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There are many ways to describe ice. There is an international ice nomenclature ice terms are arranged by subject under the heading of “Floating Ice.” Sea ice, glacier ice, lake ice and river ice are the four types of floating ice. The different types of ‘sea ice’ are fast ice, drift ice, brash ice, frazil ice, grease ice, pack-ice open, pack-ice close, pack-ice very close, pancake ice, and rotten ice.

We were looking for pack ice – any kind. This is where we wanted to find (if possible) our next ice bear. It is pure luck to find polar bears anywhere at all – and under any circumstance, but to a photographer, the “polar bear jack-pot” means finding them on pack ice.

Today we found our first pack ice of the trip and as it turns out, our only pack ice. After we left Alkefjellet, we continued down the Hinlopen Stretet until we came to some close pack ice. We were all on deck with our binoculars scanning the ice when we spotted a bear. But, this bear was a long way from the boat. It didn’t look hopeful.

But to our amazement, he lifted his head up (as we could see through our binos) and started to move quickly towards our boat. He moved so fast that we could hardly believe our eyes. This gorgeous male came as close to our boat as was physically possible. Since we had broken through the ice we had a watery perimeter surrounding us. He stayed directly next to our boat for at least 45 minutes and he was as curious about us as we were about him. He stood up on his hind legs and actually tried to put his dinner-plate sized paws on the boat – but he couldn’t reach.

He made it clear to all of us that he didn’t want to get wet.

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~ Jami Tarris

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