At about a quarter to eight, still sitting in the Mess having just cleaned off Ronnie's lasagne, we got a call from Paul, the first mate, over the ship's tanoy system. "There's a big polar bear to our starboard."

Everyone together shouted "bears, bears!" so it echoed around the ship and we all ran to collect our jackets, hats and cameras and got up on deck.

There he was. A big adult male polar bear zig-zagging his way towards the ship until he was perhaps just ten metres away or less.

That this was the ninth polar bear we've seen in less than a fortnight did nothing to lessen our excitement.

Just before dinner when the scientists returned in the helicopter from having been working on an ice floe a few kilometres away they said they had seen bear print trails from the sky less than a kilometre away. They were pointed in our direction, so we did have an inkling that perhaps we might be lucky and get another bear visit.

Exactly as with the previous occasions, the bear was curious and completely fearless. He wandered around the ship for almost exactly an hour. Sliding, jumping between slabs of ice, and even stopping for ten minutes for an apparent sleep just beside us.

However, the point at which this became a full Narnia moment was when, as if from nowhere and like something from a myth, a pair of Gyr Falcons appeared.

Diving and flapping around one another, just above the bear, it was mesmerising to see.

Just to top it all off, a noisy Arctic Skua came along and tried to 'see off' one of the Falcons in a flurry of squawking and flapping, and all just still right above the polar bear.

Gyr falcon

What made it all especially magical was the setting. A clear three-quarters moon high above the ice scape, with an orange-turning-pink sky lighting up the horizon.

It was an incredible final evening in the ice for me in what has been an epic trip of a lifetime.

As the bear wandered off into the wilderness, I felt a tinge of sadness to know that perhaps I would never get to see a scene like this again, and that if the great melt continues, nor would anyone else.

Photo: © Nick Cobbing/ Greenpeace