Chillin’ out and bearing up brilliantly at top of world
I’M on top of the world emotionally and literally. As I was about to sit down and write to you, we were called out on deck, as a polar bear and her cub were walking a rocky isle, haloed with ice, right in front of the ship.
It’s the North Pole, well close, any closer and I could shake Santa’s hand, so really I’m more in his front yard.
It’s a journey to the north of Svalbard, an adventure planned for many years, and over the five days I’ve seen so much, and I mean days – the term 24 hours a day is perfect here as there is no night. The sun doesn’t move.
The ship has about 100 on it, and we take the Zodiacs to shore, with a bloke up the front with a rifle – true. Polar bears can appear anytime, and I guess we look like dessert after a feed of seal.
Actually the majestic animals are not white, more yellow, which is handy for 100 silly humans hoping to see them, but what happened two days ago was more than any of the crew expected.
I’ll tell you about it in a moment, as we were called out for walruses! Won’t be polar moment.
OK, everyone wants to see the bears but seeing the ice king’s not promised, so when one was sighted our second night, it was bedlam.
There were people and cameras and binoculars everywhere. She was a long way off. It meant some good pics from people with lens the size of the Burdekin pipeline, other than that, pretty small.
But we were sorta happy, if that was our bear, then so be it. But, two days later, birds surrounded a fresh seal kill, and that’s when it happened.
The announcement made, a bear sighted some distance away, asleep. We watched, waited, felt like yelling out “Bundy, wake up!”. But no ... and then not far from the boat another bear wakes behind some sea ice and walks towards the boat, a huge fat healthy female, she’d killed the seal and was coming back.
She came to within 10m of the boat. She ate for an hour, looked at the boat, didn’t care, then wandered off.
Meanwhile the other bear, a male waited for her to finish, and came up to us, and literally put on a show, right in front of us. Attenborough missed out, we didn’t! We all feel complete.
It truly was an incredible experience, bears in the wild, not doors or wires or admission fees, no zoo, it was nature at its alluring and savage best.
Lunchtime bell, we’re having seal skin, herring heart and wal- rissoles.
Sad I missed the V8s, I hear it was great, but as was said, I think I had the best “pole position”.
From the North Pole, well a bit south now, travelling the Hinlopen Strait, Svalbard.
Happy days, Oorooooo … it’s cold.