Morning at the cabin. No fatalities.
Some seals are basking in the morning sunlight on the fjord. Really. They’re in this picture. See the black dots?
Time to leave the cabin. We re-attach the defense system.
The guide packs up. Food, water, bear rifle.
She loads it onto her handy gear sledge.
When we’re all packed up, we pull out onto the vast fjord.
And stop immediately. A seal!
I’m not lying, there are animals in these pictures.
And, wait, another seal! A baby!
We walk closer.
Baby seal cannot swim, and lives in this igloo. Mother seal is in the water, but periodically pokes her head out of the hole to check on us.
We photograph the seal until our hands freeze. Then onward, to the next stop: the dramatic edge of a glacier.
We are forbidden from going closer. "Pieces fall off often. If a piece falls off, it can fall through the ice. If it falls through the ice, the wave will crack all of this ice and we will fall in.“
"If you hear something that sounds like a gunshot, jump on your snow mobile and drive forward fast. The gunshot comes before the ice falls.”
We would have gone closer anyway, but she didn’t let us.
Maximum speed of the trip reached. 110km/h. To a tiny, isolated, colorful mining village.
Then more mountains.
The wind howled, and the loose snow kicked up into a fog.
We travel along what appears to be an infinite ocean of ice…
…until we finally reach the end.
Storfjorden. Beluga breeding ground.
Seabirds fly by sea ice.
Time for a break.
Strong winds whip blankets of snow into the sea.
Farther from shore, big chunks of orphaned ice wander aimlessly.
A small pyramid shack serves as wind protection while we eat lunch.
There’s ice in the water.
After lunch, a trip to a frozen waterfall.
The waterfall was in a nice mountain alcove.
This was a nice opportunity to top up the tanks.
Then we raced back to town. First tour complete. Odometer was 600.1 when we started.
We finally checked into our hotel in the town, Longyearbyen. And immediately booked a reservation at a (formerly) Michelin Starred restaurant.
Then we hit the local bar. Svalbar. Teeheehee. This looks familiar:
Headed home round ‘bout 1am. The sun is still up.
Our navigators try to find the way home.
Luckily, there are only two streets.