Image from file (c) D.Brown
Within seconds of the announcement that the first Polar Bears of our 'Chukotka: Where Russia's Day Begins' voyage had been spotted, Kapitan Khlebnikov's dining room was empty as expeditioners filed out onto the bow and bridge. Three bears were identified: one lone bear and a female and her cub feeding on a floating whale carcass. For the next hour, we had a front-row seat to a live episode of Planet Earth as a continuous stream camera clicks could be heard among the excited chatter.
At one point the cub mounted the whale's belly for better leverage and access to the blubber and slowly floated away from its mother. Watching intently, the mother 'called' out for the cub to return only to be ignored, as if a young toddler intent on playing in the backyard a little longer. Moments later two more Polar Bear were spotted making their way to the whale carcass for what may have been round two or three. In total, we counted 9 Polar Bears within our view - an unexpected, magnificent experience and hopefully a prelude of what's to come near Wrangel Island!
In the evening, we pushed our way through the sea ice and anchored in Wrangel Island's Krassin Bay for the night.