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Islands of the North Atlantic Trip report

Walrus hunt

(from 20 August)

We woke for breakfast to discover that we had parked quite close to a haul-out of upwards of fifty walruses. It was cold and misty, but not raining, and the water was calm. No wind to speak of. After breakfast the mist had started to lift, and we boarded the zodiacs to go and meet the heard.

Our approach was headed off by a possie of about ten walruses, clearly headed in our direction. Curious, perhaps, or intent on having us keep our distance. Since walrus tusk is a natural enemy of zodiac inflatable, we kept our distance. They kept coming. Over a period of an hour or more, many pods or groups of young walruses came out to see what we were up to. At one stage a mother and a very young calf came up to have a look. Apparently such a young calf is rarely seen chaperoned in such a curious fashion, so it’s good that we got some photos of the event.

Giving the walruses some space, then, we turned our attention to the terns and gulls roosting on some of the floating icebergs. There were a couple of terns perched on a small berg that had been weathered almost completely transparent. Beautiful.

Back to the boat to warm up with Gluhwein and biscuits, a late morning tea while we sorted out our gear and photos before lunch.

After lunch the plan is another expedition to visit the walruses, and then we’ll sail for Liefde Fjord.

The after-lunch walrus meeting was cold and damp, but there were a few enthusiastically curious visitors, and lots of birds (gulls and …)

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