North 80 degree – Svalbard and Iceland, June+July.2014
When I am working in the Antarctica, a lot of people told me that I should go Svalbard to experience other side of polar landscape. Eventually, I have 2 weeks working opportunity on the cruise ship (again) to learn the myth and legend inside 80degree north.
Warmer, greener and wildlife, with easier accessible transport, all make me feel that this is not really a polar region!! The gateway of the Svalbard is Longyearbyen (78north degree), where is a very tiny small town, to serve as a human energy provider by whaling, coaling, and now oiling. It is very interested for me to talk with some local people in the town. And, I start to plan a month skiing trip in this Svalbard in next year.
Most of the tour providers inform the tourist that there is a chance to encounter the lovely polar bear in Svalbard. However, according to my experience, it is easier to watch a polar bear in the N.Canada. Indeed, this year, the sea ice has increased than last year. And, this is difficult to find the polar bear to watch. In the two trips of Svalbard, I only see 3 polar bears in far distance!
But, there is more than polar bear in the arctic. The marine mammal draw me attention a lot. In this trip, we are so lucky to encounter the largest marine mammal in the world – Blue whale and shy, baby face- beluga!! I wish in my next trip to Greenland, I am able to encounter Narwal in order to complete my whaling watching list and get retried!!!
Other marine mammal make me crazy is Walrus, which I always see in the TV only!! I cannot believe that I am able to meet them face to face. Although a lot of tourist said that they are smelly and ugly, their curiosity and movement make me feel to be connect with them …. I really want to sleep with them one night!
Puffins, Lovely puffins. I still remember the first time for me to bird-watching in 4 years ago. I was on my 3 weeks skiing trip in Norway and I hitchhike to Runde Island. I camped 3 nights nearby the lighthouse and run of foods. But, watching a lot of puffins flying around of me was an amazing experience. In Icland, I am so lucky that I am able to see them again. Hello, please smile puffins.
Now, we just finish the entire expedition job on board in Iceland. I take a week off from the ship to explore inner of Iceland alone!