Ellesmere Island

Hungry Polar Bears and Curious Belugas on Ellesmere Island

We woke up with the Ship tucked into Boger Bay on the southeast side of Ellesmere Island. We were very close to the beach and there were lots of polar bears around. As a matter of fact, we had to cancel both the kayaking and hiking expeditions because we had 10 plus bears roaming around the area. There was a washed-up whale carcass on a nearby beach that was drawing bears from all around the area.

We watched from the Ship as a mother and a cub picked their way along the rocky hill right in front of the Ship, down to the shoreline, and along the cliffs on their way to the feast. At one point they got slammed pretty hard by the waves breaking on the rocks, but it didn’t seem to bother them much.

We took a morning zodiac ride around Boger Bay and it was fantastic. The fog kept parting just enough to give us good views of the mountains and glaciers on all sides. There were icebergs of all sizes drifting around with birds sitting on them.

We went a bit further down the shore to a beach to make a landing. We started seeing belugas in the distance near the shore, but they were gone when we landed on the beach. We got out and stood on shore taking in the view for a while and then got back into the zodiac and pushed of. We were only a few dozen feet off shore when the beluga pod turned around and came straight at us. They were obviously chasing some fish but it looked like a stampede with several dozen belugas swimming right at us and frothing up the water.

They wound up swimming between us and the shore and even right under our zodiac. I got some good beluga photos and even a photo of a polar bear sitting on shore watching the belugas swim by.

After one of the best zodiac cruises ever we got back on the Ship and went further north into the very end of Boger Bay to set our northernmost mark of the trip at 77°22.33’ North.

We sailed along the coast of the island for a while taking in beautiful mountain and glacier scenery as different layers of fog came in and out. We eventually stopped the Ship in an area relatively clear of icebergs and did the polar plunge. It was cold. We warmed up in the pool and we had a nice dinner while watching the ice and the mountains as we headed back south keeping Ellesmere Island on our starboard side.

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