hi, my name is lauren.

here you'll find my blog.

i split my time between expedition ships in the arctic & antarctica, and a brownstone in brooklyn, ny.

drop me a line sometime, i would love to hear from you: laurenfarmer (dot) blog (at) gmail (dot) com

lauren farmer

My expedition team made the world’s most northerly lip dub on board the icebreaker 50 let Pobedy at the North Pole. I was behind the camera on this one. Enjoy! 

Music: Pharrell Williams’ Happy

A perfect fogbow 2 degrees (120 nautical miles) from the North Pole.

A perfect fogbow 2 degrees (120 nautical miles) from the North Pole.

I’m on my way home from my 3rd and final trip to the North Pole on board 50 let Pobedy. Looking forward to sharing more photos when I’m back in New York. 

I’m on my way home from my 3rd and final trip to the North Pole on board 50 let Pobedy. Looking forward to sharing more photos when I’m back in New York. 

Back in Murmansk, following my 2nd trip to the North Pole on board 50 Years of Victory. Great bears, gorgeous skies. Cold, cold, cold. 

tumblr at the North Pole

tumblr at the North Pole

I’ve just returned from my first trip to the North Pole, on board the world’s largest and most powerful nuclear icebreaker, 50 Let Pobedy. 

True North

It’s 6am, I’m sitting in my hotel room in Helsinki. In just a couple of hours, myself, a few other expedition members and 120 well-paying travelers will head to the airport, board a charter flight for Murmansk, bus to the Atomflot Nuclear Base where we will board the world’s only nuclear-powered passenger icebreaker vessel, bound for the North Pole on the first of three 10 day trips. 

I will be the Expedition Photographer on board NS 50 Years of Victory for 5 weeks, 3 round trips from Murmansk to the North Pole. This morning it feels like the first day of school, I am full of nerves. I have come to feel at home on the MS Expedition, so venturing out to learn a new ship, a new team, a new itinerary is daunting.

Unfortunately, and not surprisingly, this ship will have no Internet connection so I will be radio silent for a while. I am hoping to get a bit of wifi on our first turnaround day in port on the 26th. 

So here we go, to the Pole! 



We saw 11 bears last week on our trip from Longyearbyen to the Northeast of Svalbard. They were fantastic. 

It was incredibly rare to see mating in the wild. So much so that some of our expedition staff who have been working in this industry for 25+ years had never seen it. 

Enjoying a week holiday in Finland, Estonia and Sweden. 

Today I’m in Tallinn, Estonia and it is absolutely gorgeous.

Photo by my friend and the MS Expedition’s newest Photographer in Residence, Reuben Hernandez. 

Photo by my friend and the MS Expedition’s newest Photographer in Residence, Reuben Hernandez

A few days ago we did a Zodiac cruise in Kronesbreen and encountered the bluest ice I’ve ever seen. I couldn’t stop shooting it! Just amazing that something like this exists in real life. 


Hunting Arctic Foxes and Ancient Whale Skulls

At the Kittiwake colony known as Diskobukta I saw Arctic Foxes, even lame ones, taking the birds with seeming impunity. Here the lame one is carrying two back to the den to cache before heading back out to increase his stock. Arctic Foxes are nomads par excellence, following Polar bears across thousands of square miles of sea ice through the winter and they appear to have little site fidelity, meaning they may not return to the same places every year.

Later, in the polar desert of Nordaustlandet far to the north of Diskobukta, I found a small fox den excavated inside the skull of a Bowhead whale, around 40m above sea level (see the bottom photo of another nearby skull).

The Bowhead population in Svalbard is estimated to once have been the largest in the world (approx. 35,000) but post-whaling they number in the tens. They are incredibly long-lived, with estimates ranging as high as 200 years. Individuals killed in the 1990s (a sustainable hunt still exists in the Pacific) were found to contain stone and jade harpoon heads, indicating they had survived hunts over a century before. Despite their slow reproduction (females become mature at around 15-20 and produce a calf perhaps every 4 years or so. They are believed to go through a menopause but a 90 year old individual was identified that appeared to still be breeding) their numbers are increasing and the Pacific Bowhead is doing well, having never been exposed to the full might of factory whaling. The Svalbard population is very fragile but appears to be increasing.

Bowheads are a right whale and float when they die, so it’s common for Bowhead carcasses to wash up on shore. This is almost certainly an example of this, but oddly it is 40m above sea level.

During the last glacial the vast weight of ice on the land caused it to sink into the viscous magma beneath. With the recession of the ice the land has rebounded, slowly rising from the sea. Carbon dating of Bowhead skulls on the beaches that are now far above sea level indicate that the highest ones are approximately 10,000 years old. In the Canadian Arctic Art Dyke, among others, has done fascinating work using the presence or absence of Bowheads on high raised beaches to reconstruct the extent of sea ice throughout the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.

Arctic Foxes living a timeless lifestyle inside 10,000 year old skulls of a whale that is so emblematic of the Arctic, the whale whose migration routes drew the Inuit across the Arctic. These skulls are providing evidence to scientists of great continental movements and of changes in our climate…this is why the Arctic is such an incredible and mysterious place and why I can go back to the same place several times and look around in wonder and curiosity, unable to imagine the many events that have taken place as bears, foxes and whales went about the exact same lives they live now.

Zodiac Cruise at Samarinbreen, Svalbard

One of 11 polar bears we were fortunate to see in this past week. This big boy is roughly 1100 lbs. and 11 ft. long! 

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