In Search of Polar Bears

Friday, August 10th, 2018

Overnight the ship headed North with the intent to find Polar Bear in the pack ice. We woke up to find pack ice all around the ship. We spent a very relaxed morning just cruising in search of the King of the Arctic. Relaxing was over, when around lunchtime we saw three bears wondering the pack ice and swimming between the ice floes. Although all three bears where in the same vicinity, they were very much separated from each other, and all a considerable distance from the ship. The bears were a little skittish. Making it is almost impossible to tell the difference from male and female bears, but out expert guides assured us these three were all male. Spotting polar bears on the ice pack is quite challenging even from the 12th deck. And while the Polar bears are a distinctive yellow which is quite visible against the pure white of the ice, they are also 1 to 2 miles away, and powerful binoculars are essential. Once the ship repositions to get closer, the bears could be seen with the naked eye and could be photographed (at least, with a long lens).

During cruising of the ice pack, the ship set the most northern voyage record. The World sailed to 82º 41’. Conditions were perfect, with calm seas, a light breeze and temperatures just above freezing. The ship spent the night in the frozen ice pack.

Saturday, August 11th, 2018

The following morning started with the traditional and ceremonial Polar plunge. The remainder of the day was spent relaxing and in search of more of wildlife. We found a very lazy bear that we observed for about an hour. This bear was completing ignoring us and was mainly sleeping but rolled over and yawned a few times for us.

The ship was pointed South, and we headed back to Svalbard, leaving the pack ice behind us. We would make the return journey while we slept.