Monday 15 August 2011

Texas Bar and Monacobreen

Just before we landed at Texas Bar at 08:30, a Polar Bear was spotted from the by the officers on the bridge.  It was at least 2 kilometres away.  The Expedition Team went ashore and established a perimeter of spotters to keep an eye out for the bear.  The bear was far in the distance and seemed unconcerned with our presence. After about an hour the bear slowly moved away.  The lucky few first passengers ashore caught a glimpse of the bear with their binoculars.  
At this location we were free to hike around on our own within the boundaries set up by the Expedition Team.  There were several high vantages points where one could get an excellent view of the region.  There was an old trapper’s hut that we could peak into and if we wished, we could enter our names in a log book in the cabin.
The hotel department brought some snacks and hot beverages ashore which were much appreciated by everyone.

In the afternoon we went cruising in the Polar Cirkel boats in the brash ice around Monacobreen (Monaco glacier).  It was exciting to bump and crash our way through the ice in the small but very sturdy Norwegian boats.  We stopped often to photograph beautiful blue icebergs.  At one point our driver turned the engine off so we could hear the snap-crackle and pop of the ice as it melted.  The air bubbles trapped in glacial ice are under a lot of pressure.  When the ice melts the air is released with explosive force resulting in the snapping sounds we could hear.  It was really a wonderful experience to be right in the ice!   Our forty minutes on the water seemed to pass all too quickly before it was time to return to the ship.