A morning Zodiac cruise in Foyn Harbour (not my video, but it was very much like that!) of such devastating and overwhelming beauty that I was (a) contemplating the fact of my usual preference (confirmed) for the thousand words over the picture and thinking that really there is nothing I can do with my little camera that is not rendered obsolete by better photographs taken by others because (b) the real thing is that it is almost impossible to imagine the sublimity of this physical environment! If Wordsworth had been resident on a whaling ship, but not had to look at the bloody business of whaling itself and only at the land and sea and animals. . .
We spent most of our time watching a pair of humpback whales, mother and calf, from an unbelievably close distance. They are creatures of extraordinary beauty and grace – charismatic megafauna! – quite lovely. And looking very closely at some ice – the zodiac pilot was an ice enthusiast, and talked with magical enthusiasm of bubble rills and crevasses.
A penitential barbecue for lunch on the open deck (it was snowing and hailing!) of the other ship (race participants divided among two ships) – we were all skulking in our lifejackets along the side deck well before anyone was really quite willing to take us back – it was very good to come back from the Ioffe to the Vavilov and hole up in the upstairs bar/observation lounge and watch as our ship moved through Wilhelmina Bay.
There is a color of ice so pale and chemical a blue that it is hard to believe it exists in nature. It is the best color, like a Windex meringue of the palest and most delicious hue...