Young polar bear walking along shore of Cape Hay. Photo by Justin PeterAfter being overflown by the flock of Brandt Geese, we continued along off the shoreline south of Cape Hay and soon found what spooked the geese – two Polar Bears, both fairly young.  One was running up the cliff away from us, the other over the hill ahead of us.  As we drew nearer, we saw the reason for their fright and flight.  There was a very large, and probably mean, older bear in the water.  (The kayakers decided to stay in their tow-zodiac today.)  Apparently after putting the fear of Satan into the young bucks, he decided to go across the bay.  Since it was only three miles straight across and probably as much as four by land he decided to just swim across. Talk about being at home in the water. 

We travelled around the nearby point and caught up with one of the younger bears walking along the shore.  He was no longer running but boy could he cover a lot of ground just walking.  We followed him for about a mile and he never let up, still frightened of the bigger bear.  What a magnificent creature even though he was still not fully grown up.  When he got to the glacier he headed up the mountain beside it.      

We proceeded along to the front of the glacier, being careful to stay well away from the bear in the water.  The glacier was massive.  Parts of the face were 100 feet high.  The face was very dark and fractured, the latter a result of its twenty to thirty mile trip over and around the Byam Martin Mountains which stretch the length of the island. We patrolled off its face for well over an hour, hoping to see it calf but no luck so we headed back the ten miles or so to the Vavilov.

Major OOPS!!  An ice flow about 50 feet across and several miles long had moved in between us and our ship.  All eight of the zodiacs patrolled up and down the pack for a quarter hour or so, looking for a lead through.  No joy.  Finally one of the drivers spotted a crack between bergs.  He pushed his zodiac up against it and with another zodiac pushing from behind, opened a lead wide enough for the rest of us to hustle through.  Major relief!

We were greeted back on board with Bailey’s in hot coffee and polka music.  What a great day!

Photo captions and credits:     

Young polar bear walking along shore of Cape Hay,  Photo by Justin Peter

Cape-Hay-Bylot-Island Glacier, Photo by Justin Peter

Cape-Hay-Bylot-Island Glacier, Photo by Justin Peter

Major OOPS!! Welcome sight.