Plan for today – land on two uncharted islands for which the only information the guides have is a black and white photograph of each. The adventurer in them seemed to have taken over, but sometimes you have to have faith in folk who have experience in their fields. We awoke to see the first of the two quarries from the cabin window, Kapp Platen, an island which looked to the untrained eye to have rather a lot of angular scree falling straight into the water. However, the scout boats reported that the sea was too rough for safe landings, and this was combined with gathering winds which further complicated the scenario. So we set off for somewhere more sheltered, and after an hour or two came across Innvika at the end of Duvefjorden, a large inlet which had also not been explored previously by the ship. On the way, many coastlines were scoured unsuccessfully for wildlife, but amongst the regular Kittiwakes, Fulmars, and Black Guillemots was a passing Ivory Gull.
The fjord was in much calmer waters, and so landings were the way forward. The waters around the boat were lively with scattered Black Guillemots, some close to the ship, and also small groups of flying Little Auks. In the distance, a Kittiwake colony on a cliff face above the beach could be seen – this was to be our initial destination once ashore. With the presence of such a large concentration of birds, there is always the (optimistic) chance of Arctic Fox, but none were seen despite constant searching. Scats of both fox and even Polar Bear were found, and even plenty of Reindeer poo, but no animals seen. The Kittiwake colony seemed to have no other birds nesting with them, but at least one Glaucous Gull, tried its hardest to catch a young Kittiwake before the pursuer and pursued disappeared around a corner.
With the landings taking so long, the plan to then go to the second uncharted island of Karl XII-øya was shelved. In its stead was the unique chance to pass very close to a particularly large iceberg for the Arctic, which had been seen earlier on our way out. When we arrived at the site of the iceberg, the captain thoughtfully circled it three times for prolonged views. An added extra was an Ivory Gull which slipped past on the third circumnavigation.