As expected, the journey North to the pack ice was rough along the West coast as we were exposed to the swells from the residual storms in the Arctic Ocean. I skipped breakfast the first morning as I heard sounds of china hitting the floor as we rolled.
It was so nice to be out on the zodiac amongst glacial ice to help get over the sea sickness.
Once we turned the West corner of Spitsbergen, the wind died down and was kind enough to let us cruise peacefully on our journey North.
The M/S Stockholm was built in 1953 for the Swedish National Maritime Administration and is a classic icebreaker. She sliced through the ice sheets effortlessly and we finally reached the pack ice before lunch. As the ice sheets parted or overturned, the gulls and kittiwakes were on high alert and dive bombed the fish that were unexpectedly exposed near the surface.
Apart from enjoying bird activity on the main deck, we spotted our first bearded seal resting on an ice sheet. Some bearded seals, like this one has a reddish brown face which is from the benthic sediments when they feed. They are quite skittish and they have a good reason for such behavior. They are one of the primary food sources for polar bears. It was certainly a good sign seeing bearded seals around, don't you think?
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