North Spitsbergen: Polar Adventure Cruise & Wildlife Tour

   
 

North Spitsbergen: Polar Adventure Cruise & Wildlife Tour

BY ADVENTURESMITH EXPLORATIONS

UPDATED

7 months ago

DURATION

8 Days

SEASON

June - September

RATES

USD 3,900.00 per person

EXPIRES

Aug 30, 2016
North Spitsbergen: Polar Adventure Cruise & Wildlife Tour
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DESCRIPTION

Come explore Northern Spitsbergen. With its rugged mountains, sweeping tundra, and ice-caps and glaciers, it is a true high-Arctic archipelago. Only 600 miles from the North Pole, Spitsbergen is still today a virtually unspoiled wilderness with abundant wildlife. Three small ships travel this stunning route, ranging from 8 to 12 days: the 20-guest sailing ship Noorderlicht, the 114-guest Plancius and the 116-guest Ortelius.

The wildlife here was once a huge draw for whalers and trappers, but now discerning visitors are discovering the attractions of huge Arctic seabird colonies and the chance to enjoy and photograph species such as walrus, the indigenous Svalbard reindeer, Arctic fox and, of course, polar bear. Several whale species, such as the magnificent beluga, minke whale and fin whale, are also found in the waters surrounding Spitsbergen.

ADDITION RATE INFORMATION

Rates vary by season and cabin starting at $3900 per person. Please see website for full details on rates.

ITINERARY

Day 1: Longyearbyen
Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen, Svalbard & Jan Mayen Islands

Arrive in Longyearbyen, the administrative capital of the Spitsbergen archipelago of which West Spitsbergen is the largest island. Before embarking there is an opportunity to stroll around this former mining town, whose parish church and Polar Museum are well worth visiting, while in the surrounds of Longyearbyen, more than 100 species of plant have been recorded. In the early evening the ship will sail out of Isfjorden.

ACCOMMODATIONS: Plancius, Noorderlicht, or Ortelius

MEALS: dinner

Day 2: Krossfjorden
Krossfjorden, Spitsbergen, Svalbard & Jan Mayen Islands

Heading north along the west coast, we arrive by morning in Krossfjorden, where we take to the Zodiacs for an exhilarating cruise along the sculpted front of the 14th of July Glacier. On the surprisingly fertile slopes near the glacier, a colorful variety of flowers bloom, while large numbers of Kittiwakes and Brünnich's Guillemots nest on the nearby cliffs. There is also a good chance of spotting opportunistic Arctic Foxes, patrolling the base of the cliffs in case a hapless chick falls from its nest, and Bearded Seals, who cruise this scenic fjord. In the afternoon we sail to Ny Alesund, the world's most northerly settlement.

Once a mining village - served by the world's most northerly railway, which can still be seen - Ny Alesund is now a research center. Close to the village is a breeding ground for Barnacle Geese, Pink-footed Geese and Arctic Terns. Visitors interested in the history of Arctic exploration will want to walk to the anchoring mast used by Amundsen and Nobile in the airship Norge in 1926 and Nobile in the airship Italia in 1928 before their flights to the North Pole.

ACCOMMODATIONS: Plancius, Noorderlicht, or Ortelius

MEALS: breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 3: Andoya
Andoya, Nordland, Norway

Depending on the weather, we may now sail to the mouth of Liefdefjorden and go ashore for a walk on the tundra island of Andøya. Many Common Eiders and Pink-footed Geese nest here, and the rarer King Eider may also be seen. We hope to sail into Liefdefjorden, cruising near the 5km long face of the impressive Monaco glacier. The waters of the glacier front are a favorite feeding spot for thousands of Kittiwakes; and on previous voyages Polar Bears have been seen on the glacier, providing wonderful opportunities for photography.

ACCOMMODATIONS: Plancius, Noorderlicht, or Ortelius

MEALS: breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 4: Alkefjellet/Palanderbukta
Hinlopen Strait, Svalbard & Jan Mayen Islands

Today sail into Hinlopen Strait, home to Bearded Seals, Ringed Seals, Polar Bears, and Ivory Gulls. We'll navigate the ice floes of Lomfjordshalvoya in our zodiacs and explore the bird cliffs of Alkefjellet with thousands of Brunnich's guillemots. On the east side of Hinlopenstrait, we'll attempt a landing at Palanderbukta on Nordaustlandet, home to Reindeer, Pink-footed Geese, breeding Ivory Gulls, and Walruses.

ACCOMMODATIONS: Plancius, Noorderlicht, or Ortelius

MEALS: breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 5: Phippsoya
Phippsoya, Svalbard & Jan Mayen Islands

Today reach the northernmost point at Phippsoya, in the Seven Islands north of Nordaustlandet. Here we will be at 81 degrees north, just 540 miles from the geographic North Pole. Polar Bears inhabit this region, along with Ivory Gulls. We may sit for several hours in the pack ice, taking in our spectacular surroundings and seeing a Ross Gull, before we turn south again.

ACCOMMODATIONS: Plancius, Noorderlicht, or Ortelius

MEALS: breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 6: Raudfjord
Raudfjord, Spitsbergen, Svalbard & Jan Mayen Islands

Retracing our route westwards, we visit 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 vegetation, which flourishes in sheltered spots. On the offshore island of Ytre Norskoya, we visit a 17th century Dutch whaling site, whose large graveyard is a poignant reminder of the hardships and dangers of life here at the time. The island's bird life is prolific, with colonies of Little Auks, Black Guillemots, Brunnich's Guillemots, Puffins and Arctic Skuas accessible to visitors.

ACCOMMODATIONS: Plancius, Noorderlicht, or Ortelius

MEALS: breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 7: Prins Karls Forland
Forlandet National Park, Svalbard & Jan Mayen Islands

Land at the northern tip of Prins Karls Forland near Fuglehuken, where Barentsz probably set foot on Spitsbergen for the first time. Seabirds nest on the cliffs and along the coast we see Harbour Seals, the only population in Spitsbergen. Further we also will observe the remains of the Polar Bear hunting era, with demolished set guns and bear traps. At the opposite site of Forlandsundet at Sarstangen is a haul out place for walruses. Alternatively, we sail into St. Johns Fjord or south to the mouth of Isfjorden and land at Alkhornet. Seabirds nest on its cliffs and Arctic Foxes search the cliff base for fallen eggs and chicks, while Spitsbergen Reindeer graze the relatively luxuriant vegetation. The reindeer may seem unbothered by human presence, but this is not really the case. The animals must survive the harsh winter, when temperatures plummet and food is hard to find, so they preserve what energy they can, fleeing only when it is absolutely necessary. In the afternoon we cruise through beautiful Borebukta, following a glacier front before continuing to Longyearbyen.

ACCOMMODATIONS: Plancius, Noorderlicht, or Ortelius

MEALS: breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 8: Longyearbyen
Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen, Svalbard & Jan Mayen Islands

Return to Longyearbyen and disembark for the transfer to the airport and the flight to Oslo and home.

ACCOMMODATIONS: n/a

MEALS: breakfast

WHAT'S INCLUDED

  • Shipboard accommodation
  • Meals
  • Shore excursions & activities throughout the voyage
  • Leadership by experienced Expedition Leaders and staff, including shore landings
  • Zodiac cruising & transfers to/from the ship for shore excursions
  • Presentations by noted naturalists & other experts
  • Comprehensive pre-departure material
  • Group transfers & baggage handling between the airport, hotels and ship for passengers on the group flights to/from Longyearbyen
  • All miscellaneous service taxes & port charges
  • AECO fees and governmental taxes
  • Free use of rubber boots and snowshoes on Plancius and Ortelius

NOTES

Alternative Itinerary: In addition to the 8-day itinerary listed above, there is a 10-day Basecamp option aboard Plancius that includes specific activities (like kayaking and photo workshops) in the price; see individual Rates & Dates for details. There are also longer 12-day itineraries as well as 8-day Polar Bear Special sailings that offer better chances for polar bear sightings. Please see Rates & Dates or call for more detailed information about each voyage.

10-day Basecamp Itinerary... Day 1 - Arrive Longyearbyen Day 2 - Krossfjorden, 14th of July Glacier & Ny Ålesund Day 3 - Ytre Norskøya & Raudfjord Day 4 - Raudfjord Day 5 - Liefdefjorden Day 6 - Bockfjord Day 7 - Hinlopen Strait & Palanderbukta Day 8 - Phippsøya Day 9 - Prins Karls Forland & Borebukta Day 10 - Disembark Longyearbyen

12-Day Noorderlicht Itinerary... Day 1 - Arrive Longyearbyen Day 2 - Tryghamna to Fuglehuken Day 3 - Ny Ålesund Day 4 - 14th July Glacier Day 5 - Magdalenafjord Day 6 - Ytre Norskøya Day 7 - Raudfjord Day 8 - Reindyrfla Day 9 - Smeerenburg Days 10-11 - Forlandsundet Day 12 - Depart Longyearbyen

8-Day Polar Bear Special... Day 1 - Arrive Longyearbyen Day 2 - Raudfjord Day 3 - Liefdefjorden Day 4 - Hinlopen Strait & Palanderbukta Day 5 - Laagoya & Phippsoya Day 6 - At Sea, Wildlife Viewing Day 7 - Prins Karls Forland & St Johns Fjord Day 8 - Disembark Longyearbyen

Itinerary Notes: Read this itinerary as a guide only. As this is an expedition to a remote part of the world, the exact route and program varies according to ice, weather conditions, wildlife, availability of anchorages, political conditions and other factors beyond our control. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition. Visits to research stations depend on final permission.


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