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Playful walruses at Poolpynten

Ettandet Hvalros i svalbard

10th July 2023

So now the connection is disappearing which means we cannot add pictures to the post and our phone connection is very limited. As we new this was happening we used our last stable internet hours on downloading music and podcasts.

As we left Tryghamna we kept a keen eye on the shoreline as we really don’t want to miss a polar bear walking along looking for fish. But we did not see any and also decided that if we saw them on the first day, we would have nothing to look for on the rest of the trip.

Whether we were sailing out of the fjord, around the corner or up north the wind was straight in our face. We are starting to wonder which wind god we have upset as we don’t understand how it can be always a headwind (perhaps it was the Bee Products)

So we motored towards Poolpynten as the wind was supposed to change and come West, so we should be sheltered enough to anchor at this very open space without being bothered by too many swells. We should have known better and known the wind would stay North given us a very bumpy nights sleep. The swells were all over the place and Steve was awake every 45 minute because of the movements.

But as we were coming closer to our destination, we could see a large group of walruses lying on the beach. When we got really close we were met by a group of young and playful juvenile walruses that were swimming around the boat. We decided to go to shore which meant getting the gun out for the first time.

Going to land is quite a big operation as we need water, snacks, VHF and Iridium as well as emergency gear, flash bangs and a very big and heavy camera. Before going to shore we also check the coastline for polar bears to make sure they are not near. Thus heavily packed we put the dinghy into the water and row towards land.

As we get nearer to the walruses you realise that they are not interested in you at all. They are also very big and look a little heavy so you can imagine they need a lot of excitement to start moving. But they do a lot of burping and farting. They are extremely smelly!

The younger ones in the water are more curious and like to swim close to the place where we stand to look at us. We have to keep and eye on the dinghy as we are scared they will find it too interesting and start playing with it.

When we row back to the boat we make sure the young one are not following us as we don’t want them to get the idea that we are playing buddies. As we get back to the boat we notice that they have seen us and are swimming in our direction. They seem to have a lot of fun looking at the boat from all angles.

Just as we thought we found a not too touristy place a big wooden boat with tourists comes along and goes to shore to look and the walruses. And this morning when we got up our boat was completely surrounded by RIBs transporting many groups from a large cruise ship to land.

We are so glad we got to experience them to ourselves for a few hours.

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