The calm of the wild Arctic
If I had to choose one word to describe this trip, it would be calm. The weather of course helped as we were blessed with mirror-like seas every day. The feeling of calm was transmitted to the guests. Most of them were initially strangers to each other, but when the ship went into port, they disembarked as friends.
Some guests had travelled with me before, to Svalbard, Greenland and Antarctica/South Georgia - real polar enthusiasts! But every trip to the high latitudes is unique, no matter how many times you travel here.
We left Longyearbyen and went straight to Poolepynten where we saw a large walrus colony. We arrived around midnight to see the animals piled in a thermal heap to quicken their annual moult.
Because it was midsummer, it was a bit difficult to balance night and day. But the light between 9 PM and 5 AM this time of year is creamy and gives the best photos, almost making it worth turning the clock.
The next morning we had clear blue skies and no wind which lasted for the entire trip. This was a great joy for everyone on board, both crew and guests, as it meant we could just enjoy Svalbard and all she had to offer.
Heading north, we went in search of ice. We stopped at some places that only a small ship like M/S Sjøveien can reach. A couple of hundred walruses scratched and burped in the early morning sun - while the Zodiacs drifted by quietly so as not to disturb the animals.
We were fortunate to be the only ship at all of our sites for the trip. Watching a mother and a young female bear feeding on a seal in Sallyhamna was spectacular.
On the journey back to Longyearbyen we saw several beluga whales and in perfect conditions we enjoyed the longest day of the year.
Please note: We always follow strict wildlife guidelines to ensure that we do not cause any disturbance.
Gerard BakerGuide and Expedition Leader
Since 1999, we have taken travellers on once-in-a-lifetime trips to Svalbard. From May to September our three small expedition ships, carrying only 12 and 50 passengers, explore this magnificent Arctic archipelago. Unpredictability and flexibility are the main keywords when you travel with PolarQuest as the exact route depends on weather, ice conditions and wildlife encounters. Sometimes you might be woken up in the middle of the night if a polar bear has been spotted on the ice.