Summary : Sail along the pack-ice of North Spitsbergen allowing for the best opportunities to spot the King of the Arctic, the mighty polar bear. Journey to Raudfjord on the north coast of West Spitsbergen, a beautiful fjord dominated by spectacular glaciers and favored by ringed and bearded seals. The cliffs and shoreline of the fjord also support thriving seabird colonies and a surprisingly rich amount of vegetation flourishes on sheltered landscapes. Keep an eye out for whales, reindeer, and arctic fox too on this trip of a lifetime!
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Hiking, Triple/Quad Cabins
$3,900 to $6,850
Embark the ship and sail out of Isfjorden. In the mouth of the fjord you may see your first Minke whale.
Sail to Raudfjord on the north coast of West Spitsbergen, a beautiful fjord dominated by spectacular glaciers and favored by ringed and bearded seal. The cliffs and shoreline of the fjord also support thriving seabird colonies and surprisingly rich vegetation, which flourishes in sheltered spots. Polar bears are often seen here.
Depending on the weather, cruise into Liefdefjorden near the 5km long face of the impressive Monaco Glacier. The waters of the glacier front are a favorite feeding spot for thousands of kittiwake. Watch for polar bears on the glacier.
Sail into Hinlopen Strait, home to bearded and ringed seals, polar bears, and ivory gulls. At the entrance, you may see blue whale. Navigate the ice floes of Lomfjordshalvøya by zodiac and explore the bird cliffs of Alkefjellet observing thousands of Brünnich’s guillemot. On the east side of Hinlopenstrait, attempt a landing at Palanderbukta on Nordaustlandet, home to reindeer, pink-footed geese, breeding ivory gulls, and walrus.
Head for the northernmost point at Phippsøya, in the Seven Islands north of Nordaustlandet. Arrive at 81 degrees north, just 540 miles from the geographic North Pole. Polar bear inhabit this region, along with ivory gulls. The ship may sit for several hours in the pack ice to watch for wildlife, before turning west again.
Retrace the route westwards through and along the pack ice. Keep watch for polar bear and the elusive bowhead whale. About 40 nautical miles west of Spitsbergen, sail along the edge of the continental shelf, where fin whale forage in summer in the upwelling along the Spitsbergen banks. At the mouth of the Kongsfjord, there is a good chance to spot Minke whales.
Sail into St. Johns Fjord, or south to the mouth of Isfjorden and land at Alkhornet. Seabirds nest on its cliffs and arctic fox search the cliff base for fallen eggs and chicks. Watch for Spitsbergen reindeer grazing on the vegetation. At nighttime, arrive into Longyearbyen.
Disembark and transfer to the airport if on designated group flight.
Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to ice and weather conditions—and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition.
Mandatory Travel Insurance:
As a requirement of participation on this expedition, all passengers must purchase insurance including medical, accident and repatriation/evacuation insurance. ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. ExpeditionTrips can assist you with this. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions.
Bilingual English-German Departures: 6/4/2018, 6/29/2018
Hiking & Snowshoeing: 6/4/2018
Included in cruise rate. Anyone can take part, no previous experience necessary. Snowshoes are provided.
Voyage aboard the designated vessel as indicated in the itinerary; cabin accommodations and meals aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea; rubber boots and snowshoes on loan; transfers and baggage handling between the airport, hotels and ship only for those passengers on the group flights to and from Longyearbyen; Zodiac rides; program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff; miscellaneous service taxes and port charges; AECO fees and governmental taxes; comprehensive pre-departure material. Subject to change without notice.
Any airfare, whether on scheduled or charter flights; pre- and post-land arrangements; passport and visa expenses; government arrival and departure taxes; meals ashore; travel insurance; excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar, beverage charges and telecommunication charges; and the customary gratuity at the end of the voyages for stewards and other service personnel; fuel surcharge may apply.
PHOTOS: © Joerg Ehrlich; © Majanda Hamelink; © Markus Eichenberger; © Sally Hamna; © Petr Slavik