Arctic jewels

20180822-RM-Røde Ø-IMG_3648 cropped

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

20180813-RM-Gateau Point-IMG_2901

Gateau Point, Scoresbysund, East Greenland ©Robyn Mundy

20180816-RM-Bjorneoer-IMG_3332

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

20180812-RM-Blomsterbugten-IMG_2668

Lake Noa, Blomsterbugten, East Greenland ©Robyn Mundy

ICE

20180807-RM-Kongsbreen IMG_2237Kongsbreen, Svalbard ©Robyn Mundy
20180814-RM-Kap Stewart-IMG_2957

Kapp Stewart, East Greenland ©Robyn Mundy

20180815-RM-Røde Ø-IMG_3017

Røde Fjord, East Greenland ©Robyn Mundy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TUNDRA

20180822-RM-Røde Ø-Broad-leaved Willowherb-IMG_3602

Broad-leaved willow herb  ©Robyn Mundy

20180826-RM-Sofia Sund-Mouse Ear Chickweed-IMG_4161

Mouse-ear chickweed  ©Robyn Mundy

20180821-RM-Kap Stewart-snow buttercup-IMG_3581

Snow buttercups  ©Robyn Mundy

20180825-RM-Antarctic Havn-purple saxifrage-IMG_4120

Purple Mountain Saxifrage  ©Robyn Mundy

20180812-RM-Nanortalik-IMG_2843

Arctic cotton grass  ©Robyn Mundy

20180816-RM-Bjorneoer-IMG_3468

Tundra reflections ©Robyn Mundy

WILDLIFE

20180808-RM-Hamiltonbukta IMG_2320 cropped

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

20180815-RM-Harefjord-IMG_3261

Muskox, Harefjord, East Greenland  ©Robyn Mundy

20180803-RM-Kap Lee-IMG_1839 cropped

Svalbard reindeer, Kap Lee, Svalbard  ©Robyn Mundy

20180801-RM-Kvitoya-Kraemerpynten-IMG_1705 cropped

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.

20180811-RM-Myggebugten-IMG_2382

MV Polar Pioneer ©Robyn Mundy

Advertisements

Image of the Week

Cavorting Arctic fox kits, Hornsund. ©️Karen Povey, 2017

This northern summer I voyaged to Svalbard Archipelago with a host of adventure travellers, including Karen Povey, a passionate nature enthusiast, wildlife conservationist and all round good sort to have aboard an Arctic voyage.

Karen is a talented photographer, so when I saw this gobsmacking* photo feature on the cover of the trip’s voyage log, I invited her to share her image and the story behind it. Over to you, Karen:

My July trip to Svalbard was truly one of my life’s highlights. One favorite experience was our landing in Hornsund on the archipelago’s main island of Spitsbergen. We scrambled, often on hands and knees, high up a nearly vertical slope of dense moss to the base of a kittiwake nesting cliff. As we clung to our precarious perch an arctic fox appeared, effortlessly trotting by, nose to the earth. Astonished, we watched the fox briskly snatch up chicks that had fallen from the rocks above. Soon its mate appeared and they alternated foraging forays, mouths stuffed with downy prey. Upon descent, it became apparent why they worked so hard in this brief season of plenty – they had a den occupied by at least eight active youngsters! Watching the kits tumbling in play while we stood yards away was beyond thrilling. I don’t know how long we stayed transfixed, immersed in the awe of nature (and the dedication of parents!) in this amazing place.

A second image from Karen to complete the story: Many mouths to feed. ©️Karen Povey, 2017

©️Karen Povey

My thanks to Karen for sharing her fabulous Arctic fox images, along with this self portrait taken in the Cascades: an outdoor girl just enjoying the back yard of her home state of Washington, USA.

*I couldn’t resist an excuse to slip in ‘gobsmacking’, a new Australian word that featured during our voyage 😉

Image of the Week

Cold coast, pointy mountains, polar bear

IMG_4818

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.

IMG_4816

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.

IMG_3648*** polar bear small size

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