Expect a new adventure every day, as you journey around the
island of Spitsbergen and explore smaller, outlying islands. The variety of
incredible wildlife and geological formations found here is astounding! Every
expedition will be unique, but a few of our favorite landing sites include the
14th of July Glacier, Ny London, Phippsoya, Aklefjellet and the seldom visited
The names may seem strange to you, but they each have their
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 brünich guillermots (thick-billed murres).
If you want to prove that reindeer are real, then you’ll
want to have your camera ready for visits to sites like Ny London, Sundneset
As for the largest land carnivore in the world – searching
for polar bears is a constant activity,
with Phippsoya and Isbukta being two of their preferred places for hunting –
meaning 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 how this land was first explored. Whaling was a key
industry here and you will see blubber ovens and other whaling evidence at
landing sites such as Smeerenburg. Colorful tundra meadow displays are
complimented by glaciers and the potential exists for spotting beluga whales.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
This island is designated as a protected sanctuary for
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 honours the expedition, the prince and the principality over
which he reigned.
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.
This is an excellent location to stretch the legs and
explore the Arctic on foot. We often head out hiking here in search of
The Samarin Glacier dominates the landscape that surrounds
the bay, where icebergs, kittiwakes and brünnich’s guillemots (thick-billed murres)
may be seen.
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
Otter Island is an excellent location for Zodiac cruising
to search for and photograph polar bears and walrus.
This is a beautiful and colourful 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.
IMPORTANT REMINDER Embracing the unexpected is
part of the legacy – and excitement – of expedition travel. When travelling in
extremely remote regions, your expedition staff must allow the sea, the ice and
the weather to guide route and itinerary details. The above is a tentative
outline of what you’ll experience on this voyage; please be aware that no
specific itinerary can be guaranteed.