Arctic Foxes at Trygghamna, Svalbard

So, as you know “two in the blue” might better be called “three on the sea” as we try to accommodate an alarmingly large husky pup on our little yacht. The sail from Lonyearbyen to Trygghamna yesterday however, went without a hitch and our new crew member seemed to handle the slight swell well. As mentioned previously, this dog (named monster by the dog farm) was not having a great time with his fellow animals and is all-over a little shy. In fact we have decided that the original name “Monster” just didn’t hit the mark and we have now dubbed him “Shy Monster” or just “Shy” for short. While Shy is still taking some time to get used to the sea, he is starting to break out of his shell. Each time we take him for a walk ashore he is just a little more curious and engaged with what is happening, and today during a long walk he began to relish stomping his huge paws through the puddles and mud.

Whilst Shy was busy accumulating a healthy layer of mud for later disposal in the yacht, Leonie and I were wandering around Trygghamna enjoying splendid scenery (and in my case also collecting mud for later disposal). Above us, birds wheeled in huge mixed flocks around the cliffs looming overhead, and threw a cacophony of sound into the grey sky. Reindeers ambled over the rolling green moss that carpeted the ground below the cliffs, and the occasional young animal would wander up to within five meters of our party to give us a long sideways stare before returning to the more important matter of ingesting more moss. But for us, the highlight was without a doubt the Arctic foxes we found at-play in the foothills. The family of Mum, Dad and five pups were running about playing a game of tag and we got a chance to watch them for quite a while before they caught our scent and dissolved into the rocky surrounds. There was a particular moment when the mum gazed up at us as we struggled to contain our enthusiastic puppy – at the time her own pup was busy trying to crawl onto her head – and I’m pretty sure that we shared a moment of parental empathy.

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