27 Jul 2018

A day to remember: Polar Bear cubs and hundreds of whales

An early wake up call was worth jumping out of our beds for; our first Polar Bear sighting for the voyage! A lovely introduction to what would become a fantastic day for wildlife encounters. A zodiac cruise along the coastline of Kolyuchin Island resulted in good viewings of puffins, arctic foxes and guillemots. We reluctantly came back onboard and set a course for Wrangel Island, only to have the call of ‘whales’ come on the intercom within 2 hours of setting sail. This was the first of many ‘whale’ announcements – we appeared to have come across an intense feeding zone for whales. Approximately 150 Humpback Whales, 20 Grey Whales and 2 Bowhead Whales were seen during a 2 hour window – such numbers were incredible to see in one spot, and for such a long period of time.


We again reluctantly set a course for Wrangel Island, only to have the call of ‘Polar Bear’ interrupt our sailing. The Captain ‘parked’ the ship downwind from a patch of ice where three Polar Bears  were just ‘hanging out’, not at all concerned by our presence. Two of the bears were cubs, approximately two-three years old, playing, swimming in a pool of water, occasionally looking over at us with curiosity and generally having fun! It is an experience that even the most seasoned expedition staff have never had the privilege of seeing before and something that everyone will remember for a long time to come. After one and a half hours of this incredible encounter we again set a course for Wrangel Island – all of us buzzing from such a wonderful day of wildlife watching. What could possibly come next?!

 

Polar Bear near Kolyuchin Island 1827  Whales near Kolyuchin Island 1827

© Heritage Expeditions                        © Heritage Expeditions

Polar Bears near Kolyuchin Island 1827  Polar Bears near Kolyuchin Island 1827

© C.Collins                                                                                      © C.Collins



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