Summary : Join an expedition cruise along the dramatic coastline and magnificent fjords of northern Norway, via the legendary and seldom visited Bear Island to the realm of the polar bear: Svalbard. It is a busy time of the year in Lofoten and Bear Island as the sea eagles’ eggs hatch and the cliffs are teeming with tens of thousands of birds. Svalbard greets you with glittering ice, snow covered mountain tops, midnight sun and magnificent wildlife. During the six days you spend in this High Arctic archipelago you have plenty of opportunities to explore its impressive nature and unique wildlife.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking
$999,999,999 to $0
Arrive in Bodø, and board M/S Quest. Once settled in your cabin, you are welcomed by the guides and crew and get to know your comfortable expedition ship. During the afternoon, begin your voyage towards the dramatic Lofoten Islands.
After breakfast, make a first trip in your sturdy Zodiac crafts around the spectacular island of Vedøya with its tens of thousands of nesting sea birds. Vedøya is also often frequented by eagles. Sail along the southern side of Lofoten, a vast collection of rocky islands rising from the sea, towards Reine. This charming fishing village, with characteristic wooden houses, is overlooking Kirkefjord with high mountaintops in the background. It is not difficult to see how it has been voted Norway’s most beautiful place.
Visit Nusfjord, one of the most preserved and picturesque fishing communities in the area, included on UNESCO’s World Heritage list of unique wooden structures. Go ashore and explore this historic little village with its distinct atmosphere and cod fisheries. Continue your cruise along the Lofoten wall and later arrive at the magically beautiful Trollfjorden. In the afternoon, head out to sea and set course for Bear Island. After a few hours you reach a well-known whale watching area that stretches along the continental shelf. During your journey, you have a good chance to spot whales, so we keep your eyes open for these marvelous creatures.
Your sea journey continues further north. Interesting lectures on board introduce you to Bear Island’s exciting history.
With your solid Zodiacs, explore this fascinating rocky island in the middle of the Barents Sea. Because of the remoteness only the odd ship can stop by for a visit. Vertical 400-meter cliffs rise in the distance as you approach, and here you find one of the largest seabird colonies in the North Atlantic. Tens of thousands of guillemots nest here, as well as puffins, razorbills, kittiwakes and glaucous gulls. Your main goal is to go ashore and explore Bear Island by foot. Continue your journey into the Arctic waters and your next destination is Svalbard – one of the world’s most magnificent wildernesses. This vast glaciated archipelago welcomes with a mix of midnight sun, pack ice and dramatic mountain chains. Not to mention the extraordinary wildlife!
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:
Plan to explore the island of Edgeøya. There are remnants here of the first Pomors who came to the area in the 1600s. These Russian trappers came here to hunt polar bears, seals and reindeer. Later, Edgeøya became the most important hunting ground for Norwegian trappers, who came here solely to hunt polar bears. Edgeøya offers a landscape of Arctic tundra, where you also have a good chance of seeing walrus, Arctic fox and Svalbard reindeer.
During this time of the year there is often ice in the vast Storfjorden between the islands of Edgeøya and Spitsbergen. Try to get as far north as possible along Spitsbergen’s east coast. And keep your eyes peeled for polar bears!
Isbukta & Vasil’evbreen
In the southern part of Spitsbergen lies Isbukta. In this spectacular bay, head out in your Zodiacs to enjoy the stunning views of the snow covered mountain peaks and the front of the impressive glacier Vasil’evbreen. The bay is also a popular spot for Sabine’s gulls, Arctic skuas and bearded seals. And where there are seals, there is also a good chance of spotting bear.
The majestic Hornsund consists of several magnificent fjords along the west coast of Spitsbergen, where enormous glaciers calve out shimmering blue ice. On the southern side of the fjord, pass one of the highest mountains in Svalbard, Hornsundstinden. This is one of the favorite haunts for some of Svalbard’s many polar bears.
At the beautiful Vårsolbukta in Bellsund, little auks nest by the tens of thousands. Go ashore and walk across the tundra to take a closer look at the mountain where barnacle geese and Brünnich’s guillemots are nesting.
At the entrance of Isfjorden is the giant cliff Alkhornet, which is several hundred meters high. Go ashore to enjoy the beautiful tundra and its birdlife with barnacle geese, Brünnich’s guillemots, glaucous gulls, snow buntings and tens of thousands of kittiwakes. Some Arctic foxes live in the rock crevices around the mountain and with some luck, you might see these lovely little animals scurrying around, frantically looking for food.
Early in the morning, arrive in the high Arctic capital of Longyearbyen. Disembark the ship and begin your journey 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.
11 nights on board the ship; all meals; an experienced Expedition Leader and knowledgeable naturalist guide; lectures on board and on shore; all shore excursions and activities by Zodiac; an illustrated post-expedition log.
Flights to Bodø and 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; fuel surcharge may apply.