From the National Geographic Explorer in the Arctic June 28, 2010
Our first full day in the Arctic and what a day it has been! We had a landing at Krossfjorden, a fjord along the west coast of Spitzbergen. There were several options for various walks onshore under blue skies and we soaked in the warm sunshine. The tundra was carpeted with wildflowers in bloom and it was marvelous to think how these seemingly delicate plants can survive in such a harsh habitat.
The other option was to explore Krossfjorden by kayak. It was perfectly calm and still out on the water and we enjoyed the chance to explore the area on our own. Those who chose to go kayaking had a magical encounter with a lone beluga whale. Beluga whales are toothed whales that are usually seen in small, social groups so it was unusual for one animal to be on its own. This white whale was very inquisitive and approached many of the kayaks. It was amazing to be so close to an animal that could reach lengths of 14 feet and have it swim right underneath you!
When we returned to the ship, many hardy souls took advantage of the brilliant weather and went for a “Polar Plunge.” After dinner in the land of the midnight sun we cruised through the scenic and very narrow Sögattett channel. It was a perfect way to end a fantastic day.