Monday 26th September 2022

At 07:35 we were awakened by the stern thrusters putting the ship in position for landings. We were in Bell Sound 77N 14E with a view of Damesmorenen which is the terminal moraine of the glacier. Geologists suggest that this is one of the few moraines that dates from the period between the end of the last Ice Age and the Little Ice Age of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Generally, any enlarged glaciers at this time bulldozed all of the older glacial deposits but here is a rare exception where the glacier and its surrounding 6 tongues pushed forward to the sea.

The retreat, due to the natural cycle of atmospheric warming, has led to it being as much as 30km but today we witnessed the 20th century retreat. The terminal moraine, that we walked on today, is separated from the snout of the glacier by the glacial lagoon.

We are in Recherchefjorden, named after an ambitious scientific expedition by the French ship La Recherche in 1839. Little evidence of the work exists apart from sketches by the expedition artist and possibly the base that held the weather balloon in place and stopped it flying away.

The fjord was a favourite place for whalers and nearby are the remains of a failed attempt to mine coal in 1918/19. However, the waves and wind conditions were beyond the Zodiacs capabilities, so we cruised the fjords to take in the spectacular scenery. There were sightings of polar bears, beluga and humpbacked whales but not close enough to be able to photograph.

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