Guests aboard A&K’s recent Luxury Expedition Cruise, The Northwest Passage: From Greenland to the Bering Sea, were treated to a surprising number of polar bear sightings — a total of 32 bears in all! The encounter captured in this video with a mama polar bear and her cub approaching ‘Le Boreal’ on Arctic sea ice was easily one of the most incredible and special. While cruising through a vast sheet of sea ice en route to the M’Clintock Channel, a mother polar bear and her two- to three-year old male cub approached ‘Le Boreal’ at the edge of the ice, until they were about 30 feet from the ship. “Polar bears have a very keen sense of smell and both were sniffing the air, perhaps trying to figure out what that fabulous smell of bacon was all about,” said Larry Hobbs, A&K’s expert marine biology lecturer and Expedition Team member. “After a while, the cub began to growl in a way that seemed to be signaling his mother that he was feeling impatient. Our captain is extremely sensitive to animals and slowly backed away, leaving them to their polar bear life.” Larry shared what a gift the experience had been. “Time stood still for all of us on board ‘Le Boreal,’ and what felt like hours might have been only 30 minutes with these two polar wanderers. But it was a half hour of all else in the world disappearing from our minds and hearts.”

Video courtesy of A&K guest Paul M. who travelled on the 2015 Northwest Passage voyage.