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Around Spitsbergen, Kvitoya & Polar Bear
In the Realm of the Polar Bear & Ice
Cruise to Around Spitsbergen - KvitĂ¸ya
Voyage around Spitsbergen where we also visit KvitĂ¸ya. We have chances to see the King of the Arctic, Walruss, Reindeer, various bird species and surprisingly beautiful flora. We hope to get to the rarely visited KvitĂ¸ya farthest to the east, close to the Russian territory. The island is dominated by an icecap, which leaves a small area bare of ice and snow. We will land at the western tip at AndrĂ©neset, where the Swedish explorer AndrĂ© and his companions perished in 1898. We will also try to get to Kraemerpynten in the east, where an enormous group of Walrus resides.
Largest town, biggest island
You touch down in Longyearbyen, the administrative center of Spitsbergen, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago. Enjoy strolling around this former mining town, whose parish church and Svalbard Museum make for fascinating attractions. Though the countryside appears stark, more than a hundred species of plant have been recorded in it. In the early evening the ship sails out of Isfjorden, where you might spot the first minke whale of your voyage.
Heading north along the west coast, you arrive by morning in Krossfjorden. Here you might board the Zodiacs for a cruise near the towering blue-white face of the Fourteenth of July Glacier. On the green slopes near the glacier, colorful flowers bloom while flocks of kittiwakes and BrĂĽnnichâ€™s guillemots nest on the cliffs. You have a good chance of spotting an Arctic fox scouting for fallen chicks, or a bearded seal paddling through the fjord.
In the afternoon you sail to Ny Ă…lesund, the northernmost settlement on Earth. Once a mining village served by the worldâ€™s most northerly railway â€“ you can still see its tracks â€“ Ny Ă…lesund is now a research center. Close to the community is a breeding ground for barnacle geese, pink-footed geese, and Arctic terns. And if youâ€™re interested in the history of Arctic exploration, visit the anchoring mast used by polar explorers Amundsen and Nobile in their airships, Norge (1926) and Italia (1928).
Stop at the Seven Islands
The northernmost point of your voyage may be north of Nordaustlandet, in the Seven Islands. Here you reach 80Â° north, just 870 km (540 miles) from the geographic North Pole. Polar bears and walrus inhabit this stark desolate landscape. Later in the day the ship may roam for several hours among the pack ice in search of wildlife.
The great glacier front of Schweigaardbreen
Pushing east to Nordaustlandet, you reach the area where the Italian captain Sora tried to rescue the Nobile Expedition in 1928. The focus here is the great glacier front of Schweigaardbreen, though you may also land at Firkantbukta, getting the chance to gain some altitude and take a few higher-elevation photos. Alternately, you could make a Zodiac cruise near StorĂ¸ya, where you might encounter walruses.
Ice cap at KvitĂ¸ya
Today you try to reach the rarely visited KvitĂ¸ya, far to the east and close to Russian territory. The enormous ice cap covering this island leaves only a small area bare. You land at the western tip of AndrĂ©eneset, where the Swedish explorer S. A. AndrĂ©e and his companions perished in 1897. Another objective for the day is KrĂ¦merpynten, where a sizable group of walruses reside.
The longest glacier in Spitsbergen
South of Nordaustlandet you may land on IsisĂ¸ya, formerly a Nunatak area surrounded by glaciers but now an island surrounded by the sea. You then may pass by BrĂĄswellbreen, part of the largest ice cap in Europe and famed for its meltwater waterfalls.
BarentsĂ¸yaâ€™s many bounties
The plan is to make landings in Freemansundet, though polar bears sometimes make this impossible. Potential stops on BarentsĂ¸ya include Sundneset (for an old trapperâ€™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 EdgeĂ¸ya.
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 â€śpointed mountains.â€ť There are 14 sizable glaciers in this area as well as opportunities for spotting seals, beluga whales, and polar bears.
Bell Sundâ€™s flora, fauna, and haunting history
Today you find yourself in Bell Sund, one of the largest fjord systems in Svalbard. The ocean currents make this area slightly warmer than other areas in the archipelago, which shows in the relatively lush vegetation. Here there are excellent opportunities to enjoy both history and wildlife. A possibility is AhlstrandhalvĂ¸ya, at the mouth of Van Keulenfjorden, where piles of beluga skeletons can be found. These remains of 19th-century whale slaughter are a haunting reminder of the consequences of rampant exploitation. Fortunately, belugas were not hunted into extinction, and you have a good chance of coming across a pod. Alternately, while cruising the side fjords of Bellsund, you can explore tundra where reindeer like to feed as well as rock slopes where little auks are breeding.
Day 10 LongyearbyenMeals: Breakfast
There and back again
Every adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. You disembark in Longyearbyen, taking home memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.
PLEASE NOTE: N.B. The chances that we can reach KvitĂ¸ya and complete a full Svalbard circumnavigation (based on our experiences from 2013â€”2018) are about 70%. In case we cannot complete a full circumnavigation, we may make a circumnavigation of Spitsbergen through Hinlopen Strait. All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on ice, weather, and wildlife conditions. The onboard expedition leader determines the final itinerary. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises. The average cruising speed for m/v Hondius is 10.5 knots.
August 15 departure is on the M/V Plancius
Price IncludesAll Shore Excursions and Activities Throughout the Voyage by Zodiac.
Services of Expedition Guides
Tax and Port Charges
Free Use of Rubber Boots for Excursions
Onboard Entertainment and Lectures
Meals Daily Shipboard
Accommodations in Select Cabin Category
Price Does Not IncludeAir
Baggage, Cancellation and Personal Insurance (which Is Mandatory).
The Customary Gratuity at the End of the Voyages for Stewards and Other Ser
Government Arrival and Departure Taxes.
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