We cruise around this magical island, on a constant search for wildlife. Your expedition will cover western Spitsbergen as well as some stunning fjords and outlying islands to the north.From polar flora to immense glaciers, the natural landscape here is just as varied as the wildlife. Each expedition presents new opportunities, so we have no fixed itinerary, however we do have some favorite destinations, including 14th of July Glacier, Smeerenburg, Alkefjellet and the Hinlopen Straight. The destinations visited on your voyage will be selected for optimum wildlife viewing and appreciation of the history and geology of Spitsbergen. Polar bear viewing is almost guaranteed, with Hornsund being one of their preferredhunting areas and the towering cliffs of Alkefjellet providing many free bird egg meals for both them and the Arctic fox. Poolepynton is great for walrus photography. Coming across a walrus haul-out is a moment you won’t forget either. These lumbering giants of the Arctic create quite a noisy scene, aseach walrus vies for a choice spot of coastline.If you’re itching to get a little closer to the action, then taking a sea-kayaking excursion to some of the more isolated pockets of Spitsbergen is highly recommended. Smeerenburg is a great place for an optional snowshoeing excursion (on selected voyages), as you can visit a memorial erected in 1906. This historical site remembers the whalers who lost their lives in the 17th and 18th centuries while working in extreme Arctic conditions.
There is no shortage of natural beauty in Spitsbergen. The tundra can be surprisingly colorful in summer, with wildflowers bursting for a taste of sunshine. Each day you’ll see something new, whether it is a rare bird species or an abandoned hut from centuries ago.
Possible Landings and Wildlife Sightings
This cliff is a seabird center, where brünnich’s guillemots (thick-billed murres) raise their young. An estimated
100,000 breeding pairs raise their young here in the basalt cliffs. The birds do not build nests, rather they lay an egg on the bare ledge.
LILLIEHÖÖK GLACIER, SPITSBERGEN
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.
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.
MONACO GLACIER, SPITSBERGEN
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.
NORDAUSTLANDET ISLAND, SVALBARD ARCHIPELAGO
This is the second-largest island in the entire Svalbard Archipelago. The largest glacier in Europe is located on the island, which is a known habitat for reindeer and walrus.
PALANDERBUKTA, NORDAUSTLANDET ISLAND
On the western coast, this bay stretches south and east from the Wahlenberg Fjord. This is a typical polar desert scene where the ‘ice bear’ can sometimes be seen roaming in search of food.