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Memorable Moment in the Arctic Circle



 The last day of our Arctic Circle Expedition turned out to be one of my favorites.

Yes, I loved visiting the small Norwegian towns, silently cruising the majestic and isolated fjords, the kayaking around the ice bergs and walking on the tundra.

Bear sightings, bird watching and of course, sinking into a comfy chair in the ship’s library with its expansive views of the impressive land scape were memorable.

Ah, fabulous…but maybe because it was bittersweet, our wonderful expedition was coming to an end, I loved our last landing on a totally remote and isolated island in Svalbard, where we meandered down to see an glacier….

I marveled at the massive, rock and snow formations.

 The sun shone and made the ice formation sparkle.  Our guide talked about the glaciers, the rocks, the fragile life here.  Folks were taking photos–shooting all different directions there was so much to see.


Mostly we milled around, not not knowing which way to look, it was all so magnificent on a glorious bright sunny day. Then the glacier calved.

  I stopped abruptly, startled by the huge crash and the tremendous roar as the mighty chunk of ice sunk into the water.

Someone yelled, “Start counting.”  Evidently it is interesting to see how how long it takes for the waves to hit the opposite shore.


And then, Jim Richardson, the National Geographic Photographer on the voyage,  said,  “Look at the edge, it’s receding,”  Sure enough, just like tsunami, the water at the beach near us sucked back, dramatically and obviously.

And then within seconds……huge waves crashed and burst over the beach on the shore where we were standing.

I’d seen this on tv but never in person.  We realized why the guides didn’t let us go too close to the glacier.  If we had been up close and personal, the the force of the massive wave would overwhelm us all.  It’s one thing to see this on TV and quite another to be there….at the moment.

We meandered our way back to where we came ashore, taking photos of the ice formations, some that looked like oddly formed golf balls to me.


As the sun changed, those of us with cameras enjoyed catching the lights on the ice.  Others enjoyed the Norwegian reindeer, that don’t look anything like the Rudolf and his buddies.

I could have stayed all day……..

Post Author
Susan J. Smith
Susan's career includes writing for newspapers, lots of community work and a wonderful family life. Now she is enjoying traveling, photography and writing for DesignDestinations and Grand Rapids Magazine. She welcomes you on her journey and appreciates your comments.


  1. posted by
    Julie Hawksworth
    Sep 11, 2012 Reply

    Gorgeous photos! I’ve just added Arctic Circle to my adventure travel wish list!
    thanks for a great post!

  2. posted by
    Sep 12, 2012 Reply

    Ah…glaciers! So expressive, so unique, so individual. I can imagine the day – thanks for sharing.

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