Napassorssuaq Fjord was our next destination. We saw no traces of human occupation here, but we did see glorious views and had another encounter with polar bears.

Napassorssuaq Fjord

The waters of the fjord were remarkably still, which made for breathtaking reflections.


I haven't mentioned it yet, but the expedition included the option (for a limited number of experienced kayakers) of sea kayaking at selected locations.

The "suiting up" spot was right outside our stateroom. It was quite a sight to see our fellow travellers in their special suits, form-fitting life vests, and spray skirts hanging down to their knees.

The kayakers didn't load into their craft directly from the ship. They climbed into a Zodiac, which was then driven to the location they would be exploring. The kayaks were boarded from the Zodiac.


Off they go to their exploration site. We never saw the kayakers once they left the ship, so I couldn't get a picture of them in action. They all enjoyed the experiences.

Napassorssuaq Fjord

Once the kayaks were away, the ship proceeded to the location where the Zodiacs would be exploring.

Jim and I elected to stay on board rather than take to the Zodiacs. It meant that we got a great overview of the magical polar bear encounter even though we weren't up close and personal.

Polar bear and cub

This mother bear only had one cub. She seemed in much better condition than the earlier mother bear. The cub was larger as well. I don't know whether the difference was due to the single cub or whether the cub might have been older. Cubs stay with their mother for 2 1/2 to 3 years.

Polar bears and Zodiacs

After prowling around the shore for a while and looking like they would head for the hills, the mom approached the shoreline in spite of the presence of the Zodiacs, which maintained a respectful distance.

She seemed to alternate between suspicion and curiosity, but curiosity won out. Imagine everyone's surprise when the bears came right down to the water.

Swimming bears

And then the bears eased into the water and began swimming along the shoreline (they are to the right of the right-most Zodiac.

The Zodiacs quickly retreated even farther away. I expect that the passengers were under strict instructions to keep quiet, but there was plenty of oohing and aahing on the ship!

Polar bears, Napassorssuaq Fjord

Their curiosity apparently satisfied, the bears hauled out and moseyed off into the mountains.

It was an amazing experience, even for those of us on the ship. I can only imagine how exciting it must have been for those folks in the Zodiacs. They were on Cloud Nine!

Napassorssuaq Fjord, Greenland

That wasn't the end of the excitement, however. As mom and kid wandered off, the Zodiacs continued their exploration of the fjord. Imagine their disbelief when they encountered ANOTHER bear in the water. That bear, presumably a male, climbed onto an ice floe and stood up on his hind legs to get a better look at these strange craft. I've seen some of those pictures and they are pretty amazing.

I wonder if he was trying to decide if tourists were good to eat!

For my money, bears aside, this was the most beautiful place of the entire trip.

Glacier, Napassorssuaq Fjord, Greenland

You can only look at so many gorgeous icebergs and glaciers (there will be more), so I'll just include this one other picture from Napassorssuaq Fjord. These rocks have been so recently scoured by the ice that no plant material has had a chance to get established.

The darker ice around the rocks has no new snow layer from the current season. The bright white is fresh snow.

There was another Zodiac outing that we skipped in this location, which gave people the opportunity to walk on a glacier. We've skied on glaciers and didn't feel the need to walk on one ... even in Greenland. It turned out that some folks had a great excursion, but others ran afoul of treacherous bogs and came back to the ship bringing quite a lot of Greenland mud as a souvenir!

Stanford leaders

Leslie Kim, on the left, and Rob Dunbar, on the right, were the Stanford staff with us on the trip. Leslie was our Stanford Leader, and she did a fabulous job of keeping up with us all and generally herding cats.

Rob was our Stanford lecturer. All of the lectures that we heard on board were informative and entertaining. I took great notes on my laptop. Unfortunately I managed to delete most of the content in my "lectures" file. Next time I'll make sure that I create separate files for each lecture!

Even though Rob has made his slides available to the attendees, they really do need the notes to be completely intelligible to this non-oceanographer. There is much, however, that I do remember -- enough to find sobering.

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