You may visit Alkefjellet where a series of one hundred metre high dolerite towers are home to millions of Brunnich’s guillemots, the penguins of the north, that occupy every available nook and cranny. Elsewhere we seek out Eider ducks and geese, and hope to spot Arctic fox and beautiful ivory gulls.
As our ship passes between Spitsbergen and the smaller Barentsoya and Edgeoya we cross the main polar bear migration routes and the beautiful fertile plain of Sundeneset. The ground is richly covered with bright green mosses, a variety of delicate and colourful flowers, particularly the yellow marsh (bog) saxifrage, various mushrooms, clear bubbling streams and small tarns. We explore this beautiful terrain on foot.
We round South Cape, Spitsbergen’s most southerly point, before continuing our journey northwards. If conditions allow, we visit the Polish research station at Isbjornhamna in Hornsund fjord where we are shown around by the base leader and walk to a spectacular colony of little auks. Several hundred thousand birds nest here, coming and going in huge swarms as they head out to sea to feed on their specialised diet of zooplankton.