Svalbard has much to offer and many exciting places to visit. To maximise your experience, your Expedition Leader and Captain will make decisions about where to go, based on current ice and weather conditions. Flexibility and patience is vital for any expedition. It is worth keeping in mind that wildlife sightings are not guaranteed, especially with respect to the elusive Polar bear. However, we have never had a voyage where we have not seen a bear.
Day 1 - Longyearbyen Today you will arrive in Longyearbyen and board your expedition ship in the afternoon ready to set sail this afternoon through the spectacular ice fjord. Days 2 to 9 - Northwest Spitsbergen We will explore the Svalbard Archipelago in search of Arctic wildlife. The exact itinerary will depend upon the weather conditions, the density of the pack ice in the north, and wildlife opportunities; as well as the chosen length of your trip. If ice conditions permit, you will circumnavigate stunning Spitsbergen Island. During your safari you can expect to visit ice-filled fjords framed by breath-taking snow-capped peaks; towering bird cliffs with colonies of sea birds numbering in their thousands and see gigantic glaciers crashing into the icy seas. Spend time cruising through the ice in search of polar bears as they hunt for seals which often hitch rides on the passing ice floes. Look out for colonies of walrus basking on the beaches in the Arctic sun and watch for whales in the icy seas. On shore landings, you may come across the Arctic fox, or the Svalbard reindeer with its impressive antlers, and witness the beauty of Svalbard’s flora. There is no set itinerary for this safari but some of the places that you might visit are Prins Karls Fjordland, Krossfjord, Monaco Glacier, Raudjorden, Hinlopen Strait, Hornsund, Edgeoya and Alkefjellet. By not having a fixed itinerary we can ensure that we put you in the right place at the right time to maximise wildlife encounters and overall experience. Day 11 - Longyearbyen We arrive in Longyearbyen, disembark, join our flights south to Oslo and thence home. Photography Leaders: Russell MacLaughlin 'A wildlife filmmaker and photographer by profession, a wildlife conservationist and naturalist at heart. Growing up with an extensive knowledge of fauna and flora, the African wilderness has always been home to Russell. Over the years Russell has filmed numerous documentaries for National Geographic, Animal Planet and various other networks. His images have graced the covers and pages of numerous publications, an award-winning photographer but always out in the field, especially when it comes down to conservation and the protection of our natural world, which has led to his involvement and work with rhinos in a documentary being nominated for an Emmy.' Shannon Benson 'Shannon Benson aka Shannon Wild is an Australian wildlife photographer, author and presenter based in South Africa. She is an official contributing photographer and cinematographer to WILDAID and an ambassador for various conservation organisations. Shannon has worked as a professional photographer for over 12 years and her award-winning images have been exhibited around the world including Paris, New York and LA. Her knack for bringing out the best in her animal subjects is clear in her images and her desire for technical excellence shines in her work while maintaining a sense of spontaneity and freedom.
The M/S Freya was built in 1981 in the Åsiverken shipyard in Amal as a lighthouse building vessel. Since then it has been used by the Swedish Coast Guard for environmental protection purposes; as a research ship by the University of Umeå; and has also spent time as a diving vessel. There are four twin cabins with two lower berths and a private bathroom. These cabins have an optional upper berth which can also be used as triples. There are a further two twin cabins with upper and lower berths and a private bathroom. As well as a fully stocked bar, guests will have the added luxury of a sauna to relax in after a long days searching for polar bears in the icy seas of the Svalbard Archipelago.