Arctic Ocean

On our 8-week European tour (Dubai - Paris - Norway - Spitsbergen - Arctic cruises - Iceland - River Seine cruise - Dubai)
 in July-August 2015, we undertook 2 Arctic cruises from Spitsbergen Island in the Svalbard archipelago,
 half way between Norway and the North Pole.

We wanted to see polar bears in the wild and over the 21 days of the 2 cruises we saw 14 polar bears. 

We had a 3-hour flight from Oslo to Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen Island.

On Spitsbergen Island

An Arctic fox

The Svalbard Seed Vault
Seed collections were first stored in this vault in an abandoned coal-mine in 2008.
Spitsbergen was considered ideal because it lacked tectonic activity and had permafrost, which aids preservation.
 Being 130 metres above sea level the site dry even if the ice caps melt.

The seeds are stored in four-ply sealed envelopes, then placed into plastic tote containers on metal shelving racks.
A feasibility study prior to construction determined that the vault could, for hundreds of years, preserve most major food crops' seeds.
 Some, including those of important grains, could survive far longer, possibly thousands of years.


Monacobreen Glacier
This dramatic glacier lies at the end of Liefdefjord (Love Fjord).
It is named in honour of Prince Alfred 1 of Monaco who organised expeditions to the area in 1906 and 1907.
The full glacier front is around 5km in width.

We saw our first walruss

Our furthest point north

Blue whale

On East Greenland

An Arctic hare

A Musk Ox

An Arctic mirage

The blue stripe is the result of melt water re-freezing when the ice was part of the glacier.
It absorbs colour differently.

Hump-back whale

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