Join Adam Jones on an exclusive Photo Quest to photograph Polar Bears in Svalbard!
Unforgettable and remote, Svalbard is one of the last wild places in the world. Witness the spectacle of polar bears up-close as they hunt seals on pack ice, shepherd cubs along the beach, or swim near our Zodiacs. A small, comfortable ship makes it possible to cruise close to shore and enter small fjords.
The High Arctic is best explored in August, as the pack ice recedes. From the deck there's a lot to photograph. Polar bears, walrus, seals, and even Arctic foxes haunt the ice edge, while millions of seabirds breed and raise their young on ledges and barren islands. Remote villages, icebergs and magnificent scenery and historic sites make for unforgettable PhotoQuest.
Receive first class photo instruction from Adam Jones to help you create remarkable landscape and wildlife images. Whether you are an adventurer or a photographer, join us for a once-in-a-lifetime experience with the majestic polar bear. This Photo Quest is perfect for spouses as well.
All images © Oceanwide Expeditions
Chances to encounter walruses, Arctic fox and Svalbard reindeer
Svalbard offers countless spectacular fjords and beautiful glaciers
Ice strengthened vessel proved to be ideal for exploration in remote regions
Small expedition vessel with only 100 passengers offers an intimate friendly atmosphere
Flexibility to take advantage of wildlife opportunities by using zodiacs
Small ships can’t sail in the sea-ice, where most of the bears are therefore this vessel is ideal for photographers
August 1: Arrive in Longyearbyen (LYR), Norway
Arrive in Longyearbyen, the administrative capital of the Spitsbergen archipelago. Before embarking there is an opportunity to stroll around this former mining town, whose parish church and Polar Museum are well worth visiting. Embarkation: Longyearbyen, between 16.00 and 17.00 hrs on August 1, 2018.
August 2: Krossfjorden
Heading north along the west coast, we arrive by in Krossfjorden, where we board the Zodiacs for a cruise along the sculpted front of the 14th of July Glacier. On the green slopes near the glacier, a variety of flowers bloom, and large numbers of Kittiwake and Brünnich’s Guillemot nest on the nearby cliffs. There is a good chance of spotting Arctic Fox, who patrol the base of the cliffs, or Bearded Seal.
In the afternoon we sail to Ny Ålesund, the world’s most northerly settlement. Close to the village is a breeding ground for Barnacle Goose, Pink-footed Goose and Arctic Tern. Visitors interested in the history of Arctic exploration will want to walk to the anchoring mast used by Amundsen and Nobile before their flights to the North Pole.
August 3: The Massive Monaco Glacier
Near the mouth of Liefdefjorden, you step ashore for a walk across the tundra of Reindyrsflya. You may also sail into the fjord and cruise within sight of the 5-kilometer-long (3.1 miles) face of the precipitous Monaco Glacier. The waters in front of this glacier are a favorite feeding spot for thousands of kittiwakes, and the base of the ice is a popular polar bear hunting ground. If ice conditions prevent sailing here early in the season, an alternate route along the west coast of Spitsbergen can be implemented.
August 4-5: Stop at the Seven Islands
The northernmost point of your voyage may be north of Nordaustlandet, in the Seven Islands. Here you reach 80° north, just 540 miles from the geographic North Pole. Polar bears inhabit this region, so the ship may park for several hours among the pack ice to watch for them. When the edge of this sea ice is tens of miles north of the Seven Islands (mostly in August), you can spend a second day in this area. Alternatively you may turn to Sorgfjord, where you have the chance to find a herd of walruses not far from the graves of 17th century whalers. A nature walk here can bring you close to families of ptarmigans, and the opposite side of the fjord is also a beautiful area for an excursion.
August 6: Hinlopen Highlights
Today you sail into Hinlopen Strait, home to bearded and ringed seals as well as polar bears. At the entrance there is even the possibility to spot blue whales. As with Liefdefjorden, you can take an alternate west Spitsbergen route if ice prevents entry into Hinlopen. After cruising among the ice floes of Lomfjordshalvøya in the Zodiacs, you then view the bird cliffs of Alkefjellet with their thousands of Brünnich’s guillemots. On the east side of Hinlopen Strait, you may attempt a landing where reindeer, pink-footed geese, and walruses are likely sights. Near Torrelneset you can also visit the polar desert of Nordaustlandet, next to the world’s third-largest ice cap. Here you may encounter walruses during a coastline hike over the area’s raised beaches
Day 7: The Bounties of Barentsøya
The plan is to make landings in Freemansundet, though polar bears sometimes make this impossible. Potential stops on Barentsøya include Sundneset (for an old trapper’s hut), Kapp Waldburg (for its kittiwake colony), and Rindedalen (for a walk across the tundra). You might also cruise south to Diskobukta, though Kapp Lee is more likely your destination. On Kapp Lee is a walrus haul-out, Pomor ruins, and the chance for hikes along Edgeøya.
August 8: Land of the Pointed Mountains
You start the day by cruising the side fjords of the Hornsund area of southern Spitsbergen, taking in the spire-like peaks: Hornsundtind rises 1,431 meters (4,695 feet), and Bautaen is a perfect illustration of why early Dutch explorers named this island Spitsbergen, meaning “pointed mountains.” There are 14 sizable glaciers in this area as well as opportunities for spotting seals, beluga whales, and polar bears.
August 9: Beluga Beac
We start the day quietly cruising the side fjords of the spectacular Hornsund area of southern Spitsbergen, enjoying the scenery of towering mountain peaks. There are also 14 magnificent glaciers in the area and very good chances of encounters with seals and Polar Bear. We may visit the Polish research station where the friendly staff will give us insight into their research projects. Behind the station the mountains are home to thousands of pairs of nesting Little Auk.
August 10: Journey’s End in Longyearbyen
Every adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. You disembark in Longyearbyen for your flight home, but with memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.
As the number of participants is limited to maximum 100 passengers our small expedition vessel offers a friendly, intimate atmosphere. Our photography group will be limited to 16 photographers. We will spend as much time ashore as possible, combined with educational and informative lectures onboard. The coarse of the vessel can easily be changed and can have the zodiacs ready in no time for the finest cruises among the icebergs.
The vessel can safely navigate through the pack ice and remote narrow waterways.
The ice-strengthened vessel is an excellent vessel for Polar expedition cruises in the Arctic and Antarctica, providing us with possibilities to adventure in remote locations.
The vessel was built in Poland in 1989 and has the highest ice-class notation (UL1 equivalent to 1A) and is therefore very suitable to navigate in solid one-year sea ice and loose multi-year pack ice. The ship is a great expedition vessel for 100 passengers with lots of open-deck spaces.The vessel is manned by 20 highly experienced international nautical crew, 19 international hotel crew, including stewardesses, we will have 8 expedition staff (1 expedition leader and 7 guides/lecturers) and 1 doctor.
The vessel offers simple but comfortable cabins and public spaces twin porthole cabin with 2 single lower berths, twin cabins with windows and 2 single lower berths, twin deluxe cabins with windows and 2 single lower berths, superior cabins with double beds. All cabins are spacious outside cabins with a minimum of two portholes or windows per
cabin and all cabins have private shower and toilet.
The Vessel offers a comfortable hotel standard, with two restaurants, a bar/lecture room. Our voyages are primarily developed to offer our passengers a quality exploratory wildlife program, trying to spend as much time ashore as possible. As the number of passengers is
limited to approximately 100, flexibility assures maximum wildlife opportunities.
Length: 91.25 meters
Breadth: 17.61 meters
Draft: 5.8 meters
Ice class: UL1 (equivalent to 1A)
Displacement: 4575 tonnes
Engines: 6 ZL 40/48 SULZER
Speed: 12 knots (14.3 knots max)
Adam explores the world through his nature, travel, and wildlife images. His award-winning photography is widely published in magazines, posters, calendars, books, and national advertising campaigns. Adam is recognized worldwide as an outstanding stock photographer. His work has sold for editorial and commercial usage in over 30 countries. Publication credits include National Geographic Books, Time, Life Magazine, National Wildlife Federation, Audubon, Sierra Club, Disney and hundreds of textbooks. Adam teaches photography workshops around the world helping students reach their full potential in the exciting world of digital photography. He is noted for his enthusiastic, down to earth approach and his ability to communicate effectively with all skill levels.
Cotton clothing like normal t-shirts and jeans are not advisable as cotton tends to get wet
and stay wet while hiking. Bring wind and waterproof outer layers. Beware of tight clothing that leaves no room for trapped air, which is an excellent insulator. Wool, silk and some of the new synthetic fibers like polar fleece retain heat better than cotton.
The secret to keep warm is the “layer principle”. It is better to have several light layers of clothing than one heavy layer. This also gives you flexibility in your clothing so you can take off a layer if you are too warm or put another layer on if you are cold. The most important layer is the outer waterproof and windproof shell because even a light wind of 6 kph (about 4 mph) can carry away eight times more body heat than still air!
The so-called “wind chill factor” measures the increase in cooling power of moving air, whether it’s wind that is blowing or you who are moving rapidly and, in effect, creating a wind against yourself. A common complaint is “it’s not the cold, it’s the wind”, but an equally common polar maxim is “there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing!”
You must be in good general health and you should be able to walk several hours per day on rough terrain. However, the expedition is ship-based and physically not very demanding: although we spend as much time as possible ashore, you are welcome to remain aboard the ship if you like. It is very important, in order to join most excursions, that you are able to easily get up and down the steep gangway from the ship to the water level to board the Zodiacs. Staff will assist you in- and out of the boats. Ashore it can be slippery and rocky. You are travelling in remote areas without access to sophisticated medical facilities, so you must not join this expedition if you have a life-threatening condition, need daily medical treatment or have difficulty walking.
Valid passport and visa if required. Please make sure your passport is valid for at least six months after your trip ends. Since visa requirements differ for each nationality, we ask that you check with the nearest consulates/embassies and secure visas if required. It is mandatory that you purchase separate travel insurance for this trip.
Svalbard is connected to the telephone network on the mainland through a fibre optic cable. This ensures good coverage in Longyerabyen, Barentsburg, parts of the Isfjord area, Svea and Ny-Ålesund. Outside these areas it may be diffi cult to achieve coverage.
The Norwegian currency are used throughout Svalbard,including the Russian settlements. The most common credit cards are accepted at most of the accommodations, tour operators and in the shops. You will also find a cashpoint close to the bank in Longyearbyen
Despite Svalbard being so close to the North Pole, the archipelago has a relatively mild climate compared to areas at the same latitude. In Longyearbyen, the sun remains above the horizon at midnight and temperature only drops slightly during the night. In general temperatures in the Arctic vary from 5 to 15 °C (June to September).
$11,200 based on double occupancy.
A single supplement is available upon request.
It is mandatory that you purchase separate travel insurance for this trip.