Thursday, July 5, 2018

Polar Bears

In a perfect world, polar bears and seals would be friends.  And as visitors to the North Pole, Santa would invite us for lunch, since we traveled all this way to see him. But the harsh reality is we haven't seen Santa's workshop.  That doesn't mean it's not here - it's most likely very well hidden.  And unfortunately, polar bears and seals are not friends.  In fact, bearded seals and ringed seals are the main food source for these apex predators.  Polar bears are not picky, though - they will eat anything to survive, including humans.

We've now seen 15 bears on this journey, and according to an on-board reference providing qualitative data for subjective animal observation, just about every one has been healthy.  This is good news, because it means for the time being, there is a balance in the ecosystem - at least in this part of the arctic.

A healthy, curious polar bear (still from video)
We've spotted numerous polar bears next to openings in the sea ice, where seals come up for air.  They lay flat and perfectly still, patiently waiting for just the right moment to pounce on their next potential meal.  We did not witness an actual kill, and that's OK with us because we like seals, too.

Tomorrow: Nowhere to go but South