Polar Bear checking the water for seals. Photographed from the deck of the Greenpeace Ship Arctic Sunrise, Monday June 29th, at the ice edge of the Lincoln Sea, Arctic Ocean.
Photo: (c) 2009 Dave Walsh
Here’s an extract from a blog entry I wrote for Greenpeace:
The crew of the Arctic Sunrise is on top of the world today, for many mindblowing reasons. As I write this, the ship is nudged up against the sea ice of the Arctic Ocean at 82.5 north – a latitude higher than any Greenpeace ship has achieved before, as far as we know. A couple of hours after we arrived, and had barely finished breakfast, a young polar bear loped past, seemingly curious and indignant about us unfurry humans gawping at it from our inedible green ship. It had been prowling along the ice edge, looking for seals for breakfast. We later saw evidence that it may have been successful, but I’ll spare squeamish readers the details. After such a short time here, it’s incredible that we’ve seen one of the world’s most formidable animals, one that is at risk from the lost of sea ice caused by climate change.
Where are we anyway? To the west, in the distance are mountains in the north of Ellesmere Island, and we can just about see the Canadian base at Alert. To the east, the mountains Greenland’s top end lie on the horizon. To the south, Nares Strait – the route to Baffin Bay by which we arrived, and to the north – well, there’s really only frozen ocean between here and the geographic North Pole. Earlier – with lookouts keeping an eye for polar bears, most of the crew jumped out onto the ice, taking a very short stroll around on the Arctic Ocean, before Nick had us clowning for a crew photograph – with Captain Pete holding a sign that reads “North Pole: 445 miles”.