Departing from Oslo, fly to Longyearbyen and embark the Silver Explorer for your exciting 15-day expedition – Svalbard & Scoresby Sund. You will be introduced to your Expedition Team and attend a Zodiac briefing as well as an Arctic regulations refresher course that outlines the environmental policies we must all adhere to in order to enjoy the privilege of visiting this pristine region at the top of the world. Tonight you are invited to familiarize yourself with the elegant Silver Explorer, meet some of your fellow travelers and enjoy the first of many memorable meals in The Restaurant.
An expansive Arctic Ocean archipelago woven between the North Pole and Norway, Svalbard is one of the last major European wilderness areas with pristine mountains, fauna, deep fjords, picturesque icebergs, and massive ice sheets. The goal is to explore Svalbard’s breathtaking and dramatic Spitsbergen Island. Llocate wildlife and spend the maximum amount of time possible walking on the tundra. Svalbard is home to approximately 3,000 polar bears and you can hope to encounter a good number of them during your trip. Travel along the same routes as famous polar explorers such as Andrée, Nordenskiöld, Amundsen and Nobile. Visit walrus haul-outs, get to see the indigenous reindeer, and maybe even spot the Arctic fox or bearded seal. Seabirds, such as ivory gulls, auks and puffins, will be your constant companions as you admire their playfulness and grace. You might even encounter a few whales. A variety of known species frequent the area, in particular Minke and beluga. A flexible itinerary allows your team to take advantage of favorable ice and weather conditions. Whether cruising by Zodiac amongst floating icebergs or heading ashore for a guided walk, your adventures will bring you up close to mystical settings. Each day your Expedition Leader and Captain will determine the best course depending on changing weather, ice conditions and the wildlife encountered. Here are a few of the places you can hope to visit: • Hornsund – This is the southernmost fjord on the rugged west coast of Spitsbergen Island. Jagged mountain peaks tower above glacier-filled bays. Listen for the crash of white thunder as huge chunks of ice fall into the fjord. Amidst these floating icebergs, watch for bearded seals, the rare beluga whale and the king of the Arctic – the polar bear. Sightings are fairly common as the polar bear’s favorite food, the ringed seal, breeds in the fjord. The surrounding bird cliffs are home to thousands of pairs of nesting little auks. You may visit the Polish research station or the remains of whaling stations and trappers’ huts. • Bellsund – About 50 miles (80 kilometres) into Spitsbergen is the more than 12-mile wide Bellsund. At the entrance of the fjord, you are likely to encounter some common eiders, Arctic terns and Arctic skuas. Snow bunting and purple sandpipers are also common in the area. The plan is to explore the seldom-visited Van Keulenfjord, where you will witness awe-inspiring landscapes while trekking along the tundra. • Prins Karls Forland – Off the west coast of Spitsbergen, encounter the island home of Forland National Park with cragged mountains, massive glaciers and remarkable wildlife. The entire island and the surrounding seas make up Forland National Park. Members of the Expedition Team take you ashore at Poolypnten, a well-known walrus haul out, where your marine biologist explains the habits and habitat of these amazing creatures. • Ice Cruising – With the strengthened hull of the Silver Explorer, have the perfect platform to search for walrus and polar bears as your crew devotes at least one day to exploring the pack ice north of Spitsbergen. Conditions permitting, our Expedition Leader may choose to take you out in the Zodiacs for an even closer look.
Knowledgeable Lecture Staff members are experts in a variety of scientific fields. Gather in The Theater to hear their fascinating tales of adventure and to learn more about the region’s endemic wildlife and remarkable nature. Other on board diversions include spa treatments, a workout in the Fitness Center, and, of course, exquisite dining experiences.
Scoresby Sund is named for the Arctic explorer and whaler William Scoresby who charted the region in 1822, an impressive undertaking considering the vastness of the area. Have three full days to explore the largest and longest fjord in the world, and your days will indeed be full – filled with discoveries of spectacular icebergs and fascinating wildlife. Your onboard ornithologist will point out a variety of bird species. Watch for pink-footed geese and whooper swans as well as ducks, guillemot, auk, puffin, fulmar, kittiwake and tern. Together experience the best of the region. Plans may include a cruise by Zodiac along the coastline to look for polar bear and musk ox, and a landing at Danmarksø to see the excellently preserved remains of an Inuit settlement, abandoned about 200 years ago. If you are very, very lucky, you may be able to add lemmings and narwhals to your growing list of animal and bird species seen on this voyage.
As you make your way toward Iceland, head out on deck to watch for seabirds and whales. When not attending an informative lecture, recapping Scoresby Sund or preparing you for Iceland, take some time to peruse the well-stocked Library, enjoy a fine cognac in the Connoisseur’s Corner or indulge in any of the other special amenities offered aboard ship. During the afternoon you will have the opportunity to see the Voyage DVD which our on-board photographer/videographer has prepared, registering our adventures in “Svalbard& Scoresby Sund”.
Following breakfast, disembark Silver Explorer.
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