August 6, 2022
Today we had two landings, once in the morning at Gnalodden, Hornsund and the second at Burgerbukta, Hornsund. These two locations are in the southernmost fjords in Svalbard and are characterized by high cliffs, seabirds and tidewater glaciers.
Gnalodden was our first stop and Patrick kayaked in the morning. The kayak tour started out windy and choppy, with winds to 25 knots. We headed down the coast, going with the wind, dodging the occasional iceberg and a number of submerged rocks where the waves were breaking. Fortunately we did not have to paddle back upwind since our escort boat picked us up in the lee of the last point before the open ocean.
Returning to the landing site we were able to go ashore where there was another hunter’s hut and a massive seabird colony on the cliffs above us. Some people were attacked by skuas protecting their territory, but Patrick’s bright orange drysuit was apparently not a good target. There was a overhang with unique acoustic properties, when entering, all noise stopped and you could not hear the birds at all. Leaving the overhang, the sounds of the seabirds returned. The vegetation was the usual moss and lichens.
Returning to the ship we had lunch as the ship traveled the short distance to Burgerbukta and a large tidewater glacier that was calving. Patrick headed back out on a kayak tour, one of only 6 people that showed up. We paddled under partly sunny skies and glassy calm seas among the iceberg debris from the glacier. Near the end of the tour we came upon a bearded seal sleeping on an ice floe and were able to just sit quietly only a couple of kayak lengths away. We also just sat in our kayaks with our eyes closed and listened to the sound of the air bubbles escaping from the bergs all around us.
Returning to the ship, most guests hurried with their packing before the final briefing and crew farewell, as well as watching the video the ship produced for each guest. The video is on Onedrive in the cloud, and we will have to wait until we return to download it.
The Seabourn Venture set sail for Longyearbyen where we will be alongside the pier for disembarkation and embarkation. The 28 in-transit passengers will be going on a bus tour in the afternoon, staying out of the way of the new guests. We will be masked up for everything once again since we have been in a relatively safe bubble for the last 10 days.
The tour was short, but the museum was worth the visit. Since it was Sunday, the stores were closed until 3PM, so no shopping. We drove by the entrance to the Svalbard Global Seed Bank, but were not allowed to approach.
The ship departed 1 ½ hours late due to lost luggage, but we finally left at 1830. Our destination tomorrow is Gravenesodden, where we hope to see more wildlife.