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Bear Island

29th/30th May 2015 – There is nothing much to say about the crossing. Wind and waves made it an experience of limited pleasure, and presence during meals was visibly reduced. Well, it was not dramatic, but not really popular either. No sightings of whales, only small groups of dolphins every now and then. The better that we made good speed, so we reached Bear Island already mid-day of the 29th. We kept on the southeastern side, as this side offered the best shelter available from wind and waves, and soon we had found a suitable landing site.

From the distance, Bear Island may seem a grey, empty rock in the ocean, but a closer look reveals all the treasures of nature you can imagine of a remote, small island in the Arctic. An impressive coastal landscape with bird cliffs, various geomorphological phenomena including frost-patterned ground and karst springs and so on. The feeling of remoteness and exposure is amongst the best parts of the Bear Island experience, especially in quiet moments when all you hear is the wind. We spend a rather long afternoon on the island, roaming around from the river mouth in Ærfuglvika to the seabird colony at Kapp Ruth, passing some small, mostly still frozen lakes in flat tundra towards the river Jordbruelva, which we followed between steep snow-covered river banks, until we returned to Kapp Maria with its impressive rock cave Kvalkjeften (whale jaw) and a huge hole in the rocky ground, through which you see the surf 15 m lower down.

A calm night at anchor in the shelter of the island was certainly amongst the highlights of the day for many.

Click on thumbnail to open an enlarged version of the specific photo.

Next morning, we cruised around the southern end of Bear Island, where nature has created some of the most impressive cliffs in the north Atlantic. The seas and winds being too high for any Zodiac operations, we enjoyed the views from the ship, in the presence of countless Northern fulmars, before we continued northwards, course for Spitsbergen.

last modification: 2015-06-01 · copyright: Rolf Stange