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Introducing Spitsbergen: Travel Specialist Insights
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We were so lucky with our sightings and we saw polar bears, reindeer, walrus, seals, arctic fox, whales by the score and a large variety of birds. The expedition team were wonderful.
Judy & David Charlton, Around Spitsbergen
Day 1: Embarkation, Longyearbyen Board your ship in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen’s largest settlement. Days 2-12: Spitsbergen Over the next few days your expedition team will take advantage of local ice and weather conditions to explore the highlights of Spitsbergen, as you attempt to circumnavigate the island.
Popular attractions include the following:
- 14th of July Glacier - enjoy a Zodiac cruise along the face of this glacier and search for Arctic foxes, purple sandpipers, common eiders, barnacle geese, Arctic terns and more among the nearby cliffs.
- Alkefjellet - on Spitsbergen’s east side, the sea cliffs here offer the spectacular sight of thick billed murres (brunich guillemots) nesting in their thousands.
- Barentsoya - visit an old trapper’s hut and enjoy a brisk walk across the tundra in search of Spitsbergen reindeer and barnacle geese.
- Bourbonhamna - the narrow sound near Bourbonhamna is a favoured route of majestic beluga whales.
- Hinlopen Strait - here you may find bearded and ringed seals, polar bears and ivory gulls. Visit the bird cliffs of Alkefjellet, where spectacular basalt pillars rise hundreds of metres towards an overhanging ice cap.
- Isbukta - translates as ‘ice bay’ and there should be plenty of fast ice here - sea ice that has frozen fast to the coast. This means a good chance of spotting polar bears on the hunt, as seals rest along the ice edge.
- Krossfjorden - located along the west coast of Spitsbergen, this is a great place to keep a look out for bearded seals.
- Liefdefjorden - walk on the tundra observing pink-footed geese as well as common and possibly king eiders. Once into the fjord, there is a spectacular opportunity to cruise along the 5 km face of the Monaco Glacier.
- Ny Alesund - the world’s most northerly settlement is now a research centre as well as a breeding ground for barnacle geese, pink-footed geese and Arctic tern.
- Phippsoya - an archipelago within an archipelago, Seven Islands comprises the northernmost portion of Svalbard. They lie about 10 degrees from the North Pole and polar bears and walrus are commonly sighted around the island of Phippsoya.
Day 13: Disembarkation, Longyearbyen Your adventure ends as it began, in the frontier-style settlement of Longyearbyen. Notes
Please note that all voyage itineraries are intended as a guideline only - embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy of expedition travel. Actual routes and landings will be dependent on weather, sea and ice conditions. A degree of flexibility is essential in the polar regions!
- The 10 day voyages on the M/V Ortelius and M/V Plancius, and the 11-day voyages on the M/S Expedition, Sea Endurance and the Polar Pioneer are shorter variations on the above.
- The 02 June 2018 voyage aboard the Ocean (Sea) Adventurer is a photography special. The main focus will be to provide passengers with the best possible wildlife photographing opportunities rather than attempting to follow a particular itinerary. Therefore, while it is possible that the ship will circle the island, it is very likely that an alternative route will be taken to maximise wildlife sightings.
Contact us for full details on these itineraries.
All tour descriptions and conditions are given in accordance with the information of Discover the World