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Discover the secrets of magical Svalbard, deeply exploring magnificent fjords abundant with wildlife. Zodiac cruise past enormous glaciers, spot beluga whales surfacing in the crystalline waters and witness thousands of guillemots nesting in dramatic cliff faces. Enter the pack ice to spot seals and the iconic polar bear. Walk through the tundra’s beautiful microflora, keeping watch for reindeer and arctic fox, and discover long-lost exploration camps and old trapper huts.
Days 1 - 3: Longyearbyen
Days 4 & 5: Magdalenefjorden
Days 5 - 7: Moffen Island & Woodfjorden
Days 8 & 9: Hinlopen Strait, Barentsøya and Edgeøya islands
Days 10 & 11: Hornsund & Bellsund Fjords *
Day 12: Longyearbyen to UK
Fly from London to Oslo and overnight in the city
You will arrive in the Northernmost city in the world and have some time to explore the city before boarding the ship
Your adventure begins with a guided tour to explore the world’s most northerly town, Longyearbyen. Later in the afternoon, you will board the ship with a warm welcome from the expedition team.
Awake to discover a mythical world of soaring mountainous peaks and deep glaciated valleys in Spitsbergen’s west coast. The Captain and expedition team will create a unique adventure based on local weather and ice conditions but aim to Zodiac cruise around Magdalenefjorden and the surrounding fjords, with their massive glaciers gliding into the crystal-clear sea. The surrounding cliffs are coated with guillemots and Atlantic puffins, and you keep watch for inquisitive bearded seals. Conditions permitting, there may be an opportunity to discover 17th-century historic whaling sites and explorer camps, and to learn the fascinating account of S.A. Andree’s 19th century ill-fated mission to reach the North Pole in a hydrogen balloon.
The ship will voyage around the northwest coast of Spitsbergen, entering the Arctic Ocean and pack ice. This provides an opportunity to potentially spot ringed, harp and bearded seals being hunted by polar bear, and even see beluga whales. Aboard Zodiacs, you may spot walruses hidden on secluded beaches, particularly around Moffen Island. Onshore, you can enjoy walks through the Arctic tundra, discovering over 150 flowering plants and trapper huts, keeping watch for reindeer and Arctic fox. Ice conditions permitting, the expedition will attempt to cross the polar geographic milestone of latitude 80° north.
The Captain will aim to navigate through the breathtakingly scenic Hunlopen Strait, subject to oceanic current and ice conditions. You will Zodiac cruise at the amazing seabird nesting cliffs of Alkefjellet. The mystic basalt cliffs are home to 200,000 nests of Brunnich’s guillemots, a real sight to behold. The crew aim to make as many landings as possible, potentially at Barentsøya and Edgeøya islands seeking Arctic fox, eider ducks and the endemic Svalbard ptarmigan. This fascinating region of Svalbard is known for being the migratory route for the majestic polar bear, which you may see.
In the spirit of true expedition, ice conditions permitting, you will pass the South Cape and head towards Hornsund and Bellsund with incredible glaciers and wildlife including arctic fox, walrus and Svalbard reindeer, and sea cliffs adorned with birdlife. As ice can prevent the passage, the ship will alternatively adjust its course and discover other outstanding exploratory sites around Spitsbergen.
A cruise through beautiful Isfjorden en-route back to Longyearbyen creates the perfect finale to your voyage. You say a fond farewell to your newfound friends and expedition family and disembark the ship ready for your onwards adventures.
(*On 2nd July 2020 itinerary you depart Svalbard on Day 9, crossing the Barents Sea arriving into Kirkenes on the morning of Day 11)
You will fly home, *Please note you may require a night in Kirkenes / Oslo post-cruise depending on flight schedules*Please note you may require a night in Kirkenes / Oslo post-cruise depending on flight schedules
The Greg Mortimer is named after the Australian polar explorer, mountaineer and Aurora founder, Greg Mortimer. Its the first ship in a series of landmark, purpose-built Polar Expedition ships for Aurora and features a state-of-the-art 'x-bow design', which has a piercing effect on smaller waves, making for a much smoother voyage.
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