Outside, the glassy fjord moseys by as eiders bob in the wake of our ship. Fulmars soar past, their wing tips mere millimeters from the sea as they dance in the draft created by the boat.
The glacial formation of the environment here is captivating. The clouds roll in and out revealing the arctic beauty for mere moments as the sun beams down upon the rugged land.
Although the photographs depict a frozen landscape the reality is that there is less ice this year than ever before. Our ship could circumnavigate the entire archipelago if we desired. Only a few years ago that was impossible due to the amount of sea ice. It is quite terrifying to see the effects of global warming first hand.
Our ship the Ocean Nova is equipped with zodiaks that are lowered via crane twice daily to allow us to explore the arctic more closely.
The people here remind me of the people I encountered in Alaska. Tough. Strong. Elka is one of our guides and a beautiful spirit. She radiates positive energy and can be found dancing in her zodiak while waiting to pick up guests.
I expected Svalbard to be much colder, snow covered, and ice filled.
It has been a pleasure working with Henry Harrison. I have learned a ton and have enjoyed watching him capture beautiful imagery.
The abundance of arctic birds has been a pleasant surprise. At any moment one can spot multiple species of unique birds.
We have spent time at two Brunnich’s Gillemot rookeries one of which has over 50,000 pairs of nesting birds. The energy is captivating and overwhelming, a colorful circus of commotion.
Language lacks words to describe the experiences we’ve had in Svalbard.
The beaches here are intriguing. There is often driftwood scattered about despite the absence of trees on Svalbard. There are small pieces of litter strewn everywhere, mostly plastic and glass. This is partly due to tourism in Svalbard, however a majority of it is extremely worn and rounded after many months or even years of travel at sea. It drifts ashore after floating in ocean currents from all over the northern hemisphere. It is painful to see the effects of the highly populated lower latitudes impacting such a fragile, distant, and isolated location. Here is my challenge to you: STOP BUYING PLASTIC. We have to start changing somehow! Take your own bags and jars to the store. Buy the cookies out of the case instead of ones twice wrapped in plastic. I DARE YOU!PLEASE!