Longyearbyen is the main settlement of the Norwegian Spitsbergen archipelago. This Arctic town is located at 78° north, and is one of the world's northernmost communities. It has approximately 2,000 inhabitants and is a modern town with a wide range of facilities such as a supermarket, outdoor shops, several pubs, and hotels.
Plan to take a Zodiac tour to the sparkling 14th of July Glacier at Krossfjord. Weather permitting, you may land right on the glacier for an unparalleled walking tour.
Explore Victoria Island and its large population of walruses. Naturalists are not the only creatures attracted by these Arctic animals - polar bears visit the area frequently for a "walrus dinner." You can hope to meet them both here while cruising nearby on a Zodiac.
Expect to reach Franz Josef Land archipelago this morning. A landing is planned for Bell Island to visit the house built by the 1881 Lee Smith Expedition.
Continue to learn about the fascinating history of Arctic discoveries during your landing at Cape Flora on Nordbrook Island, first claimed by the Lee Smith Expedition in 1880. The group was forced to winter on this island after their steam yacht, "Aira," was crushed by ice and sank near the coast. Later, the Jackson expedition (1894-1897) dwelled here longer than any other, and made a major contribution to the exploration of the archipelago. Several memorials have been erected on the island to commemorate such daring Arctic explorers. Finally, birders take note, an enormous seabird colony finds its home on the cliffs towering over the southern side of Cape Flora.
Today explore Tikhaya Bay on Hooker Island. There is an imposing cliff in the bay, known as the famous Rubini Rock. The rock is the home to thousands of seabirds, which you can attempt to approach. Caution is key in order to watch kittiwakes and other Arctic birds without disturbing them. Weather permitting, you may go ashore to visit a derelict polar station in the bay.
During the night, your ship sails to Cape Norway on Jackson Island. Between 1895 and 1896, Nansen and Johansen wintered here for over 7 months after a failed attempt to conquer the North Pole.
Your expedition activities on the islands of Stolichky and Appolonov are highly dependent on weather and ice conditions. If you are lucky to have favorable conditions, plan to take a Zodiac trip near the islands. The main attraction of the islands are their walrus rookeries. Your Zodiac drivers do their best to get as close as possible.
Today plan a landing at Cape Heller on Wilczek Land Island. In 1899, two sailors, members of the Welle expedition, wintered there while waiting for a group attempting to conquer the North Pole. As everywhere on Franz Josef Land, this locale is prime for witnessing polar bears and sea mammals.
Placed in the very center of the archipelago, like a diamond in a precious tiara, is the magnificent Champ Island. The landscape here is majestic, featuring cliffs and the island chain's tallest ice-capped mountains. Here, you can also see a truly unique natural wonder: perfectly spherical stones up to 3 meters in diameter, found nowhere else in the world.
At Alger Island, plan to land at the wintering place of the American Arctic expedition headed by A. Baldwin. If the weather is calm, join a Zodiac craft and dodge drifting icebergs in order to admire the view and to take pictures of these majestic giants from sea level.
If time permits, your ship might spend the evening at Cape Tegetthoff, Hall Island. The island sites are impressive and include huge cliffs resembling dorsal fins of gigantic sharks. The remains of the wooden structures built by the Wellman expedition of 1898 add colors to the panorama.
If the weather is on your side today, you can try landing on Kvitoya Island. It is almost completely ice-covered and belongs to the Northeast Svalbard Nature Reserve. On the ice-free parts there are moss beds which can add vibrant color to this often white landscape. Arctic terns and other birds breed here. Polar bears and walrus are also frequent visitors in this area.
If the weather and ice conditions allow, your ship may attempt a landing in the region of Sjuoyane Islands. Here you may visit the island of Rossoya, the northernmost point of Norway.
In the morning, plan to visit Lagoya, a flat island off the northwestern coast of Nordaustland in Svalbard that is covered with glacial moraine and rocks of every size and type. An uninhabited island, Lagoya is perfect for walrus to haul out and rest at its shore. At times they look like a field of rocks.
Also plan landing at Phippsoya in the Seven Islands north of Nordaustlandet. Here you find yourself at 81 degrees north, just 540 miles from the geographic North Pole. The island is named after the English explorer Constantine John Phipps, who commanded two bomb vessels on an expedition to Svalbard in 1773. Polar bear inhabit this region, along with walrus and ivory gull. You may sit for several hours in the pack ice, taking in your spectacular surroundings.
Your adventure ends in the port of Longyearbyen. Disembark after breakfast and transfer to the airport for your flight home.
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NOTE: In case fuel prices significantly increase, a fuel surcharge may be applied for all bookings.