Friday, July 31, 2015

Svalbard, extra pix.

As you can imagine, there were many photographers on the ship. Every day we could post our best pix for the daily slide show. Many of those pix were stunning, and I copied some of them to show on the blog, but, in most cases, I don't know who the photographer was. I do credit the photographer when I know who it was. If anyone sees one of their pix and wants credit, email me and I will be glad to edit the post.

So, in no particular order are a bunch of great pix, mostly birds:

Long-tailed Skua. [Reed Hoffmann.]

Long-tailed duck.

Puffin swimming.

Glaucous gull and chick.

King eider pair. [Howard Wilson]

Eiders, three males and one female.

Black guillemot.

Arctic tern with fast food.

Fin whale.

Brünnich's guillemot.

Arctic tern eating on the fly.

Puffin flying.


Arctic fox.

Black guillemot.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Day VIII, Day IX, Svalbard.

7-21-15 ALKEHORNET, SVALBARD: This morning was filled with ‘end of voyage’ activities, settling accounts, packing, etc., but in the afternoon we did a last hike. We are farther south than we have been for a while and the terrain here is grass covered. That is more vegetation that we have seen so far. Grass includes small flowers, mosses, sedge, lichen, not unlike my lawn in NJ. The day was another warm, sunny one with little wind.

Morning ship's position, heading Southeast.

Expedition winds down...

The Vavilov waiting for us to come back...

The horns of Alkehornet and grassland...

With mosses and tiny flowers...

More flowers.

We saw a reindeer shortly after landing and later a second, both enjoying the grass. The landing site is beneath a huge glacial col that disrupted metamorphosed sedimentary deposits. The top of the mountain was formed at the bottom of the ocean and later uplifted. Beneath the grass is rocky soil from remnant moraines. We went to a fox’s lair, so we were told, but the fox failed to keep his appointment with us.

Mature reindeer.

Younger reindeer.

A short, zodiac cruise after the hike flushed some eiders, terns and guillemots.

Eider female nesting.

Northern fulmar dining on its catch.

Black guillemot.

Brünnich's guillemots. There is a Common guillemot, Murre, also.

Then we were back on the ship for a cruise review and slide show followed by the final banquet. For some reason we were at the Captain’s table. He and the Hotelier mate are Russian, but have good English. We talked about the cruise and navigation in the Arctic.

7-22-15 LONGYEARBYEN, SVALBARD: We all disembarked this morning, and after a coffee in Longyearbyen, we will all fly to Oslo and some of us on to Newark tomorrow. Actually a lot of the guides are on our flights because this was the last Svalbard cruise of the season.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Day VII, Svalbard.

7-20-15 14TH OF JULY GLACIER, SVALBARD: We woke up at Ny London, back on the west side of Spitsbergen and landed for hikes after breakfast. The site, Camp Mansfield, was established for mining marble in the early 1900’s. The project was a failure because the marble, harvested from a permafrost location, disintegrated when fully thawed. Two deteriorating shacks and rusted mining equipment remain abandoned on the site. Trash older than 50 years is considered an antique or relic or of historic significance and may not be touched, but anything left behind recently is garbage.

Ship's position - morning further south.

Ny London, Camp Mansfield.

Tired Wheelbarrow.

There was an antlerless reindeer not too far away and a handful of barnacle geese. The barnacle geese are so named because it was thought in Europe of the 1500’s that the geese, who disappeared from European harbors every summer when they came to the arctic to breed, turned into barnacles for the summer and then back to geese in the winter. That is, of course, a perfectly logical assumption.

Barnacle geese.

Tired reindeer.

A short walk took us across small, braided stream to two lakes set above the fiord. Both had lots of nesting water birds, ducks, geese, divers [loons], and terns, and their chicks. We also saw a long-tailed skua and took many bird pix.

Long-tailed skua.

Arctic terns have taken over this little island, two chicks left front.

More barnacles, in goose mode.

Eider female on the right.

Long-tailed duck with ducklings.

Red-throated diver with chick.

Red-throated divers, in the US these are loons, in Norway they are småloms.

One of the lakes with the fjord and a glacier in the far ground.

Ny London landscape with hikers.

After we all reassembled at the beach, it was the opportunity for the audacious to swim in the Arctic Ocean. At least a dozen people jumped or dove in, ignoring the floating ice not far away. No one stayed in very long. Neither Judy nor I were among the daring, even though a couple folks in our age bracket were so rash.

The swimmers could have warmed up at a cosy fire in this stove and had tea if the kettles didn't have all those bullet holes.

After lunch we cruised in the zodiacs at the 14th of July Glacier. First we went to another bird cliff rookery with more of the guillemots and puffins for the first time. Puffins are cartoon characters come to life. Kittiwakes have a nesting site high up on nearby cliffs. The lower cliffs are sedimentary and have been subject to tectonic stresses and show uplifting, tilting and folding.



Puffin, front and back.


Brünnich's Guillemots.

The glacier is large and long and did a small calving show for us with a roar of thunder. It had been rumbling and groaning the whole time we cruised by. We also saw more geese, kittiwakes, guillemots and fulmars on and around the ice. Most of the visible face of the glacier is white, but some is deep blue. Some people saw reindeer this afternoon.

Glacier and mountains that were carved by other glaciers.


That splash is from a calf that just hit the water. You can see the big wave headed toward us.

Kittiwakes on ice.

Pink-footed geese with goslings.