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Svalbard – Polar Bear Quest

Arctic Svalbard Cruise

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 web. Visit when the midnight sun reigns supreme, the bird colonies are teeming life and the tundra’s flower buds are bursting. Ice still keeps the islands in its grip and you can admire the ever-changing ice formations, while searching for walrus, polar bears and much, much more. Encounter polar bears lumbering on ice floes in this Polar Bear Quest. Also, visit beaches covered by massive walrus, and seabirds will be your constant companions throughout the trip.

Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking

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Itinerary
Day 1
Longyearbyen

You arrive in Longyearbyen and transfer to the hotel.

Day 2 – 8
Svalbard

Start the adventure in Svalbard by exploring the High Arctic capital of Longyearbyen. In the afternoon, embark your expedition ship and sail out through the spectacular Ice Fjord. You are now in a part of the world where plans are totally dependent on ice and weather conditions. The 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:

Barentsburg
Not far from Norwegian Longyearbyen is the Russian enclave Barentsburg, a fascinating coal mining settlement founded in 1932.

Ny Ålesund
In this scientific village, the animals completely ignore the humans. Arctic terns nest by the main street and outside the post office, northernmost in the world, visitors often see wild reindeer grazing. It was from here that Amundsen and Nobile started their heroic expeditions to the North Pole.

Dansköya
Two of the most courageous attempts to reach the North Pole started here. Swedish balloonist Andrée made an attempt with a hydrogen balloon and American journalist Wellman started out with airship. The site is still littered with remnants from these expeditions telling their silent tales of the grand ideas of the heroic era.

Northwest Spitsbergen
On Dansköya, Amsterdamöya, and Ytre Norsköya, there are still visible remnants from the bustling activity during the 17th century whaling period. Many puffins, little auks and guillemots nest in the area.

Liefdefjorden
Liefdefjorden, meaning "the fjord of love," is an area of immense natural beauty. The fjord is lined with snow-covered mountain peaks and in the end lies the spectacular Monaco Glacier. Polar bears have been sighted here.

North Spitsbergen
In beautiful Mossel Bay is Polhem, the world's northernmost house, where Swedish explorer Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld over-wintered in 1872-73. You have now left the warm waters of the Golf current behind and may meet the massive pack-ice border. Not many ships venture here and you may enjoy the silence and grandeur of this icy landscape. The chances of meeting polar bears increase as you sail along the ice floes.

Hinlopen Strait
If the ice allows you may visit Hinlopen Strait. Here is Auk Mountain, a vertical basaltic cliff, which makes out the home for some 200,000 Brunnich's guillemots. The waters here are especially nutritious, which explains the large quantities of sea birds.

Day 9
Longyearbyen

Reach Longyearbyen early in the morning and begin your journey home.

Notes

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.

Included:
Seven nights on board the ship; one night at hotel in Longyearbyen; all meals throughout the trip; an experienced Expedition Leader and knowledgeable naturalist guides/lecturers; an extensive lecture program; all shore excursions and activities by Zodiac; a detailed log book.

Not Included:
Connecting flights to/from Longyearbyen; travel and cancellation insurance; passport and visa expenses; the customary gratuity to the ship's crew; excess baggage charges; personal expenses such as bar and shop charges.

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