The sun was shining on the sea, Shining with all his might: He did his very best to make The billows smooth and bright-- And this was odd, because it was The middle of the night.
We were not about to head for the open ocean. Our interests lay on or close to land. The scenery could wait until tomorrow but wildlife encounters could not. And as Lewis Carroll had told us the sun would not be setting on this cruise. We retired to our cabins knowing that we could be called from our beds at any time.
We acquired some new avian companions as soon as we sailed …
There is a great variety of tube-noses, Procellariiformes, in the southern oceans but north of the equator there are only a few species. The Northern Fulmar would be the only representative of the family we would see around Svalbard, but we would see plenty of them.
On the other hand there are no Auks down south and plenty north of the equator. We would see several species and millions of individuals.
The Americans call this bird the Thick-billed Murre, the Poms prefer Brünnich’s Guillemot (even though they are an umlaut-deprived people). Morten Thrane Brünnich was a Danish zoologist, if he were alive I suspect he would also prefer the latter. Since the demise of the Great Auk this is the largest of the Alcidae.
And the scenery was magnificent …