Ivory Gulls in one day (okay, apart from some days with fresh Polar Bear kills). It was beautiful to hear their shrieking call while scanning the ice for bears and to see those white angels appear from the clouds or fog.