Polar bears, Arctic foxes and other animals
Polar bears are often the main attraction when you travel to Svalbard. I wouldn’t say that they were to me prior to my trip to Svalbard at the end of April this year. My interest is most often smaller animals as they tend to be much more active and I like that.
So, I didn’t actually go to Svalbard with Polar bears in mind. This might sound strange, but it was more the light that attracted me, the vistas and to last get to see an Arctic fox. Polar bears where clearly way down the list of photo subjects for me. I also understood that we might have a hard time finding Polar bears. The pack ice was much better this year giving them better conditions to hunt and survive the coming summer months.
Still I hoped to see Polar bears, but I still would be a happy camper if I didn’t freeze my socks off and could tick a couple of boxes on my list. You might ask why? Well it was because I went on a proper Svalbard expedition on snow mobiles. No luxury of a boat that is. Straight out into the Arctic living outdoor in Polar bears own habitat. A climate I haven’t been to for along time and one I do dislike a little. I’m much more comfortable when it is warm than cold.
I rented a few things in Longyearbyen as I felt I could save some cash instead of buying stuff I might never use again. I can recommend this if you ever go there as you need proper clothes to keep warm and cozy.
Seven nights out in the field
So did the trip bring any luck? Yes and no I would say. We were out in the field for a week and had ever type of weather. We started on the West Coast and sadly got stuck there due to bad weather. The conditions on the glaciers we needed to cross to come to the East Coast was bad for a period.
We even had mild weather that forced us inside for two nights. I think the group felt OK drying up. Still, I suspect this change in weather was what kept us on the western side of Svalbard.
I do like what I saw on both sides and I feel that we were lucky to find two Polar bear females with cubs from this year. Still we didn’t see any males except through a scope and sadly missed out on good light for most of the trip.
Still it was a great expedition and one that drained my energy reserve. Sometimes we really had to push with long days on the snow mobiles and that was hard for everyone. I can tell you that I am not the biggest fan of snow mobiles after being seated on one for 10 hours one day. Still they were required and I will certainly be better prepared for them next time around.
In here I will just show you a few pictures from the trip as I am planning on doing a photo album later on. If you are interested in knowing more about this snow mobile expedition of Svalbard then visit Eco Watch Wildlife Expeditions site or contact Christopher Wiken by mail.
Please enjoy this small photo gallery from Svalbard.