Arctic jewels

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Home again on the tail of three magical Arctic voyages aboard Polar Pioneer, exploring Svalbard and East Greenland. While every voyage sees a keen focus on wildlife—that dream of seeing the mighty polar bear, King of the Arctic—Svalbard and East Greenland are crowns crammed with all kinds of precious gems, from the large to the tiny. Here below are some of the wonders I love about the high north. I hope you’ll enjoy them too. — Robyn Mundy

ROCK

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Gateau Point, Scoresbysund, East Greenland ©Robyn Mundy

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Bjørneøer (Bear Islands), Ø Fjord, East Greenland ©Robyn Mundy

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Lake Noa, Blomsterbugten, East Greenland ©Robyn Mundy

ICE

20180807-RM-Kongsbreen IMG_2237Kongsbreen, Svalbard ©Robyn Mundy
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Kapp Stewart, East Greenland ©Robyn Mundy

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Røde Fjord, East Greenland ©Robyn Mundy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TUNDRA

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Broad-leaved willow herb  ©Robyn Mundy

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Mouse-ear chickweed  ©Robyn Mundy

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Snow buttercups  ©Robyn Mundy

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Purple Mountain Saxifrage  ©Robyn Mundy

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Arctic cotton grass  ©Robyn Mundy

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Tundra reflections ©Robyn Mundy

WILDLIFE

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Arctic fox in summer coat, Ytre Norskøya, Svalbard   ©Robyn Mundy

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Muskox, Harefjord, East Greenland  ©Robyn Mundy

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Svalbard reindeer, Kap Lee, Svalbard  ©Robyn Mundy

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Polar bear, Kvitøya, Svalbard ©Robyn Mundy

ALONG WITH A TRIBUTE

…to MV Polar Pioneer, our ice-strengthened Russian workhorse that makes it all happen year after year. For those of us who have been working with her since her maiden voyage in 2000, it is bound to be a sad farewell this time next year, the Arctic 2019 season being her final with Aurora Expeditions before she steams away toward shiny new adventures.

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MV Polar Pioneer ©Robyn Mundy

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Image of the Week

Cold coast, pointy mountains, polar bear

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Spitsbergen, main island of the Svalbard archipelago. ©Robyn Mundy

Procrastinating about writing, I was seized yesterday with the urge to back up my computer, RIGHT NOW, THIS VERY MINUTE. In the process of tidying-up I lingered over images, including these, photographed last season on a flight from Tromsø in northern Norway, to Spitsbergen, the main island of the Svalbard Archipelago.

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Looking across to Hornsund on the south-west coast of Spitsbergen. ©Robyn Mundy

I’ve been flying to Spitsbergen since Polar Pioneer, the small ice-strengthened ship I work on, set off on its maiden voyage in the year 2000. It’s a rare reward to look down upon this wild place and gaze across its breadth. And you know it must be good when the pilot manoeuvres the plane so that both sides can gain a clear view.

This icy part of the world earns its title: Svalbard translates to cold coast, Spitsbergen, to pointy mountains. Svalbard is also territory to a large population of polar bear. To encounter this mighty animal roaming across its foraging ground is a heart-pattering thrill of any voyage.

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A female polar bear foraging on pack ice in north-east Spitsbergen. ©Robyn Mundy