Norwegian Arctic Archipelago at 78 to 81 North

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.

Scroll down for three pages of photos.

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.

 

This Phippsoya Polar Bear gnaws at an old whale bone. Photo 28 July 2006.

 

The Svalbard Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus playrhynchus), endemic to Svalbard, is the smallest Caribou in the world. Photo 31 July 2006.

 

Bearded Seal resting on an ice flow. Photo 26 July 2006

 

Arctic Foxes are a common sight. Photo 26 July 2006.

 

We saw a haul-out of about 110 male Walruses on Phippsoya. Photo 28 July 2006