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Arctic tour

10-Day Arctic Summer: Wildlife, Glaciers, and Polar Bears

Arctic Summer: Wildlife, Glaciers, and Polar Bears -- Trip Photo of Arctic tour  Arctic map

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Itinerary

Day 1 : Arrive Longyearbyen and embark the vessel to Isfjorden

Visiting: Longyearbyen, Norway

Today, arrive in Longyearbyen, the capital of the Spitsbergen archipelago of which West Spitsbergen is the largest island. Before heading out on the ship, you will have an opportunity to stroll around this scenic former mining town, whose parish church and Polar Museum are well worth visiting. By early evening, we begin sailing out of Isfjorden.

  • Meals: D
  • Standard Lodging: Noorderlicht, Ortelius, or Rembrandt van Rijn

Day 2 : Board zodiacs for a cruise among the glaciers

Visiting: Spitsbergen

Heading north along the west coast, we arrive by morning in Krossfjorden, where we board the zodiacs for a cruise along the grand sculpted face of the 14th of July Glacier. On green slopes near the glacier, colorful varieties of flowers bloom, while large numbers of Kittiwake and Brünnich’s Guillemot nest on the nearby cliffs. Here we have a good chance of sighting Arctic fox, who patrol the base of the cliffs in case a chick falls from its nest, and bearded seals, who cruise this fjord. Later, this afternoon, we sail to Ny Alesund, the world’s most northern settlement. Once a mining village - served by the world’s most northern railway, which can still be seen, Ny Ålesund is now an Arctic research center. Close to the village is a breeding ground for barnacle goose, pink-footed goose and Arctic tern. If you are interested in the history of Arctic exploration, you will want to walk to the anchoring mast used by Amundsen and Nobile, in the airship Norge in 1926 and Nobile in the airship Italia in 1928, before their flights to the North Pole.

  • Meals: BLD
  • Standard Lodging: Noorderlicht, Ortelius, or Rembrandt van Rijn

Day 3 : Head ashore for a naturalist walk on the tundra, glacier cruising

Visiting: Spitsbergen

Near the mouth of Liefdefjorden, we will go ashore for a naturalist walk on the tundra of Reindyrsflya. Here we will get close-up looks and better understandings of the hardy plants that constitute the primary flora of this incredibly vast region. Later, sailing into Liefdefjorden, we cruise near the face of the striking Monaco Glacier. The waters of the glacier front are a favorite feeding spot for thousands of Kittiwakes and occasionally Polar Bear are seen on the glacier.

  • Meals: BLD
  • Standard Lodging: Noorderlicht, Ortelius, or Rembrandt van Rijn

Day 4 : Making our northernmost landing, exploring by zodiac and on foot

Visiting: Spitsbergen

We have our northernmost landing at Phippsoya, in the Seven Islands north of Nordaustlandet. Here we will be at 81 degrees north, just 540 miles from the geographic North Pole. Polar bear inhabit this region, along with walrus and ivory gull. We may sit for several hours in the pack ice, taking in our spectacular surroundings and enjoying the wildlife. When the edge of the sea ice is tens of miles north of the Seven Islands (mostly in August) we will spend a second day to get to and in the sea ice. Alternatively (mostly in July) we turn to Sorgfjord where we may find a herd of walrus not far from the graves of 17th century whalers. On a nature walk, we may encounter families of ptarmigans. The opposite side of the fjord is also a beautiful area for an excursion.

  • Meals: BLD
  • Standard Lodging: Noorderlicht, Ortelius, or Rembrandt van Rijn

Day 5 : Continue exploring the northernmost sights

Visiting: Spitsbergen

Today we continue exploring this gorgeous area as ice conditions permit and wildlife viewing justifies.

  • Meals: BLD
  • Standard Lodging: Noorderlicht, Ortelius, or Rembrandt van Rijn

Day 6 : Walrus searching during scenic zodiac cruising, a beautiful coastal walk

Visiting: Spitsbergen

Today we will sail into Hinlopen Strait, home to bearded seal, ringed seal, polar bear, and ivory gull. We will navigate the ice floes of Lomfjordshalvøya in zodiacs and explore the towering bird cliffs of Alkefjellet with thousands of Brünnich’s Guillemot. On the east side of Hinlopen Strait, we will attempt a landing at Augustabukta on Nordaustlandet, home to reindeer, pink-footed goose, breeding ivory gull, and walrus. Near Torrelneset, we will explore the polar desert of Nordaustlandet, next to the world’s third largest ice cap, which meets the sea nearby. We will walk along beautiful coastline covered in smooth rocks, sculpted by the surf over thousands of years. We may encounter walrus along the way.

  • Meals: BLD
  • Standard Lodging: Noorderlicht, Ortelius, or Rembrandt van Rijn

Day 7 : A peek at history, tundra walks and zodiac cruising

Visiting: Spitsbergen

In Freemansundet we plan to land at Sundneset on the island of Barentsøya to visit an old trapper's hut and then take a brisk walk across the tundra in search of Spitsbergen reindeer and barnacle goose. Later we cruise south to Diskobukta on the west side of Edgeøya. After a zodiac cruise through the shallow bay, we land on a beach littered with whale bones and tree trunks, which have drifted here from Siberia. We can also climb to the rim of a narrow gully which is inhabited by thousands of kittiwake, together with black guillemot and piratical glaucous gull. During the breeding season, the base of the cliffs is patrolled by Arctic fox and polar bear, especially females with young cubs, searching for young birds that have fallen from the nesting ledges.

  • Meals: BLD
  • Standard Lodging: Noorderlicht, Ortelius, or Rembrandt van Rijn

Day 8 : Cruising fjords of the spectacular Hornsund area

Visiting: Spitsbergen

We start the day quietly cruising the side fjords of the spectacular Hornsund area of southern Spitsbergen, enjoying the scenery of towering mountain peaks. Hornsundtind rises to 1,431 meters, while Bautaen shows why early Dutch explorers gave the name "Spitsbergen" - pointed mountains - to the island. There are also fourteen magnificent glaciers in the area and very good chances of encounters with seals and polar bear.

  • Meals: BLD
  • Standard Lodging: Noorderlicht, Ortelius, or Rembrandt van Rijn

Day 9 : Histroical site, belugas and reindeer

Visiting: Spitsbergen

Today we land on Ahlstrandhalvøya at the mouth of Van Keulenfjorden. Here piles of beluga whale skeletons, the remains of 19th century slaughter, are a strong reminder of the consequences of thoughtless exploitation. Fortunately, the beluga were not hunted to the edge of extinction and can still be seen in the area. In fact, there is a good chance that we will come across a pod of these ethereal whales, known as the canaries of the sea for their haunting songs. Cruising into Recherchefjorden during the afternoon, we will explore an area of tundra at the head of the fjord where many reindeer feed.

  • Meals: BLD
  • Standard Lodging: Noorderlicht, Ortelius, or Rembrandt van Rijn

Day 10 : Dismbark and depart Longyearbyen

Visiting: Longyearbyen, Norway

Today we will return to Longyearbyen where you will disembark. From the port, we transfer you to the airport for your flight to Oslo and home.

  • Meals: B

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