The next day we were welcomed by fantastic weather. A strong sun and an almost clear sky wished us a good morning. Breakfast was ready when we woke up, and we all gathered on the back deck. There we sat and enjoyed a nice Swedish breakfast, with a view towards the historical Hamburg Bay that was bathing in sunlight.
When most of us had finished eating, the expedition leader Jens, went through the plan for the day and told some stories about the area, and the incredible history from the whaling period up to more modern trapper history. Shortly after we went down to our cabins to dress up for our first Zodiac trip and our first landing.
The crew were fast at unloading the boats from the deck and within a few minutes we were in the zodiacs and on our way to land.
As we first came into the bay we saw 2-3 seals popping up from underneath the water surface. Looking rather curious as to what was coming to visit them. The ocean inside the bay was calm and clear as a mirror. We drifted around a little before we headed over to the north side of the bay to leave one of the zodiacs. The plan was to take the other boat over to the south side and walk back to the first one. And as we were heading over to the other side, a gentle little Arctic fox came walking over the hillside. It came all the way down to where we had landed and took a smell of the rope that held the boat secured to the shore. We watched in silence, and enjoyed its presence until it gracefully walked away from us.
Still amazed by the short visit from the Arctic fox we arrived at the south side of the bay. Here we went ashore, and as the guide Audun gave us a brief introduction to the rifle and polar bear safety we were disturbed by more curious ringed seals. For a long time they swam close around the boat and watched us with interest, wondering who was visiting them on such a beautiful day.
After the disturbance Audun could continue his instruction on the polar bear safety. When he finished his instructing, we began walking towards the coastline to look at some cultural heritage left by the whalers and trappers.
The first thing we came upon was an old hut used by the German trappers. And all though it was completely destroyed by the effect of time and the harsh weather, we could still imagine how it once stood on the hillside looking out towards the endless sea and back on the glacier front. The glacier itself would have been at least twice as big and impressive as it is today.
In the middle of the remains of the hut lies the old oven, made of cast iron, rusty and unusable, but still beautiful. Around the ruin lies pieces of a walrus skull and a vertebra. Oh, if only bones could speak, imagine the stories they could tell us.
We looked towards the west and saw rocks piled on top of each other. This was only a modern sea mark, but the object which was located behind it was of much more interest. It was an ossuary. An old whaler’s grave from the 1600s. You got that feeling that you were not alone. Maybe it was one of the whaler’s spirits who stayed and watched over the place.
When we came back down to the zodiac we split into two groups; one would walk along the shore from south to north, while the other one went across with the zodiac.
We did not walk very far down the beach before we stumbled upon approximately 20 ringed seals laying on the rocks alongside the shore.
After a short detour around the seals, to not disturb their peace, we were stopped by difficult and rocky terrain. Audun came then with the boat and picked us up and we took another, closer, look at the seals that were still laying on the rocks.
We circled around a few times to get a good look at the seals before we took a new landing further north on the beach, and then we walked the remaining 500 meters to the second zodiac that we had left there earlier. While we were walking, Audun took a swim in the ocean to cool down from the warm summer day. The rest of us waited, just about taking off our jackets!
Back on the boat we got a warm lunch. Then we raised anchors and set course for the island Fuglesongen. On our way there we observed a swimming reindeer in Sørgattet, just as we passed Danskøya.
The beautiful scenery gave us a warm welcome as we sailed among Amsterdamøya and Smeerenburgfjorden. With icebergs floating around us, and slightly blue sky with wonderful light spreading over the landscape. Soon we arrived to Fuglefjorden and we got ready to board the zodiacs once more.
Back in the zodiacs we drove further into the fjord, and was met by the incredible and majestic glacier front coming from the mountains and down into the fjord. Driving slalom among icebergs we suddenly stopped, and realized that a bearded seal was laying on one of the icebergs. Slowly and as silent as possible we drifted towards it, trying not to disturb it, and if the animal showed any sign of discomfort we would head out of there and leave it alone. But we were very careful, and the bearded seal seemed to not be bothered much by our presence.
After a few photographs we carried on into the fjord. We circled around the small islands and headed back to the boat without much more sign of animal life. Except for a short view of a walrus in the water by one of the boats.
When we came back on the boat, some of the crew were fishing. They had already caught several large cods, and the fulmar had gathered around underneath them on the water, waiting passionately for more fish to come. One of the crew members also had his birthday, and we sang the birthday song for him, and the chef baked a cake.
Later during the evening we were served yet another fantastic meal by our talented chef, and fully satisfied we scuttled to our beds and fell asleep fast, while the boat headed towards the northern most point of Svalbard, the seven islands.