SHO: An unbelievable experience at Wrangel Island

19 September, 2017

I simply don’t know where or how to start this blog .. today has been one of those days I or anybody else with me will never ever forget. You had to live it to believe it, even now there are people pinching themselves to make sure it really happened, but I get ahead of myself.

The day started at 0530 with an early breakfast. We were anchored near Pitchy Bazar on the western coast of Wrangel Island. The Island was coated with a fresh coating of snow, a huge contrast to yesterday’s blue sky and warm weather at the Clark River. The early morning lighting that accompanied the sunrise was surreal. There were several options, ranging from the very easy to the more extreme.

I was on beach patrol with some folk on the easier walk when a young bear wandered our way. He had attitude and he was definitely interested in us. We persuaded him to move on and he lay down about 50 metres away in the snow and watched us. It was a close but incredibly fascinating encounter.  Little did we know there were even more incredible things to come.   What we saw (and experienced) next will rewrite expedition travel experiences.  We were cruising down the coast and saw a “herd” or “convention “ of Polar Bears on/near the beach.  There was a dead bowhead whale and we counted over 150 Polar Bears (of all ages, sexes and sizes) that were either feeding or had been feeding on it in the immediate vicinity of the whale.  We launched the zodiacs for a closer look and that is the memory we will all carry with us … there are no words to describe it. I share one photo in the hope that it will portray something of our experience.

We leave Wrangel Island tonight on the last leg of this journey.

Rodney Russ - Expedition Leader, Owner and Founder 

Wrangel Island Across the Top of the World Polar Bear Expedition

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