day 1 (Oslo)
day 2 (Svalbard)
day 3 (Spitsbergen)
day 4 (Walrus)
day 5 (Fann Kapshaw)
day 6 (Polar Bears)
day 7 (More Bears!)
day 8 (Glaciers)
day 9 (Settlements)
day 10 (Going home)

Whales and puffins!

Ok, only one puffin, but it was the only one we saw the whole trip! It circled around the ship at high speed for about half an hour and we all rushed from side to side to try to get pictures.

The whales were a bit easier - they came and swam along side the ship for quite a while. We saw a fin whale and a blue whale. Wow - enormous! They both seems rather curious about us.

Today is the last day on the ship, we'll dock fairly early in order to catch the flight back to Oslo. We have a very early flight tomorrow to get back to London and then on to Denver, and the rest of the family has flights out later in the day.

But first, we have to indulge a bit of insanity and join the "Polar Bear Club" by stripping down to a swimsuit or shorts and leaping into the freezing arctic ocean. Both Mark and I do it, and our BIL John -- the rest of the family wimped out! Of course, Mark didn't tell me until later that he was a bit worried about the plunge into ice water triggering SVT. No worries, though -- we were all fine. I think I was in the water for about twelve seconds; it feels like I hit the water and then shot back out like a seal, possibly levitating briefly before getting back on board!

So, I leave you with a few pictures from our last day -- puffins, geese, and whales.

  • The only puffin we saw - doing laps around the ship
  • A fin whale, which stuck around for an hour or more
  • Being followed by geeze
  • Yes, I'm a little insane
  • Mark jumping into the arctic sea
  • Blowhole of a fin whale, which paced us for a long while
  • A blue whale, spouting
  • Blue whale
  • These creatures are enormous!