Whales and a Wrap Up — Franz Josef Land

Our last day in Franz Josef Land….as we headed back to Alexander Land to clear customs and immigration….three humpback whales cruised along with us.

As is typical, we got mainly tails, fins and some blow holes.

We also spotted a ringed seal in the water from a zodiac.  If you look closely on the back you can see the ringed spots.

On one of our zodiac cruises we landed on a ice floe and used the opportunity to get some pictures of us.  Here’s mine.

The M/V Sea Spirit is luxurious for what’s considered expedition cruising.  I shared a cabin with two others.  It consisted of two twins and a queen sofa bed.  We had three hang-up closets, two dressers and a small but comfortable bathroom.

I went to Franz Josef Land to photograph polar bears as my primary target.  Would I have liked to seen and photographed more, you bet.  Despite that, I got what I went for.


Here’s a group shot taken on Deck 5.

I mentioned in the first blog post that I got a three-year Russian visa because I would be returning to Russia.  Actually, I’m starting a three-month, around-the-world solo trip on Sept. 12.

I will fly to Moscow on that date and after a few days there, I’ll board the Trans Siberian Railway for a trip across Russia with multiple stops over about 30 days.  From there I continue into Mongolia where I’m joining a small group of three or four others to fly to western Mongolia for a week long eagle hunters tour.  Then back to the Mongolian capital.

I’ll then fly to Hanoi, Vietnam and spend about 2 1/2 weeks traveling down the coast to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) and then on to New Zealand.  There I’ll me up with a former roommate and my traveling companion to Hokkaido, Japan in 2018.  We’ll do a couple of weeks together in New Zealand.

After New Zealand, my plan is to go to Australia for another couple of weeks.  I hope to meet up with another former roommate from my Iceland trip last November.  He currently lives in Melbourne.  Then it’s home early to mid-December.  Firm dates haven’t been determined yet.  All I know is that Jean says if I’m not home by Christmas I may not have a home to come back to!

All in all it’s about three months of largely solo travel.  I’ve been working on learning the Russian alphabet so that I can read railroad signs and others while there.

Thanks for following my blog.  If you know of someone that you think might be interested in reading them, please ask them to contact me either on Facebook or via email, rgates002@gmail.com.




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3 Responses to Whales and a Wrap Up — Franz Josef Land

  1. Patricia A Harris says:

    Thanks Ron for sharing your blog, so enjoy reading about your trips and all your photos!

  2. Debra Smith says:

    Thank you for sharing, amazing!!

  3. Debra Stamp says:

    BRAVO! Grab all the life you can!

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