Summary : Join a voyage where you have chances to see polar bear, walrus, reindeer, various bird species and beautiful flora. Near the mouth of Liefdefjorden, go ashore for a walk on the tundra of Reindyrsflya. Sailing into Liefdefjorden, cruise near the face of the impressive Monaco Glacier. The waters of the glacier front are a favorite feeding spot for thousands of kittiwakes and occasionally polar bear are seen on the glacier. With options to head east and attempt to reach the rarely visited Kvitøya.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Hiking, Kayaking, Triple/Quad Cabins
$4,900 to $8,850
Embark the ship and sail out of Isfjorden. In the mouth of the fjord you may see your first minke whale.
Heading north along the west coast, arrive by morning in Krossfjorden. Board a Zodiac for a cruise along the sculpted front of the 14th of July Glacier. On the green slopes near the glacier, a colorful variety of flowers bloom, while large numbers of kittiwake and Brünnich’s guillemot nest on the nearby cliffs. There is also a good chance of spotting arctic fox patrolling the base of the cliffs in case a chick falls from its nest.
In the afternoon, sail to Ny Ålesund, the world’s most northerly settlement. Once a mining village - served by the world’s most northerly railway, which can still be seen - Ny Ålesund is now a research center. Close to the village is a breeding ground for barnacle geese, pink-footed geese and Arctic tern. Walk to the anchoring mast used by Amundsen and Nobile before their flights to the North Pole.
Near the mouth of Liefdefjorden, go ashore for a walk on the tundra of Reindyrsflya. Cruise into Liefdefjorden near the face of the impressive Monaco Glacier. The waters of the glacier front are a favorite feeding spot for thousands of kittiwakes. Occasionally polar bear are seen on the glacier.
Push east to reach the area of Nordaustlandet, where the Nobile expedition drifted around in 1928 and where the Italian Sora tried to come to the rescue. There you will hopefully get to Alpinøya, reached by Sora in 1928, and then to the mouth of Finn Malmgrenfjord, and Albertinibukta and to climb Soraberget (205 m) from where you have a fantastic view on the icecap of Nordaustlandet. Alternatively you will land at Storøya, where again you may meet a group of walrus.
8/3/2017 Departures Route: Land at Phippsøya, in the Seven Islands north of Nordaustlandet. Here you will be at 81 degrees north, just 540 miles from the geographic North Pole. Polar bear inhabit this region, along with walrus and ivory gulls. The ship may sit for several hours in the pack ice, taking in the spectacular surroundings and watching for wildlife. When the edge of the sea-ice is tens of miles north of the Seven Islands (mostly in August), spend a second day to cruise to and witness the sea ice. Alternatively (mostly in July), turn to Sorg Fjord where and look for herds of walrus not far from the graves of 17th century whalers. Take a nature walk where you may encounter families of ptarmigans. The opposite side of the fjord is also a beautiful area for an excursion.
8/12/2017, 8/21/2017 Departures Route: On Day 5, head east and attempt to reach the rarely visited Kvitøya. This island is dominated by an icecap, which leaves a small area bare of ice and snow. Land at the western tip at Andréneset, where the Swedish explorer André and his companions perished in 1898. Try to get to Kraemerpynten in the east, where an enormous group of walrus reside.
8/3/2017 Departures Route: Cruise into Hinlopen Strait, home to bearded and ringed seals, polar bears, and ivory gulls. Navigate the ice floes of Lomfjordshalvøya by Zodiacs and explore the bird cliffs of Alkefjellet with thousands of Brünnich’s guillemot. On the east side of Hinlopenstrait, attempt a landing at Augustabukta on Nordaustlandet, home to reindeer, pink-footed geese, breeding ivory gulls, and walrus. Near Torrelneset, explore the polar desert of Nordaustlandet, next to the world’s third largest ice cap, which meets the sea nearby. Walk along beautiful coastline covered in smooth rocks, sculpted by the surf over thousands of years. You may encounter walrus along the way.
8/12/2017, 8/21/2017 Departures Route: South of Nordaustlandet, try to land on Isisøya formerly a Nunatak area surrounded by glaciers. Now it is an island surrounded by the sea. Later, sail along the front of the Brasvell Glacier, the longest glacier front in Spitsbergen. In Olga Strait, watch for the elusive Greenland whale.
In Freemansundet, plan to land at Sundneset on the island of Barentsøya to visit an old trapper's hut and then take a brisk walk across the tundra in search of Spitsbergen Reindeer and Barnacle Goose. Later, cruise south to Diskobukta on the west side of Edgeøya. After a Zodiac cruise through the shallow bay, land on a beach littered with whale bones and tree trunks, which have drifted here from Siberia. You will also have the chance to climb to the rim of a narrow gully which is inhabited by thousands of Kittiwake, together with Black Guillemot and piratical Glaucous Gull. During the breeding season, the base of the cliffs is patrolled by Arctic Fox and Polar Bear, searching for young birds that have fallen from the nesting ledges.
Start the day quietly cruising the side fjords of the spectacular Hornsund area of southern Spitsbergen, enjoying the scenery of towering mountain peaks. Hornsundtind rises to 1,431m, while Bautaen shows why early Dutch explorers gave the name ‘Spitsbergen’ - pointed mountains - to the island. There are also 14 magnificent glaciers in the area and very good chances of encounters with seals and Polar Bear. You may visit the Polish research station where the friendly staff will give you an insight into their research projects. Behind the station the mountains are home to thousands of pairs of nesting Little Auk.
Today you will land on Ahlstrandhalvøya at the mouth of Van Keulenfjorden. Here piles of Beluga skeletons (the Beluga is a small white whale), the remains of 19th century slaughter, are yet another reminder of the consequences of thoughtless exploitation. Fortunately, beluga were not hunted to the edge of extinction and may still be seen locally. Indeed, there is a good chance that we will come across a pod. Cruising into Recherchefjorden during the afternoon you can explore an area of tundra at the head of the fjord where many reindeer feed.
Return to Longyearbyen and disembark for the transfer to the airport and the flight to Oslo and home.
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.
Kayaking: 8/21/2017 (Included)
Kayaking excursions are limited to 14 passengers. Participants will have up to four scheduled kayaking sessions during the expedition. Kayaking groups will be accompanied by two guides, one leading in a kayak and one trailing nearby in a Zodiac. Kayaking is subject to weather and prevailing ice conditions. Basic kayaking experience is required and physical fitness is essential. Kayaks, neoprene wet suits, booties and gloves are provided. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Voyage aboard the designated vessel as indicated in the itinerary; cabin accommodations and meals aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea; free use of rubber boots 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: © Erwin Vermeulen; © Franco Banfi; © Joerg Ehrlich; © Rinie van Meurs