Summer in the Arctic with M/S Stockholm
Our guides are blogging from our ships in the Arctic, and this time can you read more about the fantastic adventures our travellers get to experience on the small and popular ship M/S Stockholm.
Saturday June 24th - Fuglefjorden, Raudfjorden & the pack ice
What a wonderful day we had! It contained almost all the fine treats Svalbard has to offer. Already during breakfast we were able to enjoy amazing views as we sailed through Sørgattet; the narrow strait that make the entrance to Spetsbergen's north wester corner. At Svitjodbreen we put the Zodiac in the water and made a cruise, passing by several glaciers. We spotted the king eider, and some of us even managed to get caught in the ice, and M/S Stockholm had to make some rescue work.
Just after our wonderful midsummer lunch with herring and Swedish "nubbe" we drove into the pack ice. The sun was still shining and there was barely no wind at all as we ventured further and further into the ice sheet. Here we saw several fascinating animals; minke whale, walrus and last but not least - the king of the Arctic. A polar bear, who just had caught a seal which it protectively looked after between its naps. A lovely sight! After a while, we turned off the engine and drifted peacefully amongst the ice durin night time.
Sunday 25 June - The pack ice, Virgohamna & Smeerenburg
The sun was still shining radiant as we woke up amongst the pack ice, and we took the chance to make a brief excursion with our Zodiac. We even managed to step ashore on an ice floe where we conducted a ”democratic” snowball war in true PolarQuest spirit. The ones who felt brave enough threw themselves into the freezing water – the polar plunge was on! After lunch we took another last turn amongst the ice, before leaving it behind for good. The evening landing took place at the exciting site of Virgohamna, known as the starting point for Swedish balloonist Andrée’s fatal attempt to reach the North Pole. In the warm light of the evening sun we also went to Smeerenurg, a place with lots of historical remains from the early days of whale hunt, and a group of charismatic walruses. While some in the group chose to stay with the walruses, the rest of the group went for a walk and got to have a really close look at the birds nesting this far northward; red throated-loons, aggressive Arctic terns (maybe a bit too close?) and brünnich’s guillemots. During night time we headed south after have passes the narrow Sørgattet once more.
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 53 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.