Arrive in Spitsbergen and enjoy a tour of colorful Longyearbyen. Late afternoon sees you warmly welcomed on board Polar Pioneer and enjoying your departure under the Midnight Sun.
Wake to spectacular alpine peaks and glacier valleys of Spitsbergen’s rugged west coast. In Magdalenefjorden Zodiac cruise a safe distance from the aqua-blue ice cliffs of 14th July Glacier or Waggonway Glacier, and take long walks among summer flowers, alert for reindeer and Arctic fox. Thanks to the nutrient-rich Gulf Stream and relatively mild temperatures, Atlantic puffins and guillemots fill the cliffs. Look for bearded seals, with their precious curling whiskers. You may visit the remains of a 350-year-old Dutch whaling settlement on Amsterdam Island and learn of an ill-fated ballooning attempt over the North Pole.
Rounding Spitsbergen’s northwest coast, enter the Arctic Ocean and the world of pack ice. Ghostly beluga whales rise up in open leads and polar bears stalk ringed, bearded, and harp seals. Offshore, walrus feed on clams or haulout on beaches, especially on Moffen Island, a walrus sanctuary. Visit trapper huts and stay alert for reindeer and Arctic fox. Delightful walks reveal delicious berries and some of the tundra’s 164 exquisite flowering plants including purple saxifrage, yellow spider plants, and Svalbard poppies. If ice conditions allow, attempt to cross latitude 80° North before turning south to Woodfjorden.
Attempt to pass through narrow Hinlopen Strait, a channel flanked by austere, cream-colored slopes rich in fossils between Spitsbergen and ice-capped Nordaustlandet. This polar desert is a landscape eroded by severe frost. Even in summer, pack ice could bar the way, but there is much to strive for. Zodiac beneath Alkefjellet, sheer basalt cliffs rising more than 250 meters and literally buzzing with some 200,000 nests of Brunnich’s guillemots. On walks seek eider ducks, Arctic foxes, and elusive Svalbard ptarmigan. As the ship passes Barentsøya and Edgeøya islands, cross polar bear migration routes.
This is true expedition cruising, where plans are dictated by ice conditions and a desire to explore. If pack ice allows, round South Cape, returning to the world of open water and rugged coastal mountains, and sail north toward Hornsund and Bellsund, deep fjords with remarkable glaciers and wildlife. If ice stops the ship's progress on the east side, your captain adjusts the itinerary, backtracking and delving deeper into the wonders of Spitsbergen’s north and west coasts, including a visit to colonies where hundreds of thousands of little auks nest, darkening the sky as they commute to their fishing grounds.
A midnight cruise of Isfjorden returns you to Longyearbyen and the end of your spectacular voyage.
|Triple Shared||Twin Shared||Twin Private||Mini Suite||Suite|
|Kayaking Option: AU$1,025|
Please contact us for current exchange rates.