Saturday, 31 August 2013

24 hours a day are not enough!

MV FRAM reached the Monaco glacier in Liefde Fjord around 8:00 in the morning. Here we got the possibility for a very interesting cruise with our little PolarCircel Boats along the calving front of this huge and impressive glacier. The view to the glacier directly from the sea level was so different to the view we got from Fram. Everything looked so much higher and bigger. The light and weather was perfect for the cruising and for ice pictures. As we had no direct sunshine we could see the blue color of the glacier very clearly. Glaucous Gulls and Kittiwakes were flying in front of the glacier or were resting on the ice floes. Some of us could even see seals in the water. It was hard to leave the ice behind and return to the Fram to be ready for the exchange with the next group. Under these excellent conditions everybody forgot the cold in front of the glacier.

After this glacier event we enjoyed lunch with our travel companions. Everybody believed that their cruise had been the most spectacular trip of the day; and that is OK; at least it was unforgettable for everyone.

The early afternoon we spent in the lecture hall to listen to the different lectures given by the expedition team – and then we heard the announcement we were waiting for: Polar bear!!!!!!!!! Everybody ran to their cabins to pick up a warm jacket and the camera and then we were standing all together at the ship’s bow or in the Observation Lounge on deck 7 to watch the king of the Arctic. He was faithful and gave us enough time to watch him before he made the decision to go to the water and swim away.

Our late afternoon landing should have been in Worsleyhamna at the northern part of the Liefdefjord. But believe it or not another Polar bear showed up and we had to see how he would behave before we could start our landing. The Polar bear gave us the way free; he made the decision to stay at an acceptable distance; so we could land.  During our landing we had enough time to see the historical remains and wildlife like a Red-throated Diver (Loon) family on a pond. This was a good possibility too to make some pictures of the tundra vegetation.

Back on board we had our dinner and then we joined a special fruit and ice carving show by our galley crew. It was impressive how creative they could be.

After dinner a special event for our strongest Arctic explorers on board started – a camping night in the high Arctic! The camp was set up very fast so the night could start as soon as possible. There was a fine bonfire with BBQ at the beach, enjoyable talks and nice little walks around. But there have been also some duties like Polar bear watches during the whole night. And this watch was extremely necessary as there was a Polar bear in the area for the whole night. The bear was so nice to stay so far away that there was no danger at all; but he made this camping event very special. Not many people have slept in a tent watched by a Polar bear!