Summary : Sail along the pack-ice of North Spitsbergen allowing for the best opportunities to spot the King of the Arctic, the mighty polar bear. Journey to Raudfjord on the north coast of West Spitsbergen, a beautiful fjord dominated by spectacular glaciers and favored by ringed and bearded seals. The cliffs and shoreline of the fjord also support thriving seabird colonies and a surprisingly rich amount of vegetation flourishes on sheltered landscapes. Cruise in a Zodiac, hike, and keep an eye out for whales, reindeer, and Arctic fox on this trip of a lifetime!
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Hiking, Triple/Quad Cabins
$4,050 to $7,350
Touch down in Longyearbyen, the administrative center of Spitsbergen. Spitsbergen is the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago. Enjoy strolling around this former mining town. The parish church and Svalbard Museum make for fascinating attractions. Though the countryside appears stark, more than a hundred species of plant have been recorded in it. In the early evening the ship will sail out of Isfjorden, where you might spot the first minke whale of your voyage.
Sailing to Raudfjorden, on the north coast of Spitsbergen, take in an expansive fjord spilling with glaciers—and maybe even visited by ringed and bearded seals. The cliffs and shoreline of this fjord also support thriving seabird colonies, rich vegetation, and the possibility of polar bears. In the evening, sail by the island of Moffen, where you can find a large herd of walruses.
Depending on the weather, you might sail into Liefdefjorden and cruise within sight of the 3.1-mile-long face of precipitous Monaco Glacier. The waters in front of this glacier are a favorite feeding spot for thousands of kittiwakes, and the base of the ice is a popular polar bear hunting ground.
You next sail through Beverleysundet, formerly navigated by the Swedish-Russian Arc-of-Meridian Expedition in 1898. From here you push east along Scoresby Island into Rijpfjord, where the German Wehrmacht operated the weather station Haudegen (now off-limits) until September 1945. The aim in Zorgdragerfjord is to have one group walk the eastern shore while another walks the north side of Arkvatnet through Havsuldalen to the entrance of Duvefjorden.
Reaching Phippsøya, in the Seven Islands north of Nordaustlandet, you’re now at 80° north and just 540 miles from the geographic North Pole. Polar bears and walruses inhabit this region. In the afternoon you venture to your northernmost point, near the 82nd parallel. While retracing your route west, keep watch for polar bears and elusive Greenland (bowhead) whales.
About 40 nautical miles west of Spitsbergen, you sail the edge of the continental shelf. Here fin whales forage during the summer in the upwelling zones (where cold, nutrient-rich water wells up from below the sea’s surface) that run along the Spitsbergen banks. At the mouth of Kongsfjorden, you have a good chance of sighting minke whales.
Walruses sometimes haul out in Forlandsundet, your next stop. Alternatively, you might sail into St. Johns Fjord or south to the mouth of Isfjorden, landing at Alkhornet. Seabirds nest on these cliffs, Arctic foxes search below for fallen eggs and chicks, and reindeer graze the sparse vegetation. You arrive in Longyearbyen later at night.
Every adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. You disembark in Longyearbyen, taking home memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.
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. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Mandatory Travel Insurance:
As a requirement of participation on this expedition, all passengers must purchase medical, accident, and repatriation/evacuation insurance. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends at least $200,000 Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage for polar trips which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage, and personal property. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.
Please Note: All voyages will operate subject to a minimum of 70 participants.
Pre-scheduled transfers and baggage handling between the airport and ship (only for passengers on group flights to and from Longyearbyen); shipboard accommodations; all shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac; program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff; gear on loan (rubber boots); all meals onboard the ship; snacks, coffee, and tea; comprehensive pre-departure material; all miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program; AECO fees and governmental taxes. Inclusions subject to change without notice.
Any airfare, whether on scheduled or charter flights; pre- and post- land arrangements; transfers to/from the vessel outside Spitsbergen; passport and visa expenses; government arrival and departure taxes; meals ashore; baggage, cancellation, and personal insurance (which is mandatory); excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar, beverage charges, and telecommunication charges; customary gratuity at the end of the voyage for stewards and other service personnel aboard; fuel surcharge may apply.
PHOTOS: © Joerg Ehrlich; © Markus Eichenberger; © Majanda Hamelink; © Sally Hamna; © Elke Linder; © Petr Slavik