On our 8-week European tour (Dubai
- Paris - Norway -
Spitsbergen - Arctic cruises - Iceland -
Seine cruise - Dubai)
July-August 2015, we undertook 2 Arctic cruises from Spitsbergen 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 also saw our
first ever puffins - a real bonus!!
are any of three small species of alcids (auks) in the bird genus
Fratercula with a brightly coloured beak during the breeding season.
These are seabirds that feed primarily by diving in the water.
They breed in large colonies on coastal cliffs or offshore islands,
nesting in crevices among rocks or in burrows in the soil.
Two species, the tufted puffin and horned puffin, are found in the
North Pacific Ocean, while the Atlantic puffin is found in the North
All puffin species have predominantly black or black and white plumage,
a stocky build, and large beaks.
They shed the colourful outer parts of their bills after the breeding
season, leaving a smaller and duller beak.
Their short wings are adapted for swimming with a flying technique
In the air, they beat their wings rapidly (up to 400 times
in swift flight, often flying low over the ocean's surface.
on we saw a lonely puffin at
Dyrhólaey on our Iceland tour.
We loved the puffins!!