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Summary : Svalbard, a remote and spectacular archipelago of immense glaciers, narrow fjords, sheer mountain cliffs and abundant wildlife, has lured many explorers into its enticing expanse. The overwhelming scenery, extraordinary wildlife and unpredictable encounters with animals such as polar bears and walruses combine to make a trip of a lifetime. From aboard the 12-passenger Stockholm, experience the land of the polar bear up close. Welcome to a magic world of midnight sun and pack ice, of glittering glaciers and abundant wildlife. This is truly the High Arctic—your nearest neighbor is the North Pole!
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking
Arrive in Longyearbyen, embark your expedition ship in the afternoon and sail out through the spectacular Ice Fjord for the realm of the polar bear.
You are now in a part of the world where activities are totally dependent on ice and weather conditions. Your exact itinerary depends on these factors and on wildlife sightings. The goal is to make several landings each day with the rigid Zodiac craft and here are examples of places you may visit:
In the scientific village of Ny-Ålesund, Arctic terns nest along the main street. It was from here that Amundsen and Nobile started their heroic expeditions to the North Pole. On the islands of Danskøya, Amsterdamøya and Ytre Norskøya wemfind remnants from the bustling activity during the 17th century’s whaling period. Two of the most courageous attempts to reach the North Pole started on Danskøya. Swedish balloonist Andrée made an attempt with a hydrogen balloon and American journalist Wellman started out with an airship. There are still interesting remnants from these expeditions left on this site.
Svalbard offers countless spectacular fjords. During your journey you will explore a few of them such as: Liefdefjorden, meaning “the fjord of love”, is lined with snow-covered mountain peaks and at its base you hope to cruise along the face of the spectacular Monaco Glacier. Many common eiders and pink-footed geese nest in the area and if lucky you can see the rare king eider. In Krossfjorden, revel in the beautifully sculptured front of the 14th of July Glacier to the raucous greeting of the large numbers of kittiwakes and Brünnich’s guillemots nesting on the nearby cliffs. Raudfjorden is an area of immense natural beauty – dominated by beautiful glaciers. It is also a favorite spot for seals.
Hinlopen and Alkefjellet
If the ice allows you may enter Hinlopen Strait. Here is Alkefjellet, an impressive, basaltic cliff, which is the home to an estimated 200 000 Brünnich’s guillemots. You may also continue into the beautiful bay Palanderbukta on Nordaustlandet.
The island of Nordaustlandet is covered by an enormous ice cap and fascinates naturalists as well as historians. There are huge glacier fronts here, intersected by hundreds of waterfalls. Even further east is Kvitøya (White Island). In very favorable ice and weather conditions, you may land on this ice-capped island where few people have set foot. Here Andrée and his men were found 33 years after their unsuccessful attempt to reach the North Pole. Barentsøya and Edgeøya offer magnificent landscapes and vast tundra. Chances to encounter walrus, Arctic fox and Svalbard reindeer are good here.
The grand fjords of Hornsund offer spectacular glaciers and a breathtaking landscape of towering mountain peaks. This is a favorite haunt for some of Svalbard’s polar bears.
Arrive in Longyearbyen early in the morning, disembark the ship and begin your journey back home.
Please read this itinerary as a guide only; your exact route and program will vary depending on ice and weather conditions—and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to a successful expedition.
10 nights on board the ship; all meals; all wine, beer and drinks; an experienced Expedition Leader and knowledgeable naturalist guide; lectures on board and on shore; all shore excursions and activities by Zodiac; customary gratuity to the ship's crew; an illustrated post-expedition log.
Flights to/from Longyearbyen; travel and cancellation insurance; personal expenses; fuel surcharge may apply.
PHOTOS: © Adam Rheborg