If polar bears and beluga whales top your list of must-see Arctic wildlife, choose an expedition to Spitsbergen. This remarkable island – the largest in the northern archipelago of Svalbard – hosts an astonishing array of Arctic wildlife, protected within six national parks. The island itself has been nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here you'll find polar bears, reindeer, walrus and belugas, and add a bounty of seabird sightings to your field book – including Arctic terns and skua, barnacle geese and snow buntings.
Note: Weather, ice and other mitigating factors may result in changes to our itinerary and alteration to certain shore excursions.
Meals included: 1 dinner
Board the expedition cruise vessel, Akademik Sergey Vavilov, in Longyearbyen and sail out of Adventfjorden and into Isfjorden during the early evening. On board, we will meet for an introductory briefing and then head over to our dining room for our first meal aboard.
No pre voyage hotel accommodation is included in the voyage price. If you arrive prior to embarkation day and need accommodation please ask Peregrine or your agent for details and costs.
Meals included: 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners
The shores of Krossfjorden are home to numerous bird colonies and species. We anchor off a small harbour and cruise the bird cliffs near the 14th of July Glacier. As we cruise these waters we also keep an eye out for bearded and ringed seals, known to frequent this fjord. During the afternoon we cross Kongsfjord from Krossfjorden to the town site of Ny Alesund, a former mining village and currently the world’s most northern community. Founded by the Kings Bay Kull Company A/S in 1916, Ny Alesund operated as a coal mine sporadically until coal mining was ended in 1962. Since then, the community has become the site of numerous international polar science institutes. Ny Alesund earned its place in aviation pioneering history as a jumping off place for North Pole aviation exploration. Notable pioneer aviators such as Zeppelin, Amundsen, Ellsworth, Byrd and Nobile all used Ny Alesund and the airship anchor pylon for Amundsen and Nobile is still in place today.
Meals included: 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners
As your Zodiac approaches the shore of Fuglesangenoya, you’ll witness thousands of birds nesting on the island. Home to a large dovekie colony, the formation of the island allows for excellent viewing without impacting on the perimeter of the colony. Just a few miles from Fuglesangen is the former whaling station of Smeerenburg (Blubber Town). As we hike the shoreline of this former whaling station, we learn about the importance of whaling in the discovery and exploration of the Svalbard archipelago. A harsh industry in an equally harsh environment and as a testament to this whaling site all that is left is the blubber ovens. At 81 degrees north latitude, Phippsoya is only 540 nautical miles from the North Pole. Due to its proximity to the pack ice, Phippsoya is a great place for polar bear viewing. Be sure to get up to the bridge and take a picture of the GPS showing your latitude! No trip along the north coast of Spitsbergen would be complete without a visit to Monacobreen (Monaco Glacier). A wide glacier face at the head of the fjord makes for spectacular kayaking and Zodiac cruising. The coastal plain near the mouth of Liefdefjorden offers superb hiking and is often a great place to spot polar bears.
Meals included: 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners
Beluga whales often transit the narrow sound near Bourbonhamna. The adults are pure white and the younger animals a mottled grey colour. It’s estimated that there are approximately five to ten thousand belugas in the Svalbard population. We search for belugas and then hope to go ashore at Bourbonhamna. A hunter’s cabin, grinding wheel and two overturned boats are points of interest only a short walk away at Ingebrigstenbukta. However, it is the massive piles of beluga whalebones that catch everybody’s attention. The bones and all the artefacts are protected by the Svalbard Government and cannot be removed. While wandering among these bone relics we can also catch a glimpse of dozens of reindeer in the area. The Dolerittneset near Kapp Lee site has a large scattering of reindeer antlers, but it is the plethora of ancient whalebones that makes the landing memorable. Some 400 years ago whales were slaughtered here and were hunted almost to extinction in the waters of Svalbard. Now nature has turned the decaying old bones into items of beauty. Time and the elements have altered their original shape and sculptured them into works of art. They are painted with luxuriant blankets of green mosses and grasses, spattered with blotches of black and orange lichen, and framed with purple saxifrage, yellow cinquefoil and white sandwort. Glacier-filled bays abound in Hornsund and we sail our expedition vessel into one of these bays for a close-up view of the glacier. The entire archipelago of Svalbard is a lesson in glaciology and our onboard guides will use hikes and Zodiac cruises as classrooms for continuing tuition on the formation of this fantastic landscape.
Meals included: 1 breakfast
We arrive back in Longyearbyen in the morning and prepare to disembark following breakfast onboard.
Flights should be booked into and out of Longyearbyen.
Note: Weather or other conditions may require changes to our itinerary and shore excursions.
• Shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping.
• All breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks on board throughout your voyage. (Please inform us of any dietary requirements as far in advance as possible.)
• All shore landings per the daily program.
• Leadership throughout the voyage by our experienced Expedition Leader, including shore landings and other activities.
• A daily program of lectures by noted naturalists
• All Zodiac transfers and cruising per the daily program.
• Formal and informal presentations by our Expedition Team and Special Guests as scheduled.
• All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program.
• Passport and any applicable visa expenses.
• Government arrival and departure taxes.
• Any meals ashore.
• Baggage, cancellation, interruption, and medical travel insurance.
• Excess baggage charges.
• Laundry and other personal charges.
• Telecommunications charges.
• The voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for shipboard staff and crew.
Vaccinations may be required for this trip. Talk to your doctor about the up-to-date information for this region.Visas and Permits
It is your responsibility to ensure you have all required visas for your trip. Rules and regulations governing the issuance of visas are constantly changing, and vary for different nationalities and you should check visa requirements with your travel agent or relevant consular authority well before travel.Insurance
You are required to have travel insurance before heading off on a Peregrine trip. Insurance can be organised by your Peregrine representative or your travel agent.Responsible Travel
Our Responsible Travel ethos is at the heart of everything we do, from getting the basics right like respecting local cultures and the environment, to initiating projects that make positive contributions to communities, to our staff’s fundraising efforts and offsetting our carbon emissions.
Please visit our Responsible Travel (http://www.peregrineadventures.com/rt) page for more information.
Our Pre Departure Information or Travel Dossier (provided upon booking a trip) provides tips on how you can show respect for the local customs and culture in the country you are travelling in.
The information listed above is a brief description of some things you may need to consider when booking a trip. Once a tour is booked you will be provided with a link to your Travel Dossier which will contain detailed Pre Departure information.
These Trip Notes should be read in conjunction with Peregrine’s Arctic pre-departure information that is provided to you shortly after booking.
Please note that due to the exploratory nature of this expedition, weather, ice, wildlife or other conditions may require changes be made to the itinerary and/or cancellation of certain shore excursions. Every effort will be made to adhere to the itinerary, within the limits of safety and time constraints. We shall fit in as many stops as is practical along the way allowing you to experience as much as possible of this wonderful area. The locations mentioned in this itinerary are just some of the highlights of our fascinating expedition of discovery and exploration and we shall attempt further landings wherever and whenever time and local conditions permit.
In addition to funds for onboard expenses, it is possible to purchase souvenirs in some locations such as books, t-shirts, stamps, postcards, caps and some really good knitwear on many of the shore excursions, which include visits to towns or villages. In addition some museums and sites charge entry fees and in some locations you may wish to buy some food and drink (although the meals on the ship are very good and plentiful!). Visa and MasterCard are accepted on board our ship, but elsewhere they are of limited use. Please remember that all on-board services are charged in US dollars and your on board account (bar, gift shop, medical, gratuities) can be paid for by either US dollars cash, US dollars travellers cheques and the following credit cards - Visa and MasterCard. Norwegian kroners are accepted in Svalbard.
Please read our Arctic pre-departure information carefully. Although you don’t need to make expensive, specialist-clothing purchases for this trip, you will need clothes that adequately protect against cold and wet conditions. (Sea spray is common on board Zodiacs). It is recommended that you have warm, waterproof clothing available for use upon arrival in Longyearbyen, to protect yourself against the inclement weather. A Zodiac transfer from the pier to the ship is likely to take place on Day 1, so please be prepared with appropriate clothing.
4. Motion sickness:
Although our vessels are among the most stable ships in their class, we will still inevitably encounter motion. Unless you are certain you are impervious to the problem, you should take precautions against seasickness. Your doctor can advise you as to the best methods for avoiding this uncomfortable condition.
We suggest you allow the equivalent of US$11-13 a day for gratuities for the crew and expedition staff. This is usually collected just prior to the end of the cruise. If you wish, the amount can be paid by Visa or MasterCard.
6. Sea kayaking:
There are separate Trip Notes for the sea kayaking option. Please note that this option must be booked prior to your departure from home and it cannot be booked on the ship. Some prior experience is required.
Peregrine Voyage Documentation
Once you have booked your voyage to the Polar regions with Peregrine, you will be required to complete a series of forms. You will be sent the forms by post which includes a cruise contract, medical form, arrival/departure information form and expedition parka size order form. These forms must be completed and returned to Peregrine or your travel agent.
The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please keep this in mind when you read it and check with us if you want to be sure about something. The document was correct at time of printing, but you can check online for the most up to date version. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!
11 October 2012