Summary : Discover Franz Josef Land Archipelago! These remote islands of the Arctic are home to majestic polar bear, fascinating geological formations, and recounts and artifacts from historic expeditions. Observe Svalbard's beautiful glaciers and labyrinthine expanses of sea ice. Watch for whale, reindeer, arctic fox, walrus and much more on this trip of a lifetime with an included photography program. Along the journey, your team of expert guides and lecturers will provide context to the sites and bring alive the region's remarkable natural history.
Activities : Birding, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Triple/Quad Cabins
$9,495 to $22,995
Arrive in Longyearbyen, the adventure capital of the Norwegian territory of Svalbard and starting point of your expedition. You are free to explore this fascinating Arctic settlement at your leisure with your hotel for the night included in the price of the voyage.
In the afternoon, board your luxury expedition ship. Explore the ship and get comfortable in your home away from home for the extraordinary adventure to come. Sail into a true wilderness where wildlife abounds. The scenery as you sail through Isfjorden on the first evening is spectacular as you keep an eye out for marine mammal encounters.
From Isfjorden proceed straight to Franz Josef Land across the Barents Sea. Presentations and workshops by expert staff prepare you for what lies ahead.
In these far northern latitudes, it is possible to encounter sea ice even in summer. Along the way, keep an eye out for sightings of marine mammals such as the elusive bowhead whale, various Arctic seal species, and the majestic polar bear.
This is expedition cruising at its most authentic. As such, the route and exploration opportunities in Franz Josef Land are heavily dependent on weather and sea ice. Your experienced captain and expedition leader decide the best route and continually adjust plans as opportunities warrant in this wild and remote corner of the Arctic.
The archipelago, part of the Russian Arctic National Park since 2012, is a nature sanctuary. Polar bears and other quintessential High Arctic wildlife—such as walruses and some rare whale species—can be spotted anytime, anywhere in and around Franz Josef Land. Scree slopes and cliffs around the islands host enormous nesting colonies of seabirds such as guillemots, dovekies, and kittiwakes. Take advantage of the 24-hour daylight for increased wildlife viewing.
Franz Josef Land is dominated by glaciation, which covers 85% of the archipelago. Immense tidewater glaciers and glittering icebergs provide a stunning backdrop to your voyage. Franz Josef Land is also home to some interesting geological features, such as the mysterious stone spheres on Champ Island. Collectors of geographical extremes may take note that Cape Fligely on Rudolf Island is the northernmost point of land in the Eastern Hemisphere.
Franz Josef Land also offers visitors the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of famous polar explorers at well-preserved historical sites. The journals of explorers such as Julius von Payer, Benjamin Leigh Smith, Frederick George Jackson, and Fridtjof Nansen come alive at Cape Norway, Cape Flora, Eira Harbour, and Cape Tegetthoff. Memorials, monuments, crosses and the remains of dwellings are testimony to incredible historical events that are further illuminated by our expert lecturers.
Tikhaya Bukhta is currently a National Park ranger station occupying Soviet-era research buildings and was also a major base for polar expeditions. Nearby the fascinating columnar basalt cliffs of Rubini Rock are home to thousands of nesting seabirds.
Following your week of exploration in Franz Josef Land, cross back through the bountiful waters of the Barents Sea and then along the coastal islands of the Svalbard Archipelago. From panoramic open decks, enjoy Arctic landscapes and wildlife sightings. Bountiful inshore and offshore waters are home to walrus and a wide variety of whales.
The crossing also gives your expedition team the opportunity to offer a final presentation or two in the Oceanus Lounge. Weather and timing permit, explore by Zodiac to have a closer look at wildlife as you head back to Longyearbyen.
After a technical stop in Longyearbyen, explore the spectacular fjords and coasts in the western part of Svalbard. This area contains some of the archipelago’s most impressive scenery and wildlife viewing opportunities abound.
Deep fjords and narrow channels are flanked by jagged snowy mountain peaks. Fields of flowering tundra are home to grazing reindeer and Arctic fox, always on the hunt. The whole area is alive with migratory birds, including some rare species, taking advantage of summer’s fecundity in 24-hour daylight.
Among the historic sights, there are remnants of whaling camps, coal-mining operations, trappers’ cabins, staging areas for historic attempts to discover the North Pole, and the ruins of a WWII weather station.
Disembark in the morning after breakfast and receive a group transfer to the airport, or town center.
Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to ice and weather conditions—and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition.
Bilingual Departure: English/German
Space is limited. Sign up at the time of booking to secure your spot. You must book your spot before you join the vessel for your voyage. Weather permitting, sea kayakers will have the opportunity to paddle through scenic Arctic waterways. Participants must be at least 18 years old, in good health, have appropriate physical fitness, and have previous kayaking experience.
An expert photographer will be on hand to answer your questions and give advice, both in the form of on-board lectures and workshops on shore. Explore the key elements of photography in a fun and relaxed setting, with plenty of opportunities for questions and feedback. Learn how to see light in a new way and experiment with the techniques of composition and framing.
1 pre-voyage hotel night in Longyearbyen; group transfer to the ship on day of embarkation; group transfer to airport or central location upon disembarkation; shipboard accommodations; Emergency Evacuation Insurance to a maximum benefit of US $150,000 per person (for those 85 years of age and younger); scheduled landings/excursions; meals on board ship; coffee/tea station 24 hours on ship; welcome and farewell cocktail on ship; a pair of rubber boots on loan for shore landings; expedition parka (yours to keep); port fees; pre-departure materials; digital Voyage Log. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; visa and passport fees; luggage, medical and trip cancellation insurance; excess baggage charges; soft drinks and alcoholic beverages other than those mentioned as included; kayaking; personal expenses such as laundry and telecommunications charges (telephone, faxes, and internet); gratuities to shipboard personnel; fuel surcharge may apply.
PHOTOS: © Poseidon Expeditions