PICT0019

     bearwatching1

    Friday morning we woke to news that there was a mother polar bear with two young cubs near base camp.  This of course was very exciting and we all hurried to the big windows near the kitchen to have a look.  We were forbidding to go outside and there were many calls placed to UNIS headquarters for counsel on our actions that day.  Polar bears are protected on Svalbard (the last hunt was in 1972) and there are strict laws against pressuring/harassing the bears.  They were about 200-300 meters away just poking around.  Photo ops were not good and not a single person had a serious zoom lens on their camera, so the best we have is this poor photo of the bear taken through a window in camp.  I was not upset about this too much as I was enjoying the moment of watching these awesome animals through binocs.  

      The bears hung around all day, keeping us inside and off the glacier.  I was not disappointed because we would make the trip to the glacier the following day.  So, the day was spent reading, napping, doing computer work and continuing to watch the bears.  It was not until 6 pm that they wandered far enough away for us to get the all clear call to go outside.  We hustled up to the lake and picked up some equipment we left on the shore, doubled checked the sed traps and then made our way back to camp.  It was only a three hour trip, but I was happy to get a short hike in.  I went to bed that night happy and thankful that I got the chance to experience this beautiful and impressive animal.  

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