11-DAY EXPEDITION CRUISE THROUGH THE QUINTESSENTIAL ARCTIC WORLD OF SPITSBERGEN, SVALBARD.
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ARCTIC SPITSBERGEN JULY 6-16, 2018
This comprehensive 11-day cruise ventures through the quintessential Arctic world of Spitsbergen, Svalbard. High Arctic Spitsbergen is said to be home to over 3000 Polar Bears scattered throughout this archipelago at 80 degrees North. Whales, seals, reindeer and bird-life abound as the warmth of summer briefly visits. Our itinerary takes us from the outpost town of Longyearbyen north along the coast to the pack ice where close-encounters with wildlife are sure to thrill the photographer in all of us. Hike isolated islands and shores, re-live history, learn from our expert guides and come face-to-face with the “tooth walker”, commonly known as the walrus. Svalbard offers the traveller a perfect cross-section of Arctic flora and fauna mixed with culture, science and stunning scenery. Carrying just 48 guests, our expedition ship will cruise through a kaleidoscope of pack ice accessing rarely visited lands, bays and fjords. A fleet of Zodiac boats provides the perfect platform for exploring remote beaches, tiny islands and outpost communities. The voyage takes place in the height of the Arctic summer when wildlife is thriving and the midnight sun shines ever bright. Space is limited. A full 11-days investigating the best of Spitsbergen will surely yield spectacular Arctic experiences and memories for all guests.
ARCTIC SPITSBERGEN ITINERARY
Below is a sample itinerary for the cruise.Day 1 - Longyearbyen - Fly in and enjoy a visit to this high Arctic town. See the award-winning museum prior to embarking on the ship for a grand journey into the Arctic ice.
Smeerenburg Glacier and Norske Island - On the Northerwest corner of Spitsbergen, we cruise along stunning glaciers, hike untrodden peaks for amazing views and walk the lonely beaches encountering auks, eider ducks and whaling station remains. Here, we often see Polar Bears hunting seals on the ice floes.
Seven Islands - Today we attempt to reach the Northern-most island in Europe. The Seven Islands include astounding bird colonies, terrific walks, towering cliffs and inspiring history. To the North lies the massive blanket of winter ice which stretches to the North Pole. Here, our odds of finding polar bears are great and our ship and Zodiacs cruise the floes with ease. If conditions allow, we venture out for a walk on the pack ice or a short Polar swim!
Hinlopen Strait - Hinlopen’s waters are especially nutritious and harbour large concentrations of seabirds noted when we visit a colony of 600,000 guillemots. Our ship is skillful at navigating the towering icebergs and the shifting pack ice for landings. Landing to walk and hike take place on Spitsbergen and Nordauslandet
Barentsburg - An amazing cultural visit to explore this communist-era Russian mining town. View the mine, learn of the history of this outpost and meet the local Russians.
Danes Island and Ny Alesund - Two of the most courageous attempts to reach the North Pole started from these islands. We explore the sites, which are littered with remnants from the heroic era. As our historian regales us with tales of discovery, we visit with local scientists and the museum. We also have an optional hike or Zodiac cruise of the enormous King Glacier.
Nordaustlandet - We cruise along the world’s third largest icecap stretching down to the sea where it forms a long glacier front intersected by hundreds of melt-waterfalls. Fast ice often forms a shelf along the sea for bearded seals, walrusses, ringed seals and bears. The waterfalls are amazing and whales are often seen along the fast ice edge.
Zordragonfjorden - Deep inside these fjords, bearded seals lounge on ice flows and minke whales can be spotted cruising the surface. We sail directly into the fast ice and “freeze” the ship for an Arctic BBQ. Later, walks and hikes are offered to an enormous glacier and to dramatic bird cliffs. We keep a constant lookout for resident polar bears.
Arctic Polar Convergence - Fin, Humpback and Minke whales are often seen feeding off Nordaustlandet, where the warmer waters from southern Europe mix with cold Polar currents.
Storoya Isolated - Storöya lies above 80 degrees North and, when ice conditions allow, is a superb place too see polar bears stalking walrus pups and raiding bird colonies. During outings, we can search for recently discovered “sea monster” fossils.
Borebukta - At Borebukta, we hope to encounter Arctic fox, reindeer and walruses during our walks and hikes. Later, we toast our successes with a grand Captain’s Dinner.
Poolepinton - The walrus of this fabulous landing are amazing, curious and a sight to behold. We go ashore and walk quietly over to view and sit with the colony of toothy beasts.
Day 11 - Longyearbyen - Oslo After some time in Longyearbyen, enjoy a transfer to the airport for our flights back to Oslo, Norway and home.