Longyearbyen Wildlife Safari


DESTINATION: Norway, Spitsbergen
Wildlife sanctuary: Longyearbyen

 Day 01: Arrive in Longyearbyen, the administrative capital of Spitsbergen. Explore the former mining town, and visit the parish church and Polar Museum. Consider a visit to the Svalbard Museum for insights into Spitsbergen’s history, mining industry, and polar exploration. In the early evening, the ship will sail out of Isfjorden.

Day 02: Sail to Raudfjord on the north coast of West Spitsbergen, known for glaciers, seals, seabird colonies, and rich vegetation. Keep a lookout for Polar Bears in the area.

Day 03: Weather permitting, sail to the mouth of Liefdefjorden, and go ashore on Andøya for a tundra walk. Look for nesting Common Eider and Pink-footed Goose, with a chance to spot the rare King Eider. Cruise into Liefdefjorden near the impressive Monaco Glacier, a feeding spot for Kittiwakes. Polar Bears have been seen on the glacier in previous voyages.

Day 04: Search for Bearded and Ringed Seals, Polar Bears, and Ivory Gulls around the ice at the entrance to the Hinlopen Strait. Navigate Lomfjordshalvøya’s ice floes in rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) and explore the bird cliffs of Alkefjellet, home to thousands of Brünnich’s Guillemots. On the eastern side of Hinlopen Straits, possibly land at Palanderbukta on Nordaustlandet, known for Reindeer, Pink-footed Goose, breeding Ivory Gulls, and Walrus.

Day 05: Morning landing at Laagoya, a potential haulout site for Walruses. Reach the northernmost point at Phippsøya, in the Seven Islands north of Nordaustlandet, at 81 degrees north, just 540 miles from the North Pole. Hope to encounter Polar Bears and Ivory Gulls. Spend several hours in the pack ice environment, enjoying the Arctic landscape and wildlife, before turning west.

Day 06: Retrace route westwards through pack ice, watching for Polar Bears and Marine Life. Sail along the edge of the continental shelf approximately 100 nautical miles west of Spitsbergen, known for Fin Whale foraging during the summer months.

Day 07: Hope to land at the northern tip of Prins Karls Forland near Fuglehuken, associated with Barentsz’s first landing on Spitsbergen. Observe seabirds nesting on cliffs, potential sightings of Harbour Seals along the coast, and remains of the Polar Bear hunting era. Sarstangen, on the opposite side of Forlandsundet, is a frequent Walrus haulout site. Alternatively, sail into St. Johns Fjord or south to the mouth of Isfjorden, landing at Alkhornet with seabirds and Arctic Foxes. Return to Longyearbyen during the night.

Day 08: Return to Longyearbyen, disembark, transfer to the airport for the flight to Oslo, and onward journey home. This itinerary is based on the 1A Lloyd’s ice-rated Ortelius, capable of navigating through ice and waiting at its edge for polar bear sightings. Early season voyages led by polar bear expert Rinie Van Meurs.

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