Feel a sense of privilege
In recent years, the North Pole has become a barometer of the global environment: so fragile and, paradoxically, such immense power. Everything here is raw, natural and in stark contrast: a pure, unsullied continent of ice resting on an inky black sea. And at the heart of this dialogue between land and sea, the wildlife, superlative in its untamed splendour. A tale of a singular and unique expedition.
For some, this voyage takes on an initiatory character. In this immense expanse, man learns his place in the world and the nature of the role he’s been given to play. The local natives appear to be busy going about their daily business amid this immense, motionless expanse. In a palette of shades ranging from black to white, a multitude of textures writhe and move: fur, feathers, skin – the ice field has much in store for us. As if in the way of invitation, the animals bark, mumble and roar.
We head off to see and experience them up close. Each in their own way, everyone feels a sense of privilege. We try to imagine how it must have felt for the very first explorers as we momentarily step back in time to their era, and sense the thirst for adventure they must have experienced. And as we’re heading straight towards this spectacle, the sovereign of the realm appears in all his muscular glory. Standing erect on its hind legs, the polar bear is a fascinating sight. It’s the white lion of this immaculate savannah, a blend of beauty and danger, of agility and power.
Seals, sea lions and whales
Further on, the seals, experts in the matter, vigorously applaud the dives of the auks, which, though so awkward when walking, put on a spectacular show. Veritable torpedoes once beneath the surface, the seals spring out of the water at full speed to land on the ice sheet, just like children at play. The walruses, heavy and indolent, with their straggly moustaches and cumbersome tusks, placidly observe this noisy ballet.
Beneath the surface, orcas and other species of whale glide through the water, crossing paths and sizing each other up. Displaying a blend of respect and contempt, they all manage to avoid each other, each observing the other party with a single eye as they pass in a precisely choreographed series of movements. Discreetly surfacing to take a breath, the whale reveals only a tiny part of itself at first: its tail. So vast is this that it’s difficult to imagine and comprehend how large the rest must be! But patience eventually pays off, and the glorious creature finally reveals itself in all its beauty. Transporting us with its voice, it treats us to a ballet of consummate grace, its gigantic size on display for all to see. Despite the sub-zero temperatures, everyone feels a sense of warmth in their hearts.
A shiver runs through our bodies, a shiver of emotion.
Discover the Arctic with PONANT
Wildlife and breathtaking landscapes, PONANT takes you to the Arctic.