Summary : Travel from Longyearbyen to East Spitsbergen with a group of scientists following up on investigations started by Dutch researchers on Edgeøya in the 20th century. You'll have the unique opportunity to interact with the scientists and join them on extended walks to special places of interest. Enjoy landing on the rarely-visited coast of South Spitsbergen and witness the largest colony of Brünnich's guillemots in Spitsbergen. Cruise dazzling fjords in a Zodiac, walk along the sweeping tundra, and visit historical sites. This special expedition offers a chance to see whales, reindeer, Arctic foxes, walruses, seals, several bird species, and polar bears.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Hiking, Triple/Quad Cabins
$5,050 to $9,500
Longyearbyen, the administrative center of Spitsbergen, is the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago. Enjoy strolling around this former mining town, whose 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 sails out of Isfjorden, where you might spot the first minke whale of your voyage.
Land at the rarely visited coast of South Spitsbergen between Sørkap and Isbukta. You will also sail by Stellingfjellet to see the biggest colony of Brünnich's guillemots in Spitsbergen.
Cruise north to Diskobukta on the west side of Edgeøya. After a Zodiac cruise through the shallow bay, land at Blankodden on a beach littered with whale bones and tree trunks which have drifted here from Siberia.
You can also climb to the rim of a narrow gully which is inhabited by thousands of kittiwakes, together with black guillemot and piratical glaucous gulls.
During the breeding season, the base of the cliffs is patrolled by Arctic foxes and polar bears searching for young birds that have fallen from the nesting ledges. From here you can walk to Kapp Lee.
At the east side of West Spitsbergen (west side of Storfjorden), walk to some breeding places of ivory gulls in Agardhfjellet at about 1,312-feet high. The valley leading to the nests is littered with fossils of belemnites and ammonites.
In Freemansundet, plan to land at Sundneset on the island of Barentsøya to visit an old trapper's hut and then take a brisk walk across the tundra in search of Spitsbergen reindeer and barnacle geese. Also planned is a Zodiac cruise near the Freeman glacier and a visit with a kittiwake colony in a canyon.
At Diskobukta, make a long inland excursion into the braided rivers—which are easily crossed this late in the season. At Caltexfjellet, search for the breeding grounds of ivory gulls and proceed into Smelledalen to search for pingos. Alternatively, land at Plurdalen, where extensive explorations for oil took place about forty years ago.
At Habenichtbukta you will land in an area where Russian Pomors* built and lived in a hunting station during the 18th and 19th centuries. Trek inland to an area with ponds and lakes, populated by divers, ducks, and geese.
*a Russian people from the coasts of the White Sea.
At Andrétangen you'll have the opportunity to observe a herd of walruses near an old trapper station. At some distance inland, near a lifted shore in a surf zone, discover the skeletons of stranded whales centuries old. In the afternoon, land at Kong Ludvigøyane or Tiholmane to see more remains of the Pomor period.
Start the day quietly, cruising the spectacular Hornsund area of southern Spitsbergen, enjoying the scenery of towering mountain peaks. Hornsundtind rises to 4,694 feet while Bautaen shows why early Dutch explorers named the island 'Spitsbergen,’ meaning 'pointed mountains.' There are fourteen magnificent glaciers in the area and a good chance you'll spot seals and polar bears. You might visit the Polish research station where friendly staff will give insight into their research projects. Behind the station, the mountains are home to thousands of pairs of nesting little auks.
Every adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. 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 travel insurance including medical, accident, and a minimum of $50,000 in repatriation/evacuation insurance. Furthermore, the shipping company strongly recommends obtaining trip cancellation insurance. ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends at least $200,000 Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage for Arctic trips which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. 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; 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; travel insurance, including medical, accident, and repatriation/evacuation insurance (required); baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (strongly recommended); excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar, beverage charges, and telecommunication charges; gratuities; fuel surcharge may apply.
PHOTOS: © Arjen Drost; © Erwin Vermeulen; © Franco Banfi; © Joerg Ehlrich; © Petr Slavik, © Rinie van Meurs, © Oceanwide Expeditions