After this morning’s captivating ramble amongst the rocks, we all are asking the same question.
When and how, will we see polar bears?
The expedition leader addresses us all in a meeting later that day and tells us that the question should be “IF AND WHEN will we see polar bears?” On the last cruise they only saw one and it was so far away it was just a white speck. If we see them at all, it will usually be from the ship. If we are lucky we will see them from the zodiac. The best way to see them is up at the arctic ice cap where we will be going later in the cruise.
The next morning at 6 am a bell rings in our cabin and the expedition leader’s voice comes over the PA system. We’re on vacation. We don’t do 6 am in the morning. Actually we don’t do 6 am when we are not on vacation. When several guests complain he replies “This is an expedition cruise. It is part of the experience”. Well we and others would rather it wasn’t.
But, the message he delivers is that there is a polar bear on land and if we come up to the viewing deck we will be able to see it with the use of binoculars. We debate whether this is worth getting out of bed for, let alone going outside. Begrudgingly we decide that if this is going to be our only opportunity, we should make the effort.
Dear readers, have you any idea just how cold it is standing on a ship’s deck at 6 am in the arctic circle? Well let’s just say that certain parts of the body that you never want to shrink, do. Other parts of the body that you would love to shrink, do not.
And was it worth it? Well, you be the judge. It takes quite some time to actually spot this little bit of white fluff in the distance with the binoculars. But once I have, I take out my camera.
I am not one of those people wielding a large camera, with an enormous lense and zoom to compensate for a small penis (however badly you want to comment, don’t!)
But I do have a camera with a x30 zoom, which under most circumstances is all I need. This is not most circumstances. With the camera, the little bit of white fluff vaguely resembles a sheep. I take photos. The sheep is so far away and I am so cold that it is impossible to get the thing into focus. I take many pics, and this is the best one.
No doubt about it, we should have stayed in bed
Two days later, the bell in our cabin goes off again. This time we are told that there are two bears and they are feeding on the remains of a carcass. We heave ourselves out of bed, put many more layers of clothing on and head for the deck. The bears are still a long way away, but we can spot them with the naked eye. They are intent on feeding and we watch them for some time. Many of the little men with huge cameras start showing us the amazing photos they have taken. Several of them have captured the moment when the bears appear to be kissing with their noses touching. It is a wonderful shot, the bears fill the screen and look totally adorable. The Fabulosity Meter makes enthusiastic noises. The little men puff out their chests.
The Fabulosity Meter refuses to make a sound. Message received loud and clear! Next time, do not get out of bed.
A couple of days later the bell rings again. This time we just pull the covers over our heads and try to go back to sleep. But the bell seems to know. It goes off again.
This time they have decided to launch the zodiacs to get us closer to the bear. For this we get out of bed. But the bear is lying down, its head on its paws and its eyes closed, and just like us, appears to be quite happy doing that and nothing else. As I point my camera, it lifts its head and looks directly at me.
I plead with it to get up and pose for me. It doesn’t get up, but it does strike a pose
And if you look closely at its front paws, I believe it is clapping
Now we can go back to bed.