Svalbard's most remote outpost - Kvitøya
No wind and no swell gave us a rarely seen opportunity. During the night, our journey continued east and just before breakfast we arrived at Svalbard's most remote outpost Kvitøya - the place where the remains of Salomon August Andrée and his two expedition members were found in 1930. By then it had passed 33 years since they left Virgohamna and headed out on their ill-fated expedition with a hydrogen balloon. Last summer, Niklas Nilsson visited this mythical island with our gem M/S Stockholm. Read about his experience!
We had now arrived at Kraemerpynten on the eastern side of Kvitøya - the next mainland in the east is Frans Josef Land in the Russian Arctic. In the mysterious fog, through the binoculars, we looked at the short strip of beach that was not covered by Kvitøya's huge ice cap, and already then we could spot a polar bear. Shortly after breakfast, we stepped into the Zodiac and embarked on a cruise in true expedition style. We didn’t have to wait long before we had an encounter with a large male polar bear that curiously met our gaze in the misty landscape. A bit later, the fog eased and the vast glacier landscape embraced us. On one of the ice floes in front of the glacier was a walrus female feeding her calf, a very unusual and beautiful meeting. We got to see more polar bears when the visibility improved and, in the end, we could count to five polar bears on this remote outpost!
Back on board Stockholm, we enjoyed a delicious lunch prepared by chef Peter. The food is always very good on board Stockholm, and that’s important, because you need to constantly replenish energy when you are on an expedition. You are always on standby to go out on the deck or step into the Zodiac if something exciting appears on the horizon or along the shoreline next to the ship. Between breakfast, lunch and dinner homemade cookies are also offered in the saloon on the upper deck. The saloon is, just like the rest of the ship, decorated with classic wood panels in teak and from the blue sofa and chairs around the beautiful, round table you have a fantastic view of the front deck and the magnificent wilderness that constantly surrounds the ship. The feeling of being a true explorer on a heroic adventure is never far away. And on the bridge upstairs, carrying binoculars around the neck while standing right next to the navigation table, everyone can live out their dreams of exploring these hard-to-reach, but so beautiful places.
The journey continued to the western side of Kvitøya and the historic site Andréenäset. Our plan was to visit the monument that was commemorated by the Andreé expedition in 1897, but with four polar bears in sight, our plans were changed. In addition to polar bears, we were met by groups of walrus who curiously observed our presence.
In the evening, we gathered in the lounge again to enjoy some cheese with a suitable wine. Conversations about our experiences of an expedition day that undoubtedly became extraordinary, almost difficult to process, were held. We now belonged to the small crowd of people who had been fortunate to visit this historic site was exhilarating!
Text & photo: Niklas Nilsson
Niklas NilssonTravel consultant & photographer firstname.lastname@example.org
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.