arctic - svalbard norway

Svalbard is a Norwegian administered archipelago located midway between continental Norway and the North Pole.  It was originally a whaling base, followed by a period of coal mining operations, but now its primary industries are research and ecotourism. 

We were on a two-masted metal hulled schooner for ten days, traveling up the west coast of the largest island, Spitsbergen, visiting some of its many fjords photographing the arctic landscapes and wildlife. We were thrilled to see reindeer, walrus, artic fox, blue whales and numerous sea birds.  While we had a distant sighting of polar bears on land, the pack ice unfortunately had disappeared faster than anticipated, so they were not seen hunting seals in the water.

Sadly, the Arctic offers a powerful visual example of just how quickly climate change is challenging the survival of so many species.  Rising overall air temperatures, melting glaciers, and rising ocean temperatures are disrupting the breeding and feeding cycles for arctic bird colonies, along with the well documented dangers being posed for polar bears and other indigenous wildlife in the far North

Click on any image to enlarge.