Robin's Adventures

Arctic Circle, Greenland, and Iceland
Jewels of the North

Flora & Fauna of Ny-Alesund

The arctic tern has the longest annual migration of any bird. It breeds in the Arctic regions and spends winters in the Antarctic. These birds nest in small depressions in the ground and take turns sitting on the eggs.

Plant life in the arctic tundra consists of very small plants with a short growing season. The purple saxifrage and the moss campion are two examples that we saw in Ny-Alesund.

Fjortende Julibreen

The scenery at the Fjortende Julibreen (14th of July) bay was amazing. The glacier extended as far as we could see and beyond. The bay was clear and had large chunks of floating ice.

Ice can be Nice

We had a little fun with the ice that was at the edge of the bay.

Calving Glacier

Steve decided to hike up to the top of the glacier for a better view while Robin opted to spend her time observing the bird life. Suddenly, the glacier dropped a very large chunk off of its leading edge into the bay. There was a very loud cracking noise followed by a large chunk of ice splashing into the water. The resulting wave was so large, that Robin had to move very quickly uphill to avoid getting hit by the wave.

Black-legged Kittiwake

The Black-legged Kittiwake is the only member of the gull family who dives and then swims under water to catch its prey. These birds usually spend the entire winter at sea and come to shore during mating season.

Arctic Puffin

Not too far from the glacier were some beautiful cliffs that were being used as an Arctic Puffin breeding colony. These birds spend most of their life at sea and their strong wings make them both excellent swimmers and excellent fliers. They can dive to 200 feet in order to hunt for small fish or eels. In the air, they can achieve speeds up to 55 miles per hour.

Polar Bear Hoax

We were told that our first polar bear sighting would occur right after dinner. While this polar bear proved to be very tasty, this was not exactly what were were hoping to see.

Scenic Wonderland

As we progressed around the northwest coast of Spitsbergen, we were treated to some gorgeous scenery that included low clouds hanging on the shoulders of the mountains, glaciers, and icebergs.

Black Guillemot

The black guillemot provided a great deal of entertainment. They fly low over the surface of the water and when they take off it looks like they are running along the water with their bright red feet. In addition, the inside of their mouth is a bright orange color.


While exploring Liefdefjorden, or "Love Fjord", a pair of polar bears made a grand appearance. We first saw them swimming in the water near Makeoyane island.