An early morning rise and I am on the bow of our ship, scanning the world around me. We have sailed into Storefjorden during the night, and the scenery is quite different. The west coast of Spitsbergen is under the influence of the Gulfstream, and therefore has warmer waters and less ice. Here, though, there is noticeably more ice, and large icebergs are floating down the fjord. Floating is a big word:much of the water is frozen, and the icebergs seem to be permanently stuck in the ice. Thick, dark clouds hang menacingly over the scenery. Bright rays of sunlight shine through holes in the clouds, spotlighting the winter landscape and highlighting icebergs. It is a majestic sight, and stay on the bow to see us proceed slowly through the winter world. The icebergs are white, others a deep blue, and then there is at least one which has a lot of black and brown in it.
The closer we get, the more special this iceberg becomes, until I realise it is the most fascinating iceberg I have ever seen. One side of it does not look like ice at all: it is grey, brown and black. Earth is frozen into it: it must have been pressed into the earth for more than a thousand years, before it finally broke off the glacier it came from, and turned around in the process. The other side looks like an enormous thick piece of glass, deep blue inside, white on the outside, with huge cracks in it. Pure art. While I am still studying this peculiar sight, one of the guides excitedly announces she just spotted three polar bears. Attention shifts away, and indeed: we see a mother polar bear with her two cubs walking the ice. They walk from left to right, and back. One of the cubs at a certain moment stands up to better scan the environment. He probably has smelled us and wants to make sure there is no danger.
We watch the family for a while, until it becomes clear that they have no intention of coming closer to us. Soon after that, we spot another group of three bears. One of them is clearly visible: he stands still for a long time, completely motionless, head down: he is on the hunt. If a seal is so reckless as to swim under him, he is dead meat. The others disappear quite soon in the white world. Through binoculars, it becomes more evident how difficult it is to spot the buttery-white animals in a white environment of huge pieces of cracked ice - despite their size. When it is time to move on, our ship breaks through the ice, past more impressive icebergs, to continue our way further north, away from Mohnbukta, or Moon Bay. After a truly beautiful morning, it is time for breakfast.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Mohnbukta (). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Mohnbukta.
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