Sunday, September 6, 2009

Nordaustlandet, Svalbard, Norway

The moment you see one is electric.

Amidst the endless miles of broken ice and snow-covered shoreline, there are two black eyes staring back, and it hits you with a jolt of recognition. We have a bear.

We have sailed for days through two days of fog and mist and bleak, barren landscapes north of 80° latitude with little to show for it. Steve and I stood staring through binoculars for hours on deck. Suddenly there he was, clear as day, a polar bear resting on a patch of steep snow, perched high enough to survey the surrounding miles of ice for his next meal. We stopped and watched, and the bear grew curious, sniffing the air, catching the scent of unwashed men and mouldering laundry.

Finally, he sits up on his back legs like an eager dog. There must be something dead to smell that bad.

August 6, 2009 - Nordaustlandet, Svalbard

4 comments:

Radu said...

somehow (but not completely) I envy you. keep posting, your readership is enjoying it I'm sure.

Dev Wijewardane said...

Great Shots, sounds like an amazing experience!

Ɓukasz Kruk said...

now that's inspiring. some great writing here, i'm subscribing right this minute. tell me, how do you manage to get take notes every (second?) day? i always find it difficult while traveling, as there's so much going on... please, do tell.

Paul Souders said...

It's tough to keep writing while on the road like this. The boat was an especially tough place to keep up to date with, but when we had slow times I sat down and made some notes, either long-hand or on my laptop while I was downloading cards. If I don't do it while it's fresh in my mind, the details fade away.

We had no internet access while onboard, so I have been spooling out the dispatches while I'm on the road in Kenya. Hopefully, I'll be able to continue getting material out from this trip after the Svalbard logs are finished.

Thanks for reading!

Best,
Paul
Nairobi, Kenya