A Final Day of Excursions aboard SH Diana - Cruise Day 8

Day 8 was our final excursion day aboard the ship. Weather was a bit uncooperative on this day but we still managed morning and afternoon excursions. Our morning  zodiac brought yet another glacier and a lot of bird wildlife. Many common eiders, arctic terns, guillemots, and arctic skuas were seen at a very close distance. After about 30 minutes in the zodiac, we encountered another walrus! This one was resting on an iceberg. He was challenging to photograph as the snow and sleet were pretty blinding at this point. Unfortunately, we had to cut the zodiac cruise a bit short to get back due to the weather which was a bit sad as there were seals not too far from the ship.

A Cruise by Pyramidan

Once back aboard, we began cruising out to Billefjord. Along the way, we cruised by the abandoned Russian ghost town of Pyrimidan. We were a bit disappointed that we couldn’t explore the town, but again, the political climate during this year prevented it. We did get a few photos from a distance and the largest colony of kittiwake birds exists here nesting in old air conditioning ventilation in one of the abandoned buildings. 

Hiking a Moraine in the Snow

In the afternoon, weather was snowy and we hiked into a headwind to a glacial moraine. We climbed over various shades and sizes of rocks, left thousands of years ago and seen as the glacier receded. Fossils could be seen, mainly rocks with outlines of shells. We climbed as far up the moraine along a river as possible until the ice prevented any further forward progress for the group. After we meandered down toward the shore to an old fox trap and some trapper cabins. The area had the most flora we had seen with tiny arctic wildflowers dotting the terrain. Most prominent were the purple saxifrage that dotted the tundra landscape. 

The Captain's Farewell

Back aboard, we bid adieu to the captain, crew, and staff with a captain’s farewell with champagne and caviar. 

Our departure the next morning was early with a boat tender back to Longyearbyen at 8:30 AM before our charter flight at 11 AM back to Oslo.

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