Svalbard is a group of remote islands, including the largest island of Spitsbergen,
in this Norwegian High Arctic archipelago far north of mainland
Europe. About 60%
of Svalbard is nature
reserve where wildlife is protected. Some highlights of our 11 day
cruise: 49 Polar Bears, Svalbard Reindeer, Arctic Foxes, 140+ Walruses,
Beluga, Fin and Minke Whales, Ivory Gulls, Atlantic
Puffins, 100s of thousands Thick-billed Murres (Brunnich's
Guillemots), 100,000 Dovekies (Little Auks), Great Skua,
Arctic Terns, and profusion of Arctic wildflowers. I thank Barry Griffiths
of Quest Nature Tours
for inviting me to join Quest's expedition
cruise to Svalbard aboard Akademik Sergei Vavilov.
Female Polar Bear and
cub on Phippsoya, the most northerly island of Svalbard, where we
saw about 15 bears. This year, the pack ice was 200 km farther north, leaving many Polar Bears on land.
Photo 28 July 2006.