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Lots of wildlife at Engelskbukta

Snow bear anchored with mountains in the background

11th July 2023

After yesterday’s bumpy sleep we were both pretty tired. Steve needed to calm down after the fright of waking up next to a cruise ship and all the RIBs, so after he had several coffees, we headed off to a place that would feel homely too him: Engelskbukta (English bay). Apparently a whaling hotspot for English sailors in the 17th century.

The lack of wind (which we think might be caused by us sacrificing the leftover of Ilse’s bee poop to Poseidon at the Arctic monument) has resulted in us moving towards 80 degrees North in a slow pace. We have decided to motor for a few hours, drop anchor and investigate the area we are in.

So why is it important to reach 80 degrees North? Well historical it has been a milestone for adventurous sailors as this was a difficult place to get to due to the remote location and the hard sea. With global warming and tourism booming it has become easier to get wild experiences, but 80 degrees North is still an achievement as it takes some planning the right equipment.

Entering Engelskbukta we were met by a curious group of seals who were swimming around the boat. The bay had lots of different birds and while getting the dinghy ready we saw a little arctic fox trying to catch one but having to settle with a leftover fish probably from a seal.

We had carefully scanned the shoreline with the binoculars for polar bears before getting to shore, but also felt confident that the many reindeers in the area would have reacted to a bear walking by.

Steve had a dream of photographing the fox from land as it had been a bit far off from the boat, but we weren’t able to find the little guy.

But we did find some footprints from a polar bear with a cub walking on the beach but they weren’t fresh prints.

We continued to walk towards the pack of reindeers that stood scattered all over the mountain side. Standing very still we got two curious young males to approach us carefully before they got terrified by our presence and ran away.

As we walked back towards the dinghy we found the leftovers of an old whaling boat. Or that is what we think it was as the nails on it looked handmade and because these can be found at various places up here. We were also distracted by a cute little bird who was dancing in front of us – probably to try to get us away from a nearby nest.

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