New Arctic Expeditions & Adventure Options

Lori Gifford

New Arctic Expeditions & Adventure Options

Lori Gifford

Mar 2012

Arctic Svalbard was my first introduction to a polar region, and I keenly remember my first experience of our ship cutting through the churning sea ice and “bergy” bits as we set forth from Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen, heading out to experience this remote and dramatic environment. The seemingly myriad forms of ice was impressive from pack ice to ice floes to glaciers to icebergs, but what made my time in the far north so memorable was the countless and tenacious examples of life. It might seem like frozen planet up there, but during the summer the Arctic explodes with flora and fauna with a speed and scale that is truly breathtaking.

I have been excited lately to see our partner companies expanding and diversifying their portfolio of trips in the Arctic and I feel sure that these trips will tempt not only our veteran Antarctic explorers, but some our warm weather seeking friends as well! It’s safe to assume that you, our readers, and travelers appreciate wildlife rich destinations, and I can personally attest that the Arctic will not disappoint. And, with the recent expansion of Arctic destinations and activities, these trips offer something for everyone.

Known for its relatively easy access via Norway, the Svalbard archipelago is home to polar bears, caribou, arctic foxes, myriad bird colonies, and many species of whales. New this season is the Spitsbergen Family Adventure which circumnavigates Svalbard’s largest and most central island. With this expedition, you can introduce your children to polar travel without worrying about crossing the Drake Passage as you explore the waterways around Svalbard’s largest island. A resident photographer will be on board to lead photography workshops for young and old, and there will be family friendly activities offered.

If you’re someone for whom mere treks and kayaking explorations are simply not enough activity, you would likely enjoy another new trip, Spitsbergen Snowshoeing. As the spring transitions to summer, snowshoes will offer unparalleled access to the landscapes and wildlife of Spitsbergen.

If you are a fan of icebergs and the Northern Lights, the September expedition Greenland’s Northern Lights is the trip for you. Occurring at a time of year when the atmospheric conditions are best for viewing the famed Aurora Borealis, this trip has the potential to rock your world day AND night! Hikes through fields of delicate Arctic wildflowers, visits to the one of the last remaining hunting communities and the chance to hike up to the viewpoint to see the famed “Five Fjords” are all highlights of this trip.

If wildlife is more your cup of tea (and I suspect this is the case for many of you!) the Arctic will not disappoint. One lesser known area that offers perhaps the richest abundance of Arctic wildlife is Franz Josef Land, a remote and wild land that is rarely visited by humans. With dramatic landscapes and the relics of explorations past, this starkly beautiful region is home to walrus, polar bear, seal, Arctic fox and beluga whale.

Fancy getting above it all for a bird’s eye view of the North Pole? If so then the North Pole trip on the famous ice breaker 50 Years of Victory will fit the bill, offering you the chance to not only visit the geographic North Pole but to soar above it either by helicopter or hot air balloon. How’s that for travel bragging rights?