This morning was our first excursion out in the zodiacs, to investigate a nearby group of walrus. Landing along a spur of land at we walked 400m to where they lay, hauled out on the shingle beach. Approaching cautiously so as not to alarm them provided ample opportunity to stop and learn more about the geology of the region, examining rocks, finding old whale bones and ribbons of silver birch bark washed up from Siberia.
As we got to about 30m away from the walrus we sunk to our knees and watched as they occasionally raised a webbed flipper to scratch or a tusked head to give us a quick glance before shuffling into a more comfortable position.
Just as we were leaving a large bull swam to shore, hauling himself with much effort into the midst of the group. We retreated to leave them in peace as they snuffled and grunted with the exertion of making space for the new arrival.
The focus of the afternoon was caves, ice and birds. Cruising around in the zodiacs we circled bergy bits, the name given to medium blocks of floating ice. Resting upon the ice were groups of Arctic Tern, the world’s greatest migratory bird, just arrived from their long journey from Antarctica.