Fred's Logbook


Date / Time: 2011-07-03 14:52:00Voyage from: Bear Island to SvalbradETA: 03. July 2011
Fred's foster-parent:

Fred's vessel:
Vesselname:Hanse Explorer
Flag: Antigua & Barbuda
IMO No.:9346110
Vesseltype:Expedition Yacht
Length:48 m
Beam:10,4 m

I woke up from an unusual noise this morning.... and as I am very curious I looked out of my cabin window and what did I see..... as far as I could see there was ice!

We arrived in Svalbard!!! I hurried up to the bridge to get a better view. Wohooo... it was awesome, so many colours white, blue, grey and light brown. I did not know that ice is so colourful.

The air was fresh, it was only 0.5 degrees outside... brrrrr and they call it summer here ?! Suddenly Chief Mate Jens pointed in a direction... what's up? Black moving spots on the ice floe.... ohohhhh these were seals.

Harp seals said Brandon, our Expedition Leader, many many of them. They are very cute, each one looked different. Some of them had a black head and grey coloured fur, others had white fur with black spots... ohhhh how beautiful they were. They were enjoying a bit of sunshine. Very very slowly Captain Maggi steered our little blue ship towards the floe... and at the last 200 meters she let the vessel drift towards the ice where the seals were laying on. Curious why we did not head straight towards the floe I asked the Captain and Maggi said that the seals are very very shy and it only takes a little bit of noise to scare them away. We were really lucky to get such a close look at them.

Our plan for today: spotting polar bears... I hope we will be lucky to see one or maybe two... wohoooo... this is for sure one of the most exciting days I have spent so far on board the Hanse Explorer. Everybody is equipped with binoculars while navigating deeper into the ice... each little yellowish spot could be a bear... no joke.. it is really hard to distinguish whether it is dirty ice or a real polar bear.

Well, after hours and hours of outlook we still have no polar bear in sight. “Polar bears do not like this type of ice", said Captain Maggi, "they prefer large ice floes, sizes simililar to that of football game stadiums or bigger". Well we were still proceeding through ice and now and then groups of seals appeared and lots of fulmars were following the vessel's stern, but no bear.

It's getting evening even though nobody really noticed it as it is full daylight continious day and night. While chatting on the bridge..... someone spotted an enormous tall whale blow... ohhooo... what was that? Yes, yes, a blue whale... just a few hundred meters away from us.... gently we moved in that direction... stopped the engine and drifted a little while... wohoooooo... everybody kept their breath and starred onto the calm surface of the sea. Where will he come up again? Nearby us or already far away? And just in this moment the blue whale surfaced in front of us......

ohohh, I could see the big blow hole and I admired the long and slender bluish-grey body...... awesome!!!! How lucky we were to get to see one of the few thousands of blue whales left in our oceans. At 30 metres in length and 180 tons or more in weight, it is the largest ever known animal to have existed on earth.... after a few more blows our blue whale dived away and we continued on our way to North..... what an incredible day..... !!!