Svalbard, Norway

Remote camera view of young Polar Bear chewing on the two-year-old skeletal remains of a dead Fin Whale beached near Sallyhamna (Sally Bay) on Spitsbergen Island.

We motored overnight to reach Sallyhammna and the final resting place of the dead fin whale we photographed two years ago. We motored into the bay at six in the morning, joining two other private yachts. Heinrich dropped anchor twice as close as the other boats, blocking one’s view entirely.

Skipper knows how to make himself at home.

The whale’s bones lay scattered, enormous and glowing in the shallow water here. As the tide ebbed, her spine lay exposed at the beach. Polar bears had scattered smaller bones as playthings in the snow.

A small polar bear chewed on a two-year-old hunk of whale blubber, gray and crumbling with age. It didn’t look especially appetizing, but as soon as she finished she waded into the shallow water and gracefully dove down to grab another vile mouthful.

Flipping forward, she rolled over, butt in the air with her rear paws kicking lightly to submerge. It was hysterical.

One bear drifts off and we wait hours in the unexpectedly warm sun for another to come and feed. Since the whale washed into this bay in 2009, it has acted as a focal point for dozens of feeding bears. Even now, two years on, a surprising density of bears filled the surrounding fjords.

Photographed July 8, 2011 with a Canon 7D and 10-22mm lens. Exposure 1/250 at f/8.

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One Response to “Svalbard, Norway”

  1. Carl D says:

    Hey Paul

    You’re awesome, man. This is fantastic



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