Saturday, 18 August 2012

Blue whales in the midnight sun

 02.00 At night: Ding Dong…Sorry to make an announcement so late, but we have blue whales at our starboard side….When we arrived on the bow of deck 5 the whales just had  made a dive so we had to wait for around 5 minutes, but then we were rewarded. We could enjoy a blue whale mom with her calf close to the ship for around an hour.  An amazing experience to hear the blows and see the whales so close  and especially in the soft light from the midnight sun just hanging above the horizon. The next morning the expedition-team went ashore around 8 o’ clock.  We were guided in groups to the hut called Bamsebu which had still the prints of polar beer paws from last week left on the door. At the end of the landing we had the luck to see a pod of Beluga whales very close to the shore. That was a little bit weird in a way, since the area around Bamsebu in the 1930’s was used for Beluga whales hunt and the bones of around 550 whales are lying on the beach. In the afternoon we sailed to Vårsolbukta, but we got the news from the expeditionleader that the tide conditions and swell on the landingsite were unfavorable to make a landing. So we sailed further in van Mijenfjorden, around Axeløya and could enjoy the beautiful scenery of the area there. At three o’clock we heard the DING DONG again and plan B was presented: a landing at Axeløya! It was fantastic, the expedition-team was posted on the hills and we could wander in between to enjoy all the birds and even some reindeers. We spotted kittiwakes, red-throated divers, terns, female common eiders, arctic skuas and glaucous gulls and several smaller birds running around on the mossy parts. It was a fantastic day!