Arctic Cruise Report: Tinayebreen, Northwest Svalbard

From the National Geographic Explorer in the Arctic July 17, 2010

The seas were calm, the sun was shining and the conditions were a perfect setting for the fleet of Zodiacs to take a special midnight sun excursion at Sallyhamna, just shy of 80° North! On this excursion, we were excited to visit a year-old whale carcass in hopes of finding hungry polar bears. What we did find was a mother polar bear and her cub sound asleep on the beach, oblivious to our excitement in finding them. We were also surprised when a floating Zodiac of friendly Vikings treated us to hot chocolate, libations and smiles and cheers to the midnight sun.

It proved to be a bit foggy at the second wakeup call, but there was still great anticipation for our last day of expedition and adventure. After cruising in the morning, we headed into the Krossfjord region, where we ended up at Tinayebreen. After a wonderful lunch onboard, the kayaks and Zodiacs were lowered for one more excursion in the protected region of Krossfjord. 

Kayaking provided a calm and peaceful escape to take in the breathtaking scenery and to let the sounds and sights of nature at its best take its course. This is a place Mother Nature grabs you by the hand and invites you to take a moment to let the overwhelming beauty of the place sink in and just let it be.

Those on Zodiac tours saw a wide array of common birds, like the Northern Fulmar and the pink-footed goose as well as the rare ivory gull. We were also treated to a glimpse of four reindeer roaming around on land. The water was glassy and eased us in for a close up viewing of tidewater glaciers and waterfalls cascading down from the hanging glaciers.

To cap off an epic trip, many of the guests plunged into the icy cold waters to experience swimming at 46F in a polar region. For others, their last few hours on board National Geographic Explorer were spent with new friends reminiscing about the past week’s events that will leave a memory forever in our minds.


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