Another very, very early wake up call this morning… 5:30am early. No worries though. It was to announce a polar bear off the bow.
It’s amazing how the staff and crew can spot these creatures from so far away in what seems like an endless sea of pack ice. They have binoculars and spotting scopes but even with those tools it takes years of experience to be able to pick out the slightly off white color from the rest of the white. However, once they are spotted far off in the distance the captain maneuvers the ship closer so the rest of us can get a good look.
We were lucky enough to see a polar bear with a kill which isn’t uncommon but not seen on every trip.
Even the birds were happy… at least the dominant one was happy because he scared away the rest of his competition.
I spent most of my time hanging out taking pictures out on deck above the bridge or out on the bow. However, I go on the bridge once and while to warm up and talk with the staff. As I’ve mentioned before, the staff and crew on the NatGeo Explorer are some of the best I’ve travelled with. One of the interesting things I learned from the staff is that when a Polar Bear sticks out it’s tongue it means that it’s stressed. I thought it was just a regular yawn. Not the case though. It seems like the presence of our ship was disturbing it and after a while the captain backed away to let the Polar Bear go about its business.
We caught up with another Polar Bear later taking a little swim.
Did you know that polar bears can swim hundreds of miles without resting. They can also jump 7 feet out of the water onto the ice. We never saw this happen but that would be a sight to see. A 1500 lb polar bear jumping 7 feet out of the water. I guess we’ll have to go back to try and get that picture.
Today was a one polar bear encounter after another. Amazing experience and a couple of good photographs too