Som nogle af læserne vil vide, så har godsejeren en opdagelsesrejsende boende i sit hjerte, og da jeg fik chancen for at tage til Svalbard, var der ikke langt fra ord til handling.
Rejsen blev bestilt i søndags, og 2 dage senere stod jeg tirsdag d. 21. april 2015 kl. 13.15 på havisen i Mohn bugten på Spitsbergen/Svalbard og studerede en isbjørn på 400 meters behørig afstand.
Jeg har skrevet en lille beretning til mine venner på engelsk, og jeg håber I vil synes om den:
OK, I have had my beer(s) celebrating and here is the story about the bear:
As mentioned in the previous Facebook post, I drove 100 km on a snowmobile through the white polar desert from Longyearbyen to Mohn Bay on the east side of Spitsbergen/Svalbard. The weather was part sunny, part cloudy and gave us extra joy and long views. It is a breathtakingly beautiful trip, starting with a long ride on a frozen riverbed in Adventsdalen, and turning right into the big and majestic Sassendalen valley. This valley is more than 50 km long and 5 km wide, just to give you an idea of the proportions, if you look at the map. The top of Sassendalen is the foot of the Rabot glacier, which we entered after a security briefing and drove up and up for another 20 km until we came to a steep decline down to the frozen ocean.
We where now in the kingdom of the polar bears, as they prey almost only on ring seals, that come up to breathe through the holes they keep clear for ice all winter. It was time for another security briefing, and the guide explained why she was equipped with a signal pistol, a rifle and a satellite telephone. The signal pistol is to be fired on the ground, in front of an attacking bear, to scare it of. If that does not work, the rifle comes in as second measure… God forbid, that the satellite phone comes in use…
We started again and headed north along the coast, driving on the ocean ice, scouting for bear. I noticed some tracks on the way, which I later realised was from reindeer, when I saw the real polar bear tracks! The guide saw the bear tracks and stopped us to photograph them, and have lunch. The tracks where big as my 12/47 winter boots and where maybe 3-6 hours old. I can assure you that I had my lunch with one hand, and the binoculars to my eyes with the other hand! Constantly checking the surroundings for signs of bears. They are a little yellow in their fur colour, and I saw several yellowish spots on the ice, but every time the guide said “no”.
I was about to give up, when all of a sudden, one of the yellow spots moved and a bear head looked up! Yihaaaaaaaaa (I thought) and I tried calmly to tell the others what I spotted. This obviously created some stir in the little group, and everybody wanted to borrow my (good) binoculars. Basically the bear was lying down, taking a nap, and some times rolled on its back, just as our dog Ludvig does, when he is feeling good. We where approximately 600 meters from the beast, and the guide decided to drive a little bit closer. At 400 meters we stopped and took pictures. A German guy had a really good telescopic camera lens, and he promised me to send some of his pictures. You can see some of mine, which I have zoomed in on and they are a bit blurry.
I was so excited and thankful for being in the middle of the polar wilderness, close to something dangerous, beautiful and totally ignoring us. I will newer forget this moment.
After half an hour in heaven we took of and headed back towards Longyearbyen.
On the way back we saw a ring seal resting on the ice, and the most beautiful glacier edge, with a blue hue and amazing carvings from years of impact from weather and pressure. It turned out that the bear apparently had been spotted the day before at the other end of Sassendalen, heading in our direction. Another group had seen its footprints several times on the track towards us. And my guide told me, that she had not seen one single bear all season. So again I was the lucky guy and now a certified polar bear spotter. Thanks for listening (if you are not sleeping already)