The Arctic Sunrise has sailed us all the way to the edge of the sea ice. We found it far west at 78 to 79 degrees latitude North, almost 16 hours sailing further away than normal. We are in a record melting year indeed.
We anchored on an ice sheet for a couple of days to get a good feeling what the melting Arctic is like, to take a few pictures and of course to see if we could spot a polar bear.
I took it upon myself to climb up the Crow’s Nest 25 metres above the ship, and take in the 360 degree view. As far as I could see it was just one giant cracked ice sheet.
We are right in the middle of nowhere. The view and the silence are breath-taking. It just makes you feel alive. This white palace is classic polar bear territory, and sure enough we got to spot a mum and her cub strolling along, probably as part of a migration. The next day we received a visit from another polar bear, probably a male. If you have seen the documentary ‘Frozen Planet,’ you might have a bit of an idea what I am going through at the moment.
Unfortunately this beautiful part of the planet is under threat. Oil companies see the retreat of the ice as an opportunity to start drilling in the area. Greenpeace might have helped delay them for a year, but they will be back next year. It saddens me to imagine a spill around here. It would truly be impossible to clean up.
But it is not too late. We have now over two million people who have signed their name to a demand to declare the Arctic a sanctuary. If you haven’t yet signed, go to www.savethearctic.org.
Let’s save this paradise!