|The Walruses of Svalbard
with Elston and Jackline Hill
The most pleasant surprise of our trip was our walrus encounters.
The walrus is immediately recognized by its prominent tusks, whiskers and great bulk. Adult males can easily weigh up to 2
tons. Unlike the polar bears who live in solitude, the walruses are social animals. They are also curious. On our first landing,
Adam went over and squatted down on the beach. In no time, elephant seals swam right up to him. (The gun is a precaution
for polar bears, not the friendly walrus.)
The curious walruses would also swim up to our zodiac. At one point I was taking pictures and the walruses were very close
when I realized that Adam had stuck a paddle out the zodiac next to me to touch the whiskers of the walruses to let them know
they were getting too friendly. Below, two of our group taking pictures from the Zodiac.
The walruses with the small tusks were young walruses. In his twelve years of conducting tours, Adam had never seen so
many walruses and so many young walruses. We saw approximately 1,000 walruses in our ten day trip.
The walruses were molting, so they were doing a lot of scratching. Unlike elephant seals, they can continue to go in the water
as the molting process is much slower for them.
Like humans, older walruses are more wrinkly and bumpy.
An excited Jackie wanting to make sure you know the walruses are out there.