The flowery tundra.Heritage Expeditions
There seems to be a pattern that I can observe by the fourth day of the expedition. Mornings start out gloomy, gray and almost menacing but evenings spoil us with the most magnificent colorful, sunny skies - and sometimes whales! Today's morning is rather bleak - let's see if the evening follows the by now regular pattern.
Day four will be our first opportunity to Zodiac cruise some spectacular bird cliffs around Preobrazhenya (Transfiguration) Bay. It's definitely a good thing that I attended Sarah's (the expedition's ornithologist) introductory lecture to the Alcidae bird family (more commonly known as auks) yesterday so now I more or less know what winged creatures we'll be looking out for.
I'm an avid snowboarder and getting ready to go out on the Zodiacs this morning strangely reminded me of getting ready to hit the slopes: thermal leggings under my snowboarding pants, warm socks, my winter sports jacket, mittens. But instead of my snowboarding boots I pulled on my wellies.
Five Zodiac boats were ready to go after our usual post-breakfast briefing. With today's swell in the sea and my luck, I was sure I would end up overboard but I managed to hold on throughout the whole cruise and stay dry.
We cruised along dramatic cliffs that were swarming with puffins, guillemots, auklets and kittiwakes. At times it started to eerily remind me of scenes from Hitchcock's movie "Birds". But we were assured that these guys were friendly.
Source: Heritage Expeditions
After being on a boat that had been rocking quite heavily for the past 24 hours, the Zodiacs took us ashore so we could feel what firm ground felt like for a little while. We disembarked at a beach that led into the vast expanse of the tundra. The gently sloping hills were decorated with all sorts of plant life, colorful flowers, a little creek and even gray whale bones. That's the only form of whale we saw today, unfortunately. All an all, it was a pleasant opportunity to stretch our legs and admire the tundra in the summer because I imagine in the winter it's just an endless blanket of white.
Appropriately hungry, tired and cold we zipped back off to the Spirit of Enderby for lunch, which was followed by lectures about the indigenous people of Chukotka, whales and some onboard retail therapy (local souvenirs and Heritage Expedition's branded expedition merch). Now it's smooth sailing until we land on Yttygran Island tomorrow for a bit of archeology.
It's starting to clear up so I'm now more certain of the daily fog-sunshine pattern up here in Chukotka!
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