What’s the best thing about Svalbard?
The best thing is that it’s so incredible beautiful! The nature, the wildlife and the flowers. There is truly something special about the Arctic wilderness: the fresh air, the purity, the light, the white snow, all the shades in the ice and the contrasting mountains and lichens… The list goes on.
What made you want to return another time?
The close encounters with polar bears and other wild animals. Polar bears are such mighty creatures! Imagine that they are agile enough to jump between ice floes despite their size and in addition to that can drag themselves out of the water, wearing that heavy, wet coat of fur. I especially remember one encounter from my trip this summer, when one bear stood up on its hind legs to spy on us, standing on deck. He was even coming close enough to smell on the ship, and swam back and forth a few times underneath it. It meant some running for us for sure, from starboard to portside, and the cameras were clicking.
What was it that made you curious about Svalbard in the first place?
I don’t remember for sure but I’ve seen nature shows about our polar regions for many, many years and I’ve always found it fascinating with all these survivors that dare wind, cold, permafrost… The flowers in particular! How they manage to reach the light and shine so bright in the otherwise very barren landscape is amazing!
What did you think of M/S Stockholm?
It’s a very beautiful and charming ship! Especially on the inside but also on the outside. The low number of passengers makes everything smooth and easy, and decisions can be made quickly when something exciting is happening. The Zodiacs can be launched in a very short time and all the passengers can come along at the same time. The whole trip felt very familiar – everybody did their best to make our experience as good as possible, both the amazing guides and the lovely crew on board. The guides have so much knowledge and always wanted to share it with us, no question was too stupid or needless. They offered lectures about geology, polar history, birds, flowers and mammals. The Captain and his crew took us to the most spectacular places; nothing was too difficult or too backbreaking.
The food was fantastic – breakfast, lunch, three course dinner and fika in between. Always freshly baked bread and cakes, and the cabins were tided every day too.
Do you feel like there is more to explore of Svalbard?
Yes, I definitely think so! It would probably be a totally different experience to travel earlier during the season. I would love to see the Northern Lights for example!
Please find some pictures by Karin from her trip this summer below.