G Adventures: Spitsbergen Polar Bear Guarantee aboard the Expedition
Spitsbergen, the largest island in Norway, is one of the best places on Earth to see polar bears in their natural habitat. G Adventures has such confidence in its Expedition Team’s ability to locate polar bears that the company now guarantees at least one of our planet’s largest land predators will be spotted during its Arctic adventures. Travelers aboard the Expedition during the 8-day Realm of the Polar Bear and 11-day Realm of the Polar Bear In Depth receive the 100% Bear-antee.
“We’re committed to innovation and leading with service,” says G Adventures founder Bruce Poon Tip. “People travel to the Arctic to see polar bears in the wild, and with the best arctic team in the industry our travelers have such an excellent chance of seeing these incredible animals that we guarantee it!” Poon Tip says.
In the unlikely event that G Adventures’ team is unable to locate a polar bear, every passenger onboard will receive a credit for the value they spent on their cruise to use towards a future Arctic cruise aboard the Expedition.
“We operate our cruises in the summer, when 18-plus hours of daylight provide great opportunities to spot these incredible animals, along with the other unique wildlife,” says William Bennett, Director of Marine Operations for G Adventures. Bennett says that in addition to the polar bear (adult males can weigh 350–680 kg [770–1,500 lb]) the region is also home to reindeer, Arctic Fox, many species of seabirds and marine mammals.
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0300 14 July, 2010 Hornsund, Svalbard
"I cannot sleep. Even after years of working in the far north, Greenland, Russia, Canada, when our ship is at anchor deep inside Hornsund, Svalbard, I cannot sleep. The sun has circled us as if we were the center of the earth. I watched as it almost set in the – gosh would it be west? As it twirled into the north returning within 3 hours to what should be east. It occasionally dipped behind the precipitous peaks of Hornsund but never set.
I have black out curtains, but I do not want to use them! I do not want to miss one precious moment in the island of Spitsbergen – the Svalbard Archipelago. Outside on deck at 0300 there is a certain clear crisp edge to the air. It is hard to put one’s finger on the words for it! But, it stings my cheeks.
I think back to the day on shore. We are anchored near where we landed crawling across the tundra looking for signs of the Arctic Wooly Bear. It is the caterpillar that takes 7–8 years to grow into an adult moth! It is less then an inch long and lives under rocks and in crevasses. We find spiders, small flies, what look like midges and other insects but no caterpillars! As we crawled along we also found willow galls on the leaves of beautiful dwarf willow. We found reindeer droppings and footprints and as we approached a small melt water pool – we found polar bear prints! Each of the guests I was walking with wanted to put their hand or foot in the print to compare the size. It was truly a humble experience. Our gloved or booted extremities where dwarfed by the print of this polar giant! And while we did not meet the maker of this print – a good thing really it is wonderful to know we shared the same landscape.
But now at 0300 in the morning, there, out on the sea ice in front of the glacier walked the giant his or herself, slowly wandering the ice in search of seals. I stood alone, watching this lone polar bear disappear and reappear between ice knolls and hummocks. What a privilege it is to share the planet with such a creature."
- Susan Adie, G Adventures