“Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a Polar bear on portside!” That was the first announcement of the day, and it was just 6:02am! What a start in an arctic explorer day. Just some minutes later we found a second bear at the beach. He just had breakfast – a huge reindeer and this bear should not be the last Polar bear of the day.
We were sailing through the Freemansund, a narrow passage between Barentsøya and Edgeøya. The morning sun covered the mountain slopes with the tundra vegetation in a warm golden tone. Several herds of reindeer could be seen in the hills. World looked like paradise.
Around 8:00 we reached our landing site for the morning – Kapp Lee on Edge Øya; and here he was waiting for us - our third Polar bear of the day. His head was very black from dry blood. We could see an old carcass of any mammal at the beach; his food for some days. After a while the bear gave us the landing site free, but he stayed in the surrounding. To stay on the save side we landed in very small groups for app. ½. A big thank you to “His Royal Highness of the Arctic“ for his kindness to give us the possibility at least for a short landing.
The afternoon we spent on board. The lecturer team had prepared several topics for us about history, ice and birds. We thought that we would have time for relaxing this afternoon but it turned out differently. Just after the first lecture series we heard the announcement: “Whales, whales, whales!” And we have to say, it was incredible. We saw whales all over. It look as if we were cruising in a soup of different kind of whales! Minke whales, Humpback whales and Fin whales were feeding in the bay. From some whales we could see only the blast, but many of them showed us their never-ending backs and the flukes. Several whales even jumped out of the water. An unbelievable experience we will never forget. We saw female whales with their calves just next to FRAM. The officers tried to hold MV FRAM in the best position to watch the whales. For nearly three hours we have been out on the open decks or at least in the Observation Lounge on deck 7 with our cameras and binoculars to see this whale demonstration.