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  • Writer's pictureJim McNeill

Foundation II Day Nine

So we were supposed to have dropped anchor in Gåsøya (Goose Island) but the weather pushed us back to Skansbukta, where we had been some 4 days ago.

Hannah who was on watch had decided to cook pancakes for breakfast so this wonderful smell had pervaded the ship.

Sam was asked to ring the breakfast bell at 07:30. On her rounds, Sam noticed something moving onshore and so after finishing her ringing came back into the lounge to grab her binoculars for a better look. "I was all on my own at the helm when I realised - it was a polar bear on the beach.

Evidently the wonderful pancake smell had wafted in the direction of this beautiful polar bear who couldn't resist coming over to see if we had any spare....needless to say she was named pancake!

The shout went out and in no time Sam was joined by everyone, some in a state of undress!

The bear cooly but deliberately swam to within 10 metres of the ship, stopping to occasionally sniff the air on route. Emotions ran high. For most it was their very first proper bear encounter. When she realised that nothing would be forthcoming (it is rightly illegal to feed wild animals in Svalbard) she swam past and seeing a floating Arctic Petrel, she dived and came up underneath and grabbed her own breakfast which she took back to shore to scoff.

As we watched her so we spotted more Reindeer on the beach, a white and a black Arctic Fox - quite a wildlife finale.

What a thrill for everyone and on our last morning afloat.

We set the sails and sailed into Longyearbyen, reaching civilisation at around 16:00.

Thanks so much to Helen Habershon for her stunning composition



Start: Skansbukta 78.52º N 16.03º E

Finish: Longyear Port 78.22º N 15.60º E

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