Lofoten, Bear Island & Svalbard on board M/S Quest 2013
Join us on an expedition cruise along the dramatic coastline and gorgeous fjords of northern Norway, via the legendary Bear Island to the realm of the polar bear: Svalbard. This is a busy time of the year when the sea eagles give birth to their young and the bird cliffs are teeming with tens of thousands of vociferous individuals. Svalbard greets us with glittering ice, snow covered mountain tops, midnight sun and magnificent wildlife.
Day 1: Bodø
We arrive in Bodø, and board the M/S Quest. Once installed in our comfortable cabins, we are welcomed by the guides and crew and get to know our expedition ship. It is time to begin the sea voyage towards the dramatic Lofoten Islands.
Day 2: Lofoten – Nusfjord – Trollfjorden
After breakfast we make a first trip in our sturdy Zodiac crafts around the spectacular island Vedøya with its tens of thousands of nesting sea birds, also often frequented by eagles. We sail along the southern side of Lofoten, a vast collection of rocky islands rising from the sea, towards Nusfjord. This is one of the most preserved and picturesque fishing communities in the area, included on UNESCO’s World Heritage list of unique wooden structures. We go ashore and explore this historic little village with its distinct atmosphere of cod fisheries. We continue our cruise along the Lofoten wall and late in the evening we arrive at the magically beautiful Trollfjorden.
Day 3: Trondenes
We visit the old Viking site made famous by Snorri Sturlason in his Icelandic Saga. We enjoy the wonderful nature and visit a nice little Viking museum. After lunch we head out to sea and set course for Bear Island. After a few hours we reach a good whale watching area that stretches along the continental shelf. During our journey we have good chances to see sperm whales, humpback whales, killer whales and white-beaked dolphins.
Day 4: Barents Sea
Our sea journey to further northern latitudes continues. Interesting lectures on board introduce us to the rich wildlife and fascinating history of the Arctic. Of course, we continue to look for whales.
Day 5: Bear Island
With our solid Zodiacs we explore this fascinating rocky island in the middle of the Barents Sea. One of the largest seabird colonies of the North Atlantic is situated here, on vertical 400-meter cliffs that rise in the distance as we approach.Tens of thousands of guillemots nest here, as well as puffins, razorbills, kittiwakes and glaucous gulls. We continue our journey into the Arctic waters and our next goal is Svalbard, a vast, glaciated archipelago dominated by wild, pointed mountain ranges.
Day 6 – 9: Svalbard
It is early in the season and our route will naturally depend on the weather and ice conditions. These are examples of places we might visit:
Our plan is to explore the island of Edgeøya. There are remnants here of the first Pomors who came to the area in the 1600s. These Russian trappers came here to hunt polar bears, seals and reindeer. Later, Edgeøya became the most important hunting ground of the Norwegian trappers, who came here solely to hunt polar bears. Edgeøya offers a landscape of Arctic tundra, where we have good chances to see walrus, Arctic fox and Svalbard reindeer.
During this time of the year there is often ice in the vast Storfjorden between the islands of Edgeøya and Spitsbergen. We try to get as far north as possible along Spitsbergen’s east coast. We certainly keep our eyes open for polar bears.
Hornsund consists of several magnificent fjords along the west coast of Spitsbergen, where enormous glaciers let go of shimmering blue ice floes. On the southern side of the fjord we pass one of the highest mountains in Svalbard,Hornsundstinden. This is one of the favourite haunts for some of Svalbard’s many polar bears.
At the beautiful Vårsolbukta in Bellsund little auks nest by the tens of thousands. We go ashore and walk across the tundra to take a closer look at the mountain where also barnacle geese and Brünnich’s guillemots are nesting.
At the entrance of Isfjorden is the giant cliff Alkhornet, several hundred meters high. We go ashore to enjoy the beautiful tundra and its birdlife with barnacle geese, Brünnich’s guillemots, glaucous gulls, snow buntings and tens of thousands of kittiwakes. Some Arctic foxes live in the rock crevices around the mountain and with some luck we might see these lovely little animals scurrying around, frantically looking for food.
Day 10: Longyearbyen
Early in the morning we arrive in the high Arctic capital of Longyearbyen. This is where we leave the ship and begin our journey home.
Please note: Our exact route will depend on ice, weather conditions and wildlife. We always strive to maximise your experience. Please keep in mind that flexibility is the key to a successful expedition!