Spitsbergen in Depth

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Spitsbergen in Depth

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Description

Spitsbergen is the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago, which we will attempt a circumnavigation of the island on this voyage. Lying entirely within the Arctic Circle, it is rugged, wild, unspoiled and utterly unforgettable. When it comes to viewing Arctic wildlife Spitsbergen is known as one of the most prolific destinations.

Offering one of the world’s best opportunity to view polar bears, you’ll be able to see the world’s largest carnivores in their natural habitat. Walrus populations love Spitsbergen as well, feeding in the food-rich icy waters around the island. Whales and seabirds will entertain you during the sailing portions of the expedition, while you may catch a sighting of reindeer or Arctic fox when taking Zodiac excursions to land.

Trip Name
Spitsbergen in Depth
Last Updated
2019-12-12
Days
14
Capacity
132
Highlights
  • Uncover the incredible landscape of Spitsbergen, from the quirky northernmost city of Longyearbyen and brilliantly blue glaciers like the ‘14th July Glacier’, to stunning fjords and towering mountains and cliffs
  • Experience the unique and memorable sensation of 24 hours of sunlight
  • Scour sheets of ice and hopefully be rewarded with unforgettable sightings of the ruler of the Arctic – the Polar Bear
  • With endless daylight there are also endless wildlife-viewing opportunities – elusive Arctic foxes, breaching whales, lounging masses of walruses, and enchanting seabirds dotted along the cliffs of Alkefjellet
  • Choose to get even closer to this amazing environment with optional activities like snowshoeing, hiking, and gliding along pristine waters between icebergs in a sea kayak

Itinerary

Polar travel requires an amount of flexibility as weather, ice conditions and wildlife can all affect where your ship is able to access, and where your Expedition Team think you will get the best experience possible from your trip. On board, daily updates are given to advise what the specific itinerary will be for the next day based on local conditions. Published itineraries are subject to change when local conditions dictate.

Day 1 - Arrive Oslo
Your arctic voyage begins in Oslo, Norway’s vibrant capital city. If you arrive early, there are many museums, restaurants and green spaces to keep you busy before retiring at your included airport hotel.
Day 2 - Oslo to Longyearbyen
This morning, the group will transfer to the airport and board our private charter flight to Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen’s largest settlement, where you’ll have some time to explore before embarkation. As your ship sets sail, enjoy your first view of the island’s rugged, glacier-topped mountains rising majestically from icy waters.
Day 3-13 - Exploring Spitsbergen
Expect a new adventure every day as we begin our circumnavigation by heading north and around the island of Spitsbergen, exploring smaller, outlying islands. The variety of incredible wildlife and geological formations found here is astounding. We plan to circumnavigate the island of Spitsbergen, but if conditions are favorable, we will also attempt a circumnavigation of the whole Svalbard archipelago. Every expedition will be different, depending on the weather and ice, but we do hope to visit a few of our favorite landing sites, including the 14th of July Glacier, Ny London, Phippsøya, Alkefjellet and the seldom-visited Kvitøya. The names may seem strange to you, but each has its own unique appeal. For birders, the 14th of July Glacier is home to purple sandpipers, common eiders, barnacle geese and arctic terns, while Alkefjellet is home to nesting Brünnich’s guillemots (thick-billed murres). If you’re looking for confirmation that reindeer are real, then you’ll want to have your camera ready for visits to sites like Ny London, Sundneset and Alkhornet. As for the largest land carnivore in the world, searching for polar bears is a constant activity for our Expedition Team. Phippsøya and Isbukta are two of the bears’ preferred places for hunting, which translates into great potential for you to capture them in action. A big part of appreciating Spitsbergen comes from understanding the culture—not just how people live today, but also how this land was first explored. Whaling was a key industry, and you will see old blubber ovens from the 16th century, plus other evidence of whaling at landing sites such as Smeerenburg. Colorful tundra meadows are complemented by glaciers, and sometimes there is a rare chance to spot beluga whales. POSSIBLE LANDING SITES SVALBARD ALKEFJELLET This cliff is a seabird center, where Brünnich’s guillemots (thick-billed murres) raise their young. An estimated 100,000 breeding pairs reside in the basalt cliffs. The birds do not build nests, rather they lay an egg on the bare ledge. DISKOBUKTA This bay on the west shore of Edgeøya affords a landing site with a box canyon where black-legged kittiwakes raise their young. Arctic foxes have been seen combing the canyon floor to feed on scraps that have fallen from the nests above. Watch for bones of ancient bowhead whales on the canyon floor, evidence that the shoreline has changed over millennia. ISBUKTA On the eastern shore of the southern tip of Svalbard is Ice Bay. Sabine gulls, skuas and bearded seals inhabit the bay. Polar bears are known to patrol the area as well. ISISPYNTEN Is an island! Both nautical charts and topographical maps define Isispynten as a point of land, but we’ve proved them wrong. Receding glaciers have turned this point of land into an island. KAPP LEE This is a well-known walrus haul-out. The pink color to a walrus’ hide as it lies in the sun is caused by blood pumped to the skin’s surface to aid cooling, similar to that of a hippopotamus in Africa. KVITØYA The western part of this island is only 98 km from Victoria Island in Franz Josef Land, which is part of the Russian Arctic. This remote outpost is actually closer to the Russian Arctic than it is to Nordaustlandet (117 km) and is actually located on the same longitude as Cairo, Egypt. LILLIEHÖÖK GLACIER In 1906, His Serene Highness Prince Albert I of Monaco visited Lilliehöök Glacier to conduct scientific investigations. His great-great-grandson visited the glacier 100 years later. He, too, was part of a scientific investigation, this time to further our understanding of the arctic clam, a species that lives for more than a century. The growth rings of a single clam’s shell contain evidence of the chemicals encountered by the clam. Scientists can determine the variations of the water’s temperature and pollutant content by studying the shell. LONGYEARBYEN Eighteen hundred people inhabit the administrative capital of Svalbard, which is situated on the shore of Isfjorden. The settlement was founded in 1905 by John Munroe Longyear, the majority owner of the Arctic Coal Company of Boston. MOFFEN ISLAND This island is designated as a protected sanctuary for walrus. MONACO GLACIER HSH Prince Albert I of Monaco, a pioneer of oceanography, led an expedition to Svalbard in 1906. His team used sophisticated photographic techniques to understand the shape and position of several glacier fronts. Monaco Glacier honors the expedition, the prince and the principality over which he reigned. PHIPPSØYA This small archipelago is the northernmost land in Svalbard. Englishmen left their mark during a survey of the islands in the 1780s. The party named the islands after themselves, with the smallest and least significant island being named Nelsonøya, after the lowly midshipman. ROSENBERGDALEN This is an excellent location to stretch the legs and explore the Arctic on foot. We often head out hiking here in search of reindeer. SAMARINVÅGIN The Samarin Glacier dominates the landscape that surrounds the bay, where icebergs, kittiwakes and Brünnich’s guillemots (thick-billed murres) may be seen. VIBEBUKTA This polar desert may seem barren, but traces of life can be found here, including fossils and whalebones that are 9,500 years old. The bones provide nutrients for microenvironments that leach from the ancient bones. VON OTTERØYA Otter Island is an excellent location for Zodiac cruising to search for and photograph polar bears and walrus. WORSLEYNESET This is a beautiful and colorful tundra-covered island with moss campion (a small wildflower), saxifrage and arctic mouse-eared chickweed. Fun names on an island that is a pleasure to explore. The following Optional Activities are available to participate in, on some or all of the departures of this itinerary. These must be booked in advance (additional costs apply) and space is limited. KAYAKING – Our kayaking adventures are the best way to feel at one with the sea. Taken in small groups of maximum 16 people, multiple times per voyage, kayaking adventures are only conducted during calm weather conditions. Kayaking is open to all levels of experience, however kayaking in the polar waters is not suitable for novice kayakers. Beginners interested in kayaking should first take an introductory course prior to the voyage which includes how to do a wet exit. In addition regardless of your experience, we recommend you take part in some kayaking practise prior to the voyage to ensure that you are comfortable on the water in the icy conditions. INCLUDED OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES offered on some or all departures of this itinerary HIKING - Hiking is a great way to appreciate the immense windswept landscapes of the Arctic. The tundra comes alive during the brief arctic summer, with bursts of color from shrubs and plants that eke out a living in this polar environment. You’ll find each hike is different - exploring communities, shorelines or glaciated landscapes, often on the lookout for wildlife. Hiking participation is optional and your Expedition Team will advise you of what levels of activity you can expect prior to each excursion.
Day 14 - Disembark in Longyearbyen and Oslo
Your adventure ends back at the frontier-style settlement of Longyearbyen. From here we'll transfer you to the airport for your charter flight to Oslo.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
24-06-202007-07-2020AUD $ 14,900-
24-06-202007-07-2020AUD $ 15,050-
24-06-202007-07-2020AUD $ 17,975-
24-06-202007-07-2020AUD $ 19,925-
24-06-202007-07-2020AUD $ 15,050-
24-06-202007-07-2020AUD $ 19,400-
24-06-202007-07-2020AUD $ 17,200-
24-06-202007-07-2020AUD $ 16,545-
27-06-202010-07-2020AUD $ 20,300-
27-06-202010-07-2020AUD $ 25,400-
27-06-202010-07-2020AUD $ 27,700-
27-06-202010-07-2020AUD $ 28,400-
27-06-202010-07-2020AUD $ 14,900-
27-06-202010-07-2020AUD $ 20,300-
30-07-202012-08-2020AUD $ 14,900-
30-07-202012-08-2020AUD $ 19,250-
30-07-202012-08-2020AUD $ 19,250-
30-07-202012-08-2020AUD $ 25,400-
30-07-202012-08-2020AUD $ 27,700-
30-07-202012-08-2020AUD $ 26,900-

Accommodation

Expedition cruise ship

Transport

Expedition cruise ship,Zodiac

Map