Today was a true expedition day. Many of us woke up early out of sheer joy and excitement for the unknown; our daily program simply stated, “Expedition day in Svalbard”. We had our first of many close walrus encounters just after 04:00; the buzz on the bridge was palpable.

Throughout the day, National Geographic Resolution truly came into her own as we all watched in awe as she crushed through ice as far as the eye could see. Everyone tucked into their favorite spot, whether it be on the bridge, their private balcony, the Sanctuary, or the outer decks to take in our majestic surroundings. Iconic Arctic wildlife flooded our binoculars: ivory gulls, bearded seals, and more walrus, with the occasional set of tracks in between!

With perfect conditions and divine weather, the bridge team parked our ship in the ice for our first ice landing, fueled with hot chocolate, snow angels, and unique photo opportunities.

As we set sail the bridge and outer decks fell silent as everyone was eagerly looking for our first polar bear. Minutes later our expedition leader, Stefano, shouted “BEAR”. We watched a mother and cub for the rest of the afternoon.