Svalbard

Svalbard is an archipelago belonging to Norway, located about halfway between mainland Norway and the North Pole. Most of the islands and covered by snow and ice (glaciers), Svalbard used to have quite a few coal mines. Now, it is building it's tourism industry.

I spent a few weeks touring the island on a small ship and puttered around icebergs in a zodiac boat. Although the scenery is spectacular, it is difficult to convey the other senses. While in the ice pack, I can hear what sounds like rain drops hitting the water only to find out that it was small air pockets being released from the melting ice. These air pockets were trapped thousands of years ago when the snow was packed in tightly to form the glaciers. What an incredible feeling to know that one is breathing 10,000+ year old air.

The color of the icebergs are incredibly rich. The black lines were created by sandstorms from local mountains where the sediments fell on the top of the glaciers. All the icebergs in my photos are "as is". No color enhancements, etc. What you see is... well, what you see!

Blue iceberg

Blue iceberg

Light blue iceberg

Light blue iceberg

Crystal-blue iceberg

Crystal-blue iceberg

In the ice pack

In the ice pack

Polar bear rolling on the ice

Polar bear rolling on the ice

Polar bear roaming the ice pack

Polar bear roaming the ice pack

Young walrus heading for open water

Young walrus heading for open water

September sunset

September sunset

Black-legged kittiwakes

Black-legged kittiwakes

Snoozing on the shore

Snoozing on the shore

Russian driftwood

Russian driftwood