Saturday, 8 February 2014

The Arctic landscape: A photo-blog

The landscapes we encountered during our cruise around the Svalbard archipelago were varied, dramatic and fascinating, just like the history of this region. We travelled along the pack ice, high into the Arctic circle, thick sheets drifting past and groaning as they brushed our boat. We anchored next to huge glaciers, watching vast chunks break off and smash into the water. As we returned south, moss covered the craggy shores and reindeer munched high up green hills. Some days, the skies were clear and the sun shone, on others the rain fell and the sky remained a thunderous grey.

Every day in the Arctic is different and the landscape reflects this diversity. Here's a few pictures from each day of our trip.

Eroding glaciers create caves where the cliff of ice meets the water 

Scores of walruses flop on top of each other along this soft sand beach
A pastel sunset contrasts with steel-hued waves on our return from a landing

Each landing reveals a completely different landscape - this time craggy rocks

Huge blue icebergs catch the light during a zodiac cruise 

Thousands of birds call to each other from their nests, creating a wall of sound...

Yet from a distance, you'd hardly know they were there

As we turned south, green moss was our first clue that the flora was becoming more abundant

Stories of the past everywhere - in this case, a bleached whale vertebra

When the sun was shining on a clear, blue day, you would hardly believe we were in the Arctic

Old mining and hunting settlements, abandoned and battered of the elements, reveal the human history of the region

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