Sunday 28 July 2013


Two landings and several excursions were set for the day in the area in and around Kongsfjorden, an area that is arguably one of the most beautiful places in Svalbard. The morning started off with a landing at 14 Julibukta, a beautiful glacier calving into the sea. Surrounding cliffs also support sea birds; species of Guillemots and Kittiwakes were rearing their young in the cliffs, as Glaucous gulls patrolled looking for a meal. We were lucky to spot over twenty fat, healthy reindeer grazing as the first groups landed on shore. A walk along the cliffs took guests past the hall of silence, a brief reprieve from the birds calling from the surrounding nesting sites.

Several guests arrived on shore to find a territorial Arctic Skua attempting, and I might add succeeding, to drive some of the intruders off its beach. Some of the more adventurous signed up for a walk up to the glacier, and were afforded beautiful views down upon the glacier from which the fjord is named.

The next landing after lunch was at Ny-Ålesund, not only one of the world’s northernmost communities, but also the site at which several historical attempts to reach the North Pole by air set off from. Ten people were also able to join a kayak trip paddling towards the glacier at the end of the fjord. The weather was calm, and aside from exploring several ice bergs, the trip was a great way to see the surrounding glaciers, geologic formations, and two bird colonies. The fishing trip that went out at the same time of the Ny-Ålesund landing was maybe not as successful at catching fish as they were at the seeing animals that spend their lives doing it for survival. They were able to spot puffins, seals, and the first ones on the trip to spot walrus that spent some time swimming around the boat.