Wild and Wonderful

Polar Bears of Svalbard


On board MV Havsel, Svalbard, Norway - June 2018

Led by Danny Green and Nigel Winn, this Natures Images tour was on board the MV Havsel for 12 nights. This boat is operating for the first time with tourist passengers, having previously worked as a fishing and sealing ship, and subsequently it was chartered extensively, and over many years, by the BBC, icluding for Frozen Planet and more recently The Hunt.

We were concentrating almost all our efforts on finding Polar Bears, and consequently headed north once we had sailed out of Isfjorden. After a rather slow start on the western side of Nordauslandet, the decision was taken to head north up to the pack ice - that's the polar ice cap. After we arrived we spent long fruitless hours sailing along the ice edge. But a possible sighting of a bear way off in the distance saw us change course and head into the ice. After four hours of very difficult progress through increasingly thick ice, we found what we were looking for - a whole host of Polar Bears around, and on, a Bowhead Whale carcass frozen into the ice. We spent three days there, 4 nautical miles into the ice, enjoying an amazing spectacle, and during this period all of the Polar Bear pictures in the slideshow were taken.

However, whilst we were there, the temperature dropped markedly and we became frozen into the pack ice. The captain decided we must leave, but it took three major attempts over two days to free ourselves from the ice!

It was then time to start working our way back to Longyearbyen, but we stopped off at a couple of locations and got some nice Arctic Fox and Svalbard Reindeer shots.

A most amazing adventure - my thanks to the captain and all the team for making it possible.