The Untamed North: Iceland to Greenland

On Location: Napassorssuaq Fjord, Greenland

Zegrahm Contributor|August 11, 2009|Blog Post

We continued our exploration of unvisited fjords farther south on the eastern Greenland coast where we entered Napassorssuaq Fjord, a spectacular glacial inlet containing a huge number of icebergs. We passed many sharp horned peaks and wide glaciers and had a view of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Our captain carefully maneuvered the Clipper Adventurer through the ice to the head of the fjord where we took the Zodiacs out for a cruise through the icebergs.

After enjoying a barbeque on the deck in glorious sunshine, we set off for a landing on the northern shore of the fjord. While a scout boat was out looking for a suitable landing site and the staff were standing by to land, the cry went up from the bridge that two polar bears were swimming near the opposite shore.

We watched as the bears swam towards the ship, stretching their necks for a closer look at us, noses in the air, the better to check us out by smell. The landing was cancelled and we spent much of the afternoon watching the bears as they swam along the coast, eventually coming ashore on a small beach. Rupert Pilkington, our bear expert, identified the bears as a mother of about six or seven and a male club about three or four years old.

Once ashore, the two bears shook themselves dry, stretched, rolled, and scratched on some Arctic willow before wandering across the slope to a snow patch. This the cub then slid down, followed more sedately by his mother. We watched them graze on berries, mow their way through the dandelions, and settle down for an afternoon snooze. All through this, our captain took the ship closer and closer to shore for outstanding views.

This was, Rupert told us, an exceptionally fine sighting of polar bears. Not only was it rare to have such a good view of them swimming, but to see the range of behaviors displayed by these bears in this wonderful landscape was remarkable.

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