Spitsbergen & Franz Josef Land
Spitsbergen & Franz Josef Land 14 days aboard Sea Spirit
An exciting and unique expedition taking you to two of the Arctic’s most fascinating groups of islands. Aboard the luxury vessel M/v Sea Spirit you will travel to the most remote and rarely visited Russian High Arctic archipelago - Franz Josef Land, where 7 days of exploration will take you up close to polar bears, walruses and a myriad of Arctic birds. Following in the wake of famous Arctic explorers you will observe the magnificent “moon” landscapes of the islands and see the mysterious stone spheres of Champ Island, before returning to the spectacular scenery of the wildlife paradise that is Spitsbergen.
Namibia Birding and Photography GuideAn accomplished and experienced Namibia birding and photographic guide, Toni holds a Namibia Academy for Tourism and Hospitality Level 3 qualification (the highest level attainable in Namibia) and is widely renowned for her extensive knowledge of the cultures, ornithology, flora, astronomy and wildlife of the country. Read more >
Wildlife Guide & PhotographerAndy is a 6th generation Falkland Islander, with a passion for wildlife, plants and photography. Raised in the Falkland Islands, Andy developed a close affinity with the Islands natural environment at a young age. School holidays where spent in the ‘camp’ or countryside with friends and family. For more than 10 years, Andy had the privilege of spending a time on Sea Lion Island, visiting his mother who managed one of the Islands premier tourist destinations. Read more >
Photographer and founder of the Travel Photographer Of The Year awardsA fascination with natural light and a passion with nature, landscape and travel underpin Chris Coe's photography. His images often have a striking simplicity and graphic quality. More recent work has introduced a subtlety with experimentation with both movement and light.Read more >
Falklands Expert & GuideBorn in Chartres in the West Falklands, Jenny grew up on the family farm where her love for animals was nurtured by the25,000 sheep, horses and cows that lived alongside her. Forever a nature, conservation and wildlife enthusiast Jenny has travelled extensively throughout the Falkland Islands, visiting each and every wildlife island at least once, and even travelling around some by yacht. Read more >
- Polar bears and other mammals
- Myriad birdlife
- Rarely visited Franz Josef Land
- Unique geological features
- Spectacular Svalbard scenery
- Kayaking option available
- One night's hotel pre-voyage
- Group transfers to and from ship
- Full board accommodation on ship
- All zodiac landings and excursions
- Programme of lectures by expert guides
- Expedition parka
- Loan of rubber boots
- All port fees
ITINERARY13 Nights 14 Days
- Day 1 | Longyearbyen
- Day 2 | Embark and set sail
- Days 3 - 4 | Crossing the Barents Sea
- Days 5 - 11 | Islands of Franz Josef Land
- Days 12 - 13 | West Spitsbergen
- Day 14 | Longyearbyen
Your adventure will begin in Longyearbyen, the administrative capital of the Svalbard archipelago. You are invited to arrive at a time that is convenient to you and spend the day exploring this remote settlement. Accommodation tonight is included as part of your package.
Embark and set sail
In the afternoon you will be transferred to the port to board the luxury polar vessel M/v Sea Spirit. Make yourself comfortable in your new surroundings as your ship sails into the wilderness through Isfjorden. Spectacular scenery abounds and with virtually 24 hour daylight at this time of year, we can already be on the lookout for marine mammals.
Crossing the Barents Sea
We sail around the coast of Spitsbergen and the Svalbard Archipelago and cross the Barents Sea, east towards Franz Josef Land. Enjoy onboard presentations about the adventures that lie ahead and keep a lookout on deck for Bowhead and other whales, and even polar bears.
Islands of Franz Josef Land
We clear Russian immigration at Nagurskoye and are then free to explore this wildlife and scenery rich archipelago. Our itinerary is heavily dependent on ice and weather conditions, and your experienced captain and expedition leader will decide the best route and continually adjust plans as opportunities warrant in this wild and remote corner of the Arctic. You can expect to see polar bears, rare whales, walrus and other marine mammals as well as massive nesting colonies of seabirds including guillemots, little auks and the threatened ivory gull. With close to 24 hours of daylight, there are lots of opportunities for wildlife viewing.
There are also interesting geological features, such as the stone spheres on Champ Island and basalt cliffs of Rubini Rock, as well as memorials of the many polar expeditions that passed this way. Franz Josef Land is dominated by glaciation, which covers 85% of the archipelago. Immense tidewater glaciers and glittering icebergs will provide a stunning backdrop throughout your voyage.
After an exciting week of exploring Franz Josef Land you will cross back through the bountiful waters of the Barents Sea and then along the coastal islands of the Svalbard Archipelago. Again, the focus will be heavily upon wildlife viewing and you can hope to see polar bears and other mammals and birds throughout these days. The scenery on Spitsbergen is spectacular, with sharp mountain peaks and calving glaciers, and we will sail into deep fjords and narrow channels looking out for polar bears, walrus and seals on the ice floes and reindeer and Arctic fox on the flowering tundra. In open water, there are several species of whale to be spotted and on land the remnants of human habitation in the form of long abandoned whaling, mining and trapping camps.
Upon return back into Longyearbyen, a transfer to the airport or to the town center will be provided. You may wish to spend some further time here and if so, be sure to see the excellent Svalbard Museum and take advantage of the quality cultural and dining opportunities in this fascinating Arctic settlement.
What Our Customers
Superlatives abound – a truly amazing experience...awesome. Thanks to all for making it such a memorable experience.
We have just returned from our Spitsbergen trip with Wildfoot and had to tell you what an amazing time we had! We saw 6 polar bears including a mother with 2 cubs as well as whales, walruses and lots of birds. The ship (Expedition) was really comfortable and the guides were so helpful and friendly. Thank you so much for making it all so easy.
I came to Wildfoot because a friend had booked with you when you were Antarctica Bound and they were right. Everything went perfectly, even when our flight was cancelled, you made sure we still made it to the ship with time to spare. L’Austral is a beautiful ship with first class service and food and the guides looked after us well. Very happy to recommend Wildfoot and L’Austral...
We had always wanted to see the Arctic and travelling all the way from Australia needed lots of information. After getting nowhere, we came across Wildfoot and found people who knew what they were talking about! Sara and John were so helpful and made the process easy, suggesting Iceland Greenland and Spitsbergen. This was perfect for us – amazing scenery and lots of wildlife, especially the polar bears in Spitsbergen. Thanks for everything. Ps, the ship was great too!
Just wanted to say thank you for suggesting a trip to Franz Josef Land as something different for the Arctic. We had a super trip and really enjoyed the Sea Spirit. Galapagos next!
Standing on the North Pole has been an ambition of mine since childhood and now I have done it! Thank you for making the process so easy - seeing polar bears and whales too was a real bonus.
The Sea Spirit expedition was excellent and the team organising it all were extremely good. 10 out of 10. Everything went very smoothly. The Iceland extension worked perfectly, all the organisation, connections etc. were excellent
The cruise was beyond my expectations. Got to see everything the captain wanted, even a polar bear mother with three cubs. Coal Miners Cabins were smashing. I did loads of birding and exploring over three days. All the people were great from the expedition leaders down to the passengers. So glad to have achieved my ambition of some 50 years standing and got amongst the ice of the Arctic, walked amongst it’s islands and witnessed the antics of its wonderful wildlife. What’s next??? I’ll need to speak with Sara again.
Thanks so much for enabling me to get to places I had always wanted to see from a very young age. “Ace” as my boys used to say!
Just wanted to send a quick note to say thank you very much for all your help in arranging our recent trip to Svalbard. Everything ran smoothly and the trip was a great success. Unfortunately I had to flew back a few days early and missed out on Isfjord Radio, which the rest of the team said was a brilliant place with amazing food, still the Basecamp Hotel and Nordenskiold Lodge were pretty amazing places, so I’m not complaining!
Writing back to tell you that the trip to the Arctic was all that it promised and more. It was a great wild-life sightseeing opportunity and the staff were really good.I had an excellent trip and have thousands of photos to go through.
I had an absolutely fabulous time won the Sergey Vavilov, it is an excellent ship. Sara was indeed right in her recommendation that they would be the most likely to push north into the ice to find the polar bears. We even circumnavigated Spitsbergen which was awesome and not o n the itinerary.It is such a wonderful way to take a trip when you are on your own – so if any of your potential single clients are unsure, definitely recommend it – I didn’t feel alone from the moment I stepped on board. I will be at the Birdfair next weekend and so will catch up with whoever is there – regarding this trip, and potentially my next!
Great cruise, staff and expedition team. Had a great trip.
Great cruise, staff and expedition team. Had a great trip.
We had a wonderful time, even though we didn't do all the places we were supposed to but we all felt were we went instead couldn't beaten. Saw animals I wanted to see. Bit worried what the food was like as some of the ships cooking leaves something to be desired, but food was very good. We thought all the guides were brilliant and informative, friendly and knowledgeable It was far better than we expected and even my husband thoroughly enjoyed it!
I wanted to let you know that I had a wonderful cruise in the Russian Far East. The landscape and destination were inspiring, we had some excellent wildlife sightings (sea otter, grey whale, Steller's sea eagle, snowy owl and Arctic fox were all firsts for me), and the Heritage team were superb. Rough seas forced a few changes to the itinerary but we also had some fabulous weather. All in all, a thrilling travel experience.Thanks once again for all your efforts
I thought you might like to know that this was an excellent holiday. Our guide, Brad, was absolutely wonderful, his enthusiasm and knowledge made the holiday even better. All in all the whole trip was excellent and we saw lots of bears, 24 on the first day. Fewer on the second and third days but still plenty, as well as arctic foxes,silver foxes and snowy owls. Even on the last day near the town we saw a bear on rocks by the beach.
What a great trip! Wildfoot built a great trip for us and every aspect was spot on. Our Iguazu guide was fun, interesting and helpful and all the transfers were timely and comfortable. The Antarctica Trip was superb - WIldfoot had given us the best advice and helped us choose the right ship and tour for what we wanted - A truly memorable Experience Thank You Wildfoot
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