spitsbergen

Spitsbergen Explorer

Longyearbyen to Longyearbean

10 days/9 nights

Spitsbergen Encounter Map

12 days/11 nights

Spitsbergen Explorer 2017

Overview

Spitsbergen and the Svalbard archipelago offer a tremendous wildlife and birdlife experience, as well as a fascinating lesson in glaciology. The islands are the northernmost inhabited places on the planet and would be permanently locked in ice if not for the moderating influence of the Atlantic Gulf Stream current.

9 nights

Day 1 – Longyearbyen, Svalbard

Today we embark our expedition ship, the Akademik Ioffe in Longyearbyen and as we throw the lines, we sail during the early evening. With almost 24 hours of daylight at this time of the year, we enjoy the views from the outer decks of the ship as we depart. We meet our fellow passengers and the expedition team during an introductory briefing and enjoy a welcome dinner as we set sail.

Day 2 – Bourbonhamna

Beluga whales are frequently seen as they transit the narrow sound near Bourbonhamna. On our shore excursion, an old hunting cabin and other artefacts are points of interest during our scenic hike to Ingebrigstenbukta. However, it is the massive piles of beluga whalebones that catch everybody’s attention. While wandering on shore we hope to catch a glimpse of dozens of reindeer that inhabit the area.

Day 3 – Lillihook Glacier and Krossfjorden

Lilliehook Glacier, at the head of the northwestern arm of Krossfjorden is an incredible sight. The glacier face stretches almost seven kilometres and has a height of around 80-meters. As we cruise the dark waters, we are always on the lookout for bearded and ringed seals, both species known to frequent this fjord.

Day 4 – Liefdefjorden and Monacobreen

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 that come here to hunt for ringed seals or feed on bird’s eggs.

Day 5 – Phippsoya – Northernmost Point

Phippsoya is just 540 nautical miles from the North Pole. Because of its proximity to the permanent Arctic ice pack, Phippsoya offers the potential for great polar bear viewings. Be sure to get up to the ship’s bridge and take a picture of the GPS showing your latitude or, better yet, take your own handheld GPS with you and mark in the waypoint as we are so close to the North Pole!

Days 6 & 7 – Hinlopen Strait and Nordaustlandet

From the ice edge we enter the main channel separating Svalbard’s two main islands. Nearby Murchison Fjord is a wonderful place to kayak or zodiac cruise between the islands. There are some excellent hiking routes here, affording us breathtaking views.

Day 8 – Fuglesangen and Smeerenburg

As your zodiac approaches the shore of Fuglesangenoya, it becomes apparent there are thousands of birds nesting on this island. Just a few miles from Fuglesangen is the old whaling station of Smeerenburg, literally translated as ‘Blubber Town’. As we hike the shoreline of the old station, we learn about the importance of whaling in the discovery and exploration of the Svalbard archipelago.

Day 9 – Poole Pynten, Prins Karls Forland

The sight and sound of a walrus haul-out spells Arctic like nothing else can. We visit the walrus colony on Prince Charles Island and hope to see these odd looking animals ashore. Tonight we celebrate our journey with a special dinner attended by the ship’s Captain. It’s a great time to reflect on a wonderful voyage in this wild and remote place.

Day 10 – Longyearbyen, Svalbard

Arriving back into Longyearbyen this morning, we disembark after breakfast and say farewell to our expedition team and fellow passengers. A transfer into town is provided for those choosing to stay a few days. If you are departing today, we have a few hours this morning to explore the town, before transferring to the airport for your onward flight to Tromso or Oslo.

 

11 nights

Day 1 – Longyearbyen, Svalbard

Today we embark our expedition ship, the Akademik Ioffe in Longyearbyen and, as we throw the lines, we sail out  during the early evening. With almost 24 hours of daylight at this time of the year, we enjoy the views from the outer decks of the ship as we depart. We meet our expedition team during an introductory briefing and then enjoy a welcome dinner in the ships comfortable dining room. Entering the vast expanse of the Greenland Sea, our ship heads south, hugging the main island of Spitsbergen to our port side (left).

Day 2 – Bourbonhamna

We arrive at the southerly Bourbonhamna – well known for the beluga whales that transit the narrow sound. We search for belugas from the ship and while zodiac cruising and then plan our first shore excursion at Bourbonhamna. An old hunting cabin and other artefacts are points of interest during our hike to Ingebrigstenbukta. However, it is the massive piles of beluga whalebones that catch everybody’s attention. While wandering amongst these relics we hope to catch a glimpse of dozens of reindeer that inhabit the area.

Day 3 – Kapp Lee

Exploring Dolerittneset near Kapp Lee, the lush vegetation of this region is remarkable given the fact we are at 70° North in latitude. This area has a large scattering of reindeer antlers; however, it is the plethora of ancient whalebones that makes the excursion so memorable. Some 400 years ago, whales were hunted almost to extinction in the waters surrounding Svalbard. Now nature has turned the decaying old bones into items of beauty.

Day 4 – Hornsund

Returning to the west coast, glacier-filled bays surround us as we sail the ship into Hornsund. With good ice conditions, we are able to navigate close to the glaciers that are a feature of the area. The entire archipelago of Svalbard is a giant lesson in glaciology and our onboard guides will use our hikes and zodiac cruises to explain the formation of this fantastic landscape.

Days 5 & 6 – Krossfjorden and Northwestern Spitsbergen

The rocky shores of Krossfjorden are home to numerous bird colonies and a range of species. Nearby, Smeerenburgfjorden has a four hundred year history of whaling and is a favorite spot as we round the northwestern tip of Spitsbergen. A wander along the beach looking at the blubber cookers, or an hour behind a tripod shooting landscapes on your camera might be on the schedule, all the while looking for wildlife that can appear anywhere in Svalbard.

Days 7 & 8 – Polar Pack Ice, Phippsoya and the Seven Islands

As we approach the ice edge the ship slows down and all hands are either on the bridge or out on the outer decks as we start scanning for wildlife. At 81° degrees north latitude, Phippsoya – one of the Seven Islands – is only 540 nautical miles from the North Pole. Because of its proximity to the permanent pack ice, Phippsoya offers the potential for great polar bear viewings.

Day 9 – Hinlopen Strait and Nordaustlandet

From the ice edge we turn south into the main strait separating Svalbard’s two main islands: Spitsbergen and Nordaustlandet. Nearby Murchison Fjord is a wonderful place to kayak or cruise as we navigate the waterways between the islands. There are some excellent hiking routes here which take us up to high points affording staggering views and further opportunities to encounter Arctic wildlife.

Day 10 – Leifdefjorden and Monacobreen (Monaco Glacier)

Entering Leifdefjorden we slowly cruise towards the Monaco Glacier. This vast sweep of ice more than seven kilometers wide provides a fabulous backdrop for a zodiac cruise. A morning of cruising in the ice is best followed by a hike on the tundra. Red phalaropes, purple sandpipers and vibrant tundra provide plenty of viewing and photography opportunities.

Day 11 – Alkehornet

Alkehornet, at the mouth of Isfjord, offers breathtaking views and an incredible tundra walk as we near the end of our adventure in Svalbard. Arctic fox can often be seen here, as well as reindeer. Only as we approach and stop to listen will we hear the chorus of thousands of birds, all singing at the same time. This evening we celebrate our journey with a special dinner attended by the ship’s Captain.

Day 12 – Longyearbyen, Svalbard

Arriving back into Longyearbyen this morning, we disembark after breakfast and say farewell to our expedition team and fellow passengers. A transfer into town is provided for those choosing to stay a few days. If you are departing today, we have a few hours this morning to explore the town, before transferring to the airport for your onward flight to Tromso or Oslo.

 

 Activities

Sea Kayaking

We are very proud to offer one of the best sea kayaking programs ever!!! Whether you are an experienced kayaker or you want to try it for the first time, this activity will allow you to enjoy another side of this magnificent destination.

Price per person: U$S 695

Read more about Sea Kayaking in the Polar Regions

Whale Watching

In the Polar Regions the sun shines 24/7 allowing krill and other crustaceans to grow in abundance. Whales take full advantage of this feast before the “big freeze” forces them to head to the Tropics. Humpbacks float along our zodiacs, Orcas set the heart racing and the curious minke whales never fail to delight.  And ‘don’t rule out seeing Blue whales or the less common beaked whales!

Read more about Whale watching

Hiking

Where possible we tailor the options to offer our contemplative walk (for those wanting to stay close to shore and not hike up slope), our mid range hike and our longer hikes. The longer hikes can range from two to three hours in duration, and may involve challenging terrain without the assistance of trails.  If you are unsure about your ability to participate in any activity, please discuss your concerns with our hiking guide and opt for the most suitable option.  There are always options for shorter walks, often up to excellent viewpoints, or along a beach.

Read more about Hiking in the Polar Regions 

 

Dates & Prices

DatesNightsAdventure OptionsVesselPrices from
19 Jun 2018
28 Jun 2018
9
Sea KayakingWalking / HikingExpedition PhotographyWhale WatchingAkademik Vavilov

$5,695

28 Jun 2018
07 Jul 2018
9
Sea KayakingWalking / HikingWhale WatchingAkademik Vavilov

$5,695

07 Jul 2018
18 Jul 2018
11
Sea KayakingWalking / HikingExpedition PhotographyWhale WatchingAkademik Vavilov

$7,795


 

inclusions

Included in the price of this voyage:

– Itinerary/pre-departure information

– Extensive program of relevant educational presentations

– Advice from experienced team of naturalists and resident photographer

– All Zodiac excursions

– On board Welcome Reception and Welcome Dinner as well as Farewell Dinner (hosted by our Captain)

– All meals during the voyage prepared by onboard professional chefs. Afternoon tea with fresh snacks each afternoon. Coffee, tea, hot chocolate throughout the day (24/7)

– Onboard medical officer

– All activities offered on board (except kayaking).

– Use of multimedia station to download and process your photos.

– Transfers from the meeting point to the ship and from the ship to the meeting point or airport on the last day of the cruise.

Not included in the price of this voyage:

– International, Domestic or Charter airfares

– Visa and passport fees, airport departure taxes

– Pre-cruise or post-cruise hotel accommodation, meals, transfers in arrival/departure cities (unless otherwise stated in your invoice)

– Personal laundry charges and personal expenses while on board (Postage, telephone calls, drinks, medical expenses)

– Trip interruption / cancellation insurance

– Travel medical insurance including medical evacuation (mandatory)

– Gratuities to staff and crew

Polar Gear

Should you wish to simplify packing, we are proud to offer a full complement of  outdoor expedition gear for you on board.

Free of charge foul weather gear package including jacket, bib pants and wellington boots. The package also includes roll-top waterproof knapsacks, Bushnell® or Nikon binoculars and walking poles to use during the voyage.

Wellness Program

We have a Wellness program on the ship which includes a gym, sauna, hot tub, massage room and plunge pool for icy dips if you so wish! Early morning stretching and yoga sessions followed by healthy breakfast are a great way to start your expedition day.

Proof of our Polar Commitment

When traveling with Ice Tracks Expeditions, you will discover how much we care about the places and people we visit. We demonstrate this by finding ways to give back as well as taking away so many incredible memories.

Read more about our Giving Back Program.

Family Friendly Voyage:

Both departures will incorporate “hands on” activities in the field, with binoculars and journals provided specially for youngsters. They wil be able to use a mini lab in which specimens can be viewed under a microscope, plus a programe of social events including movie night and popcorn, games night and on-deck identification of wildlife.

Also, the staff organising the presentations will have versions of their talks on wildlife, photography and history designed for a young audience with the aim of stimulating and engaging them in the wonders of the Polar Regions.