Day 18 - Bear spotters extraordinaire
This morning we left our camping base inland and headed back to the coast, where we were kiting on the sea ice yesterday. There was a lot of wind today, almost too much, but we were managing to do some kiting when, to our disbelief, we spotted another beautiful bear.Credit goes to David. He might have to give up being a professional hippy after all, for he has clearly found his vocation; he is our chief bear spotter. Out on the ice this morning we came across a guide and his client, and revelled in having to show them where the bears were; we feel thoroughly veteran. We spent hours watching our bear, mesmerised. He was fascinated by the kites, but otherwise not bothered by us at all. He was busy playing around, fishing and hunting for seals, popping holes in the ice. Becoming really quite an expert in his field, as he is, David got the nearest of all. In fact, a really rather closer than desired encounter with the bear whilst filming, left him retreating faster than we have ever seen him. Looking through the camera lens, the bear seemed deceptively far away for quite some time, until he ran a little towards David that was, and was suddenly just 15 metres in front of him. The title of chief bear dodger of the day is also rightfully his. Maybe it all has something to do with his height?After our incredible day we headed back into Longyearbyen and spent some time with the locals, who are such friendly, welcoming people and are very interested in what we are doing out here.
Tomorrow we are heading on our ski-doos to Barentsburg, a coal-mining town and the main Russian settlement on Spitsbergen, three hours away. We will do some more kiting there, and bear spotting, of course. David has a reputation to uphold.