Last Updated on January 11, 2019 by Alberto Molero

“Roaw roaw..” Our expedition guide Frank Todd called. The resident biologist who’d spent decades working with marine mammals, obviously had some tricks up his sleeves.

It wasn’t long before an inquisitive group of over 25 walruses swam up to him, snotting and whistling as they waddled their way onshore. One of them came so close, it looked like it was planting a kiss on his cheeks.

We were on the pebbled beach of Torellenesett in the Arctic and this was the third day of our voyage. Earlier that morning, our captain had informed us that we would be making a landing here.

Back on land, there were over a hundred walruses splayed out before us, piled atop one another in a pulsating heap of biomass. As we stood and stared in awe, some of them peeked at us, some snotted in oblivion while others wriggled their flippers playfully in the air, seemingly waving at us.

Over the next hour or so, we observed the walruses in silence – watching them waddling clumsily on land and swimming elegantly in water. By the beach, the gentle giants frolicked mischieviously around Frank. Here’s a video of the walruses swimming towards Frank. Watch how the animals respond to his calls…

A walrus swimming up to shore.

A pair of walruses snuggling close together.

 Up close: the walrus stares straight into my camera.

At the haul-out site, over 100 walruses piled atop one another.


This experience was made possible by Gap Adventures as a part of their Wanderers In Residence program. I traveled with Gap Adventures on their Realm of the Polar Bear trip (Trip Code: XVRPNX). All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. Read more about my travels in the Arctic here or follow me on Twitter with the #gadvand #WIR hashtags.




A Tribute to Africa: Beyond Dunes, Deltas and Falls