After four visits to Spitsbergen and no decent photographs of Polar Bears it all came good last week with seven bears being seen in one day and a total of twenty six for the ten day voyage.
I am going to remember the thirtieth of July for a long time with spectacular Arctic weather in the pack ice and a female bear and her two eighteen month old cubs being along side the boat for more than two hours. During that time I took nearly an hour of video and more than two hundred and fifty still shots, all in full sunshine, on ice and with a flat calm blue sea. During that time she hunted seals, tried to steal a kill off a male bear, slid on her back in the snow, slept and surprisingly suckled the two very large cubs on her milk. It has to be the most amazing wildlife event I have ever filmed in nearly forty years. I have already viewed the results and they are stunning. If I was super critical I can only say that the sun was that bright that on some of the photos she closed her eyes!!!
On another day whilst filming Little Auks I took my coat off to rest the camera on whilst on a rock. I crawled to my camera bag twenty feet away for a new battery and when I looked back at the coat an Arctic Fox was sat on it trying to extract my gloves from one of the pockets – all captured on film. It finally dragged the coat off the rock and I had to retrieve it before it ended up in it’s den.
I had fabulous views of Grey Phalaropes, Pomerine Skuas and Ivory Gulls all in pristine Arctic conditions. Over forty Arctic plants were filmed and identified with some already going to seed after the short Arctic Summer.
More to follow …..