Saturday 27 July 2013

Recherchebreen and Bamsebu

This morning we were due to land at Vårsolbukta at 08:00 but there was too much wave action at the beach and therefore not safe to operate the Polar Cirkel in safety.  We decided to move to the opposite side of Bellsund to Recherchefjord and Recherchebreen.  This side of Bellsund was very sheltered form the wind.  At 09:00 the Expedition Team went on shore to survey the site for bears.  The all clear signal was soon given and our Polar Cirkel boats began shuttling everyone to shore.  We landed on a nice gravel beach.  From there you could roam around a large moraine plain left from the now retreating Recherchebreen.  In front of Recherchebreen was a large glacial lake.  A small river of glacial outflow joined the lake to the sea.

The Expedition Team set up a perimetre within which we could stroll at our leisure.  The sun shone on steep mountains which rose on either side of the glacial plain.   With the brilliant sunshine, blue skies, the mountains, and the glacial front, no one cared that we switched landing sites.  Indeed, it seemed to have been completely forgotten. 

After lunch at 14:45 we landed at Bamsebu.  This is a site that was used by hunters in the 1930s that were hunting for Beluga whales .  Whale oil at that time was still valuable.  The hunters only used the skins and the blubber.  The rest of the animal was discarded.  The bones of an estimated 550 whales lie on the beach close to a small cabin.

Once again the Expedition Team fanned out to make sure no Polar Bears were lurking in the area.  Once the all clear was given, the Expedition Team led us on a 1 hour tour of the site where they explained the history of the area. Depending on which team member you were with, you learned about the geology, or the biology of the region.

While everyone was roaming around the moraine plain, several people went out kayaking.  It was a perfect day for it.  Virtually no wind and very sunny.  At approximately 19:30 everyone was back on board.

In the evening we were entertained with a fashion show.  The officers and Expedition Team modelled all of the clothes from the gift shop.  While no one had any runway experience it was still a lot of fun.