After being hunted near extinction, the polar bears in Svalbard have been
protected since about 1970.
They are still very shy of people, abut are also the top of the food chain.
Local law requires everyone to carry a firearm, except within the only towns (Longyearbyen and Barentsburg) and the research station at Nye Alesund
Polaris, a French "expedition" cruise ship (small one with a dozen guests, who goes into small anchorages like us) called us on the radio about 6 one morning to say there was a bear sleeping in the rocks above us. We could not see him, and finally one of the crew kindly came over in a dinghy to show us. Only a little white fur was visible, later a pair of ears showed up.
After a couple of hours, he wakened up and started to look us
over, first one eye, then quite attentively, perhaps evaluating his chances
of having one of us for lunch
|After half an hour's careful examination, he decided we were too smelly, to difficult to catch or whatever and ambled off over the hill.|
|Later, we saw this other bear on a small
island, and drew the attention of the guests on Polaris to it. Water
was too shallow for Milvina to go close, and the falling snow did not help
After seeing the bear, reviewing our schedule and disliking the wet snow, we headed South towards Lillehook Fjord
|Home Sailing home page 2014 home page on to Lillehook Glacier|