Polar Bear Quest
Longyearbyen to Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen
Aboard MS Quest, MS Stockholm & Ocean Nova
May - July 9 Days
- *5% Discount on all Polar Bear Quest Departures
Spitsbergen is a remote and spectacular archipelago of immense glaciers, narrow fjords and abundant wildlife. Let our small and comfortable expedition ship M/S Quest take you on a memorable journey into the realm of the polar bear under the midnight sun.
Our goal on this expedition is to explore the spectacular ice-crowned archipelago of Spitsbergen and the surrounding pack ice. In Spitsbergen there are twice as many polar bears and walrus as there are people. The polar bear population is estimated to more than 3 000, and we hope to encounter some of them during this trip. Seabirds, such as guillemots, fulmars and kittiwakes will be our constant companions during the trip. We also look out for puffins and little auks, which nest here in millions. On some of the beaches we meet massive walrus and we often see whales in the waters off Spitsbergen. The tundra flowers are in full bloom and the bird colonies are bustling with life. We probably get to experience our ship sailing through large fields of ice, which is the home of seals and polar bears.
During the trip we learn more about the fascinating polar explorers who travelled here before us. We travel carefully through Spitsbergen`s sensitive environment and have minimal impact on its nature and animals. Photographs and memories are all we bring home and we leave nothing behind. This is ecotourism at its best.
Oslo - Longyearbyen
Arrive in Longyearbyen in the evening and transfer to Radisson SAS Polar Hotel.
We start the week in Spitsbergen by exploring the High Arctic capital of Longyearbyen founded in 1906. We make sure to pay a visit to the excellent Svalbard Museum. Embark the M/S Quest in the afternoon 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 wildlife sightings. The goal is to make several landings each day with our rigid Zodiac craft and here are examples of places we may visit:
Not far from Norwegian Longyearbyen is the Russian enclave Barentsburg, a fascinating coal mining settlement founded in 1932.
Prins Karls Forland
This beautiful island, covered by a magnificent mountain chain, is home to several walrus, seals and seabirds. The M/S Quest is one of very few ships, which can sail through the strait separating the island from mainland Spitsbergen.
In this scientific village the animals completely ignore the humans. Arctic terns nest by the main street and outside the post office, northernmost in the world, we often see wild reindeer grazing. It was from here that Amundsen and Nobile started their heroic expeditions to the North Pole.
Two of the most courageous attempts to reach the North Pole started here. Swedish balloonist Andrée made an attempt with hydrogen balloon and American journalist Wellman started out with airship. The site is still littered with remnants from these expeditions telling their silent tales of the grand ideas of the heroic era.
On Dansköya, Amsterdamöya and Ytre Norsköya there are still visible remnants from the bustling activity during the 17th century whaling period. Many puffins, little auks and guillemots nest in the area.
Liefdefjorden, meaning "the fjord of love", is an area of immense natural beauty. The fjord is lined with snow-covered mountain peaks and in the end lies the spectacular Monaco Glacier. Polar bears have been sighted here.
In beautiful Mossel Bay is Polhem, the world`s northernmost house, where Swedish explorer Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld over-wintered in 1872- 73. We have now left the warm waters of the Golf current behind and may meet the massive packice border. Not many ships venture here and we enjoy the silence and grandeur of this icy landscape. The chances of meeting polar bears increase as we sail along the ice floes.
If the ice allows we may visit Hinlopen Strait. Here is Auk Mountain, a vertical basaltic cliff, which makes out the home for some 200 000 Brunnich`s guillemots. The waters here are especially nutritious, which explains the large quantities of sea birds.
We retrace our route back to Longyearbyen and hope to do a last landing on the lush tundra slopes of the Ice Fjord. Here we find magnificent bird cliffs, spectacular scenery and historic sites.
Longyearbyen - Oslo
Today we reach Longyearbyen and fly to Oslo.