Polar Bear Quest on board M/S Quest 2013
We visit Svalbard early in the season, when the midnight sun reigns supreme. The bird colonies are teeming with life and the tundra`s flower buds are bursting. Ice still keeps the islands in its grip and we can admire the ever-changing ice formations, while searching for walrus, polar bears and much, much more.
Day 1: Longyearbyen
We arrive in Longyearbyen and transfer to our hotel.
Day 2 – 8: Svalbard
We start our adventure in Svalbard by exploring the High Arctic capital of Longyearbyen. In the afternoon we embark our expedition ship and sail out through the spectacular Ice Fjord. We are now in a part of the world where we are totally dependent on ice and weather conditions. Our exact itinerary depends on these factors and on the wildlife we encounter. Our ambition is to make landings every day with our rigid Zodiac crafts – here are some examples of places we may visit:
Prins Karls Forland
This narrow strip of land is covered by a magnificent, snow-covered mountain chain. The island is home to many seabirds and harbor seals.
On the islands of Danskøya, Amsterdamøya and Ytre Norskøya there are still visible remnants from the bustling activity during the 17th century whaling period. Two of the most courageous attempts to reach the North Pole started on Danskøya. Swedish balloonist Andrée made an attempt with a hydrogen balloon and American journalist Wellman started out with an airship. The site is still littered with interesting remnants from these expeditions.
Svalbard offers the visitor countless spectacular fjords. During our journey we will explore a few of them such as: Liefdefjorden, meaning “the fjord of love”, is lined with snow-covered mountain peaks and at its base we hope to cruise along the face of the spectacular Monaco Glacier. Many common eiders and pink-footed geese nest in the area and if lucky we see the rare king eider. In Krossfjorden we delight in the beautifully sculptured front of the 14th of July Glacier to the raucous greeting of the large numbers of kittiwakes and Brünnich’s guillemots nesting on the nearby cliffs. Raudfjorden is an area of immense natural beauty – dominated by beautiful glaciers it is also a favourite spot for seals and the bird cliffs are bursting with life.
North Spitsbergen and Hinlopen
North of Spitsbergen we may meet the pack ice edge. Not many ships venture here and we can marvel at the silence and grandeur of this icy landscape. Chances of meeting polar bears increase as we sail along the ice floes. If the ice allows we may enter Hinlopen Strait. Here is Alkefjellet, a sheer, basaltic cliff, which is the home to some 200 000 Brünnich’s guillemots.
Day 9: Longyearbyen
Early morning we reach Longyearbyen and begin our journey home.
Please note: Our exact route will depend on ice, weather conditions and wildlife. The places mentioned above are just examples of some of the many sites Svalbard has to offer. We always strive to maximise your experience, but remember that flexibility is the key to a successful expedition!