Summary : Spitsbergen, a remote and spectacular archipelago of immense glaciers, narrow fjords, sheer mountain cliffs and abundant wildlife, has lured many explorers into its enticing web. On this expedition, explore the eastern and least visited areas of this beautiful and dramatic region. Spitsbergen has twice as many polar bears as people, so you may encounter a good number of them. You will also visit beaches covered by massive walrus, and seabirds will be your constant companions throughout the trip.
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You arrive in Longyearbyen under the midnight sun and transfer to Radisson SAS Polar Hotel, with a magnificent view of the Ice Fjord.
You start your week in Spitsbergen by exploring the High Arctic capital of Longyearbyen founded in 1906. You also pay a visit to the excellent Svalbard Museum. Embark the M/S Origo in the afternoon and sail out through the Ice Fjord. Your exact itinerary depends on weather, ice conditions and the wildlife you encounter. Each day you make several landings with your rigid Zodiac craft and thanks to the midnight sun you can go ashore day and night. Here are a few of the many places you may visit:
Not far from Norwegian Longyearbyen is the Russian enclave Barentsburg, a fascinating coal mining settlement founded in 1932.
In this scientific village the animals completely ignore the humans. Arctic terns nest by the main street and outside the post office, northernmost in the world, visitors often see wild reindeer grazing. It was from here that Amundsen and Nobile started their heroic expeditions to the North Pole.
Two of the most courageous attempts to reach the North Pole started here. Swedish balloonist Andrée made an attempt with hydrogen balloon and American journalist Wellman started out with airship. You are guided around the site, which is littered with remnants from the heroic era.
Liefdefjorden, meaning "the fjord of love", is an area of immense natural beauty. The fjord is lined with snow-covered mountain peaks and in the end lies the spectacular Monaco Glacier. Polar bears have been sighted here.
If the ice allows you may visit Hinlopen Strait. Here is Auk Mountain, a vertical basaltic cliff, which makes out the home for some 200 000 Brunnich`s guillemots. The waters here are especially nutritious, which explains the large quantities of sea birds.
Heading east you meet the massive pack ice border. You are now off the beaten track in a wilderness virtually untouched by man. You enjoy the silence and the grandeur of this icy landscape. Here your odds of finding polar bears are increasing, and the crew will keep a constant lookout from the bridge during your time in the ice.
This island, covered by an enormous ice cap, fascinates naturalists as well as historians. Here you find a huge glacier front intersected by hundreds of melt-waterfalls, an abandoned German weather station from WWII and the well kept scientific station at Kinnvika.
In favourable ice conditions you may reach Storöya, situated east of Nordaustlandet. Walrus and polar bears frequent the area.
You retrace your route back to Longyearbyen and hope to make a landing on Prins Karls Forland. In the evening you anchor in a sheltered bay and celebrate the completion of the expedition with a farewell dinner.
Today you reach Longyearbyen, embark and fly back to Oslo.
Please read this itinerary as a guide only; your exact route and program will vary depending on ice and weather conditions--and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to a successful expedition.
7 nights on board the M/S Origo; 1 night at Radisson Polar Hotel; All meals throughout the trip; An experienced Expedition Leader and a knowledgeable naturalist guide; An extensive lecture program; All shore excursions and activities by Zodiac; Landing fees and port taxes; A detailed post-expedition log.
Connecting flights to Longyearbyen; Airport tax and arrival/departure taxes; Passport and visa expenses; Travel insurance; The customary gratuity to the ship`s crew; Excess baggage charges; Personal expenses such as bar and shop charges.