I had the absolute privilege to be aboard the M/S Freya in Svalbard this June, with a crew who were incredibly passionate and dedicated; our fantastic expedition leaders worked tirelessly each day to get us to the best parts of the archipelago based on wildlife and weather; and, of course, I was in a spectacular landscape, home of the majestic polar bear.
Her curiosity not satisfied, the sow then stood up with her front paws on the boat and looked us all in the eye over the edge. She then stuck her head and paws through the slots the Freya has along its side (I assume designed for water removal, not for polar bears to look in!) where myself and photographer Andy Mann were shooting through. I immediately stepped back, but Andy held his ground and got the shot of the trip. Mine were a little blurry as a result of my hands shaking and heart thumping like mad, but it makes for a good caption to the photographs! The adrenaline from the experience meant not much sleep was had following that, but in the words of our expedition leader Ben, "you can sleep on the plane!"
I still have so many photographs and moments to fully process, which will keep me very busy, no doubt long beyond my next adventure. But in the meantime I want to pass on a huge thanks to all who contributed to this amazing trip – Gemma at NWS for all of her help and advice on the lead-up, the amazing crew and expedition staff for, well, everything, our pro photographers Keith and Andy for their immense generosity and inspiration, and of course to all of my new friends – my fellow passengers – for making these incredible memories with me.
All images courtesy of Amanda Morrison.
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