East Greenland Expedition: Mini Auks & Massive Polar Bears in Scoresby Sund
On the afternoon of August 24, we proceeded west, further into Scoresby Sund, with the intention of making a landing on the north shore. The beach turned out to be completely blocked by ice, so instead we launched Zodiacs and went for a ride amongst the floes and bergs.
Ice cruising is always fantastic, and this trip was enhanced by our encounters with the tiniest of the puffin family – the Dovekie or Little Auk.
Scattered throughout the ice were pairs and small groups of these diminutive auks, diving and feeding on what appeared to be shrimp-like invertebrates. The pairs were mostly recently fledged chicks with an adult – on some occasions we saw adults feeding these chicks.
After working our way through a light band of ice we entered the huge fjord system of Scoresby Sund. Its mouth is 29km wide and we could just glimpse part of the village of Ittoqqortoormiit off our starboard side. The fjord has a complicated structure with numerous branches that all grow increasingly narrow as they penetrate inland.
As The World passed the mouth of the fjord, sharp eyes on the bridge spotted a suspicious lump on an ice floe off the port side. Captain Saevik skillfully approached the floe from downwind and sure enough, there was a sleeping Polar bear!
An excellent start to our first day in Greenland.