Bear Two

The first bear was seen on day one. The trip's going to be good.  We're ready for more. "We'll cruise the edge of the sea ice for a while, and see if anything turns up."  Sure enough - within a few minutes one of the old hands glances up from her book in the observation lounge, leans forward just to be sure, and cries "Bear, 9 o'clock". She's spotted an adult bear swimming strongly in the water just off the port side of the ship.  The message goes up to the bridge, and the boat heaves to. The next move is up to the bear.  

We're easy for the bear to spot - a 6000 tonne converted Russian spy ship is pretty obvious even when running quietly.  The bear comes in for a look, but decides that we're of limited interest -and certainly not edible - so soon swims away resuming his track towards the edge of the ice.  Lots of years of experience amongst the crew mean that we opt to sit still, in gathering mist, just to see what happens next.  We wait. The bear waits. Time passes.  Eventually the bear moves off inland away from the waters edge to explore a bit further.  We move in a little closer to the ice edge, and stop fast against the ice.  More time passes. The bear eventually decides that we deserve a closer inspection. So he picks himself up from his snooze and wanders towards us.  There's a  sudden cacophony of noise, every camera shutter fires. 

This is the close up chance of the trip. We might never see a bear this close again. He wanders closer and closer.  He follows the leads in the ice around the ship. Are there any of those nice Goretex-wrapped snacks around, so tempting in their bright yellow packaging.   He stands up to get a close look at the folks leaning over the edge - again the barrage of camera shutters. We get a really good look at him, he gets a really good look at us.  If there had been a gangway he'd probably have come aboard. That would probably have resulted in some great photographs, but would have been a problem to resolve.

In the absence of a gangway the bear eventually decided that it was time to stride majestically off over the ice.  He clambers over a nearby pressure ridge in the ice, and suddenly loses his footing, and slumps clumsily down though the ice. He then does exactly what you or I would do in the circumstance, he's looks round to see if anyone has noticed. Or course we had.  There were 100 Nikons or Canons pointed directly at him.  His majestic exit has been rumbled. 

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