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Trip Report Polar Bears and Walruses- An Arctic Odyssey.

This was an Arctic cruise of 10 nights departing Longyearbeyen, Svalbard in mid July. With 24 hours of daylight it was hard to find time to sleep in case we missed something special. The highlights included:-
Breaking ice to reach our furtherest northly point of 810 11', in a landscape of white and mist.
Observing a Polar bear on the ice coming right up to the ship
Observing a mother and two cubs foraging on the shore some 20m from the zodiac and a bear swimming past the zodiac. In total 17 Polar bears, 12 at close range.
 Sitting quietly on the shoreline near a pod of 200 walrus and being inspected at very close range by walrus that came out of the water.
Viewing glaciers calve and cruising around sculptured blue icebergs.
An extended illustrated report is provided at http://www.artphototravel.net/polar-regions/polar-bears-walruses-arctic-odys/.
Conclusion.
Any Arctic cruise invites comparison with Antarctica. Both are extreme regions of cold and ice.
An Arctic cruise is predominantly a push to reach the furthest north into the pack ice and a search for polar bear and walrus, while in Antarctica with its extensive wildlife, the emphasis is to interact with the vast colonies of penguin and birds on the land.
An advantage of an Arctic cruise, is that it is far more accessible, of shorter duration and thus less expensive, and one can get much closer to the pole than with an Antarctic cruise.
However, if I had to choose, I would choose the Antarctic.

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