Spitsbergen & Franz Josef Land Adventure 25 days aboard Greg Mortimer
Board the brand new polar vessel the Greg Mortimer to enjoy this fantastic itinerary that includes a circumnavigation of Spitsbergen and an in-depth exploration of Franz Josef Land in the Russian Arctic. Exploring around the stunning coastline of Spitsbergen you will enjoy spectacular glacier covered peaks, deep fjords, mysterious, fossil-rich desert plains and an abundance of Arctic wildlife. This voyage offers an almost guaranteed chance of seeing reindeers and polar bears, and features wildflower walks across sweeping tundra, trapper camps and historic sites. On foot and by Zodiac, you will visit abandoned whaling settlements, search for walrus, Arctic fox and reindeer and observe the millions of migratory birds, including little auks, guillemots and puffin that make these lands their home.
After a thrilling exploration of Spitsbergen your ship will sail through the Barents Sea high into the Arctic to the Franz Josef Land archipelago, a world that few people have been lucky enough to visit. Watch for Polar bears, whales, walrus and seals in the Russian Arctic National Park, and enjoy long walks across the tundra to explore the geological oddities and spectacular landscapes of the area. Exploring by Zodiac you will get up close to spectacular bird cliffs and visit fascinating historic huts of explorers like Fridtjof Nansen. Throughout your voyage the sheer abundance of wildlife, birdlife and scenic sights will delight, and with optional activities like kayaking, snorkelling and scuba diving available this is truly an adventure of a lifetime.
Please note: this itinerary is a combination of the Spitsbergen Odyssey and Franz Josef Land Explorer itineraries.
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 >
Special Guest LecturerExclusive to this voyage, Doug Allan, a multi award winning polar photographer and cameraman, will be your special guest lecturer. Doug has been on over 20 expeditions to Svalbard to film its wildlife, and knows the wonders of this area more than most. Read more >
Special Guest Photography GuideChris was 32 when he finally realised he really did want to be a photo-journalist and walked out on his career in IT sales to become a wildlife photographer Read more >
- Sail along Spitsbergen’s glacier-filled coastline & experience almost 24-hours of exquisite Arctic sunlight
- Experience the wonderful regions of Franz Josef Land and Svalbard in one itinerary!
- Fascinating geological sites including the mysterious stone spheres of Champ Island
- Watch for polar bears and other Arctic wildlife including whales, seals and walrus
- Zodiac beneath towering bird cliffs
- Visit historical sites including Nansen's winter camp at Cape Norway
- Exciting activity options including kayaking, snorkelling & scuba diving
- Photo workshop
- Full board accommodation on board ship with daily breakfast,
lunch and dinner including house wines, beers and soft drinks, afternoon
tea and snacks
- Pre-voyage group tour of Longyearbyen
- Group transfers to and from ship
- Captain's Welcome and Farewell drinks including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer and wine, non-alcoholic beverages
- Pre-dinner drinks including canapes and bar snacks
- Zodiac landings and excursions
- Programme of expert lectures
- Loan of rubber boots
- Complimentary 3-in-1 polar jacket
ITINERARY24 Nights 25 Days
Your Arctic adventure begins in Longyearbyen, the administrative capital of Svalbard. Arrive independently and join the included group sightseeing tour of this unique Arctic town, before heading to the port to board your ship. Embarkation will begin in the late afternoon and you can take the time to settle into your new surroundings as the ship sails out of Isfjorden.
Early morning will reveal the spectacular aqua-blue ice cliffs of the 14th July Glacier or perhaps the Waggonway Glacier in Magdalenefjorden. Our itinerary throughout the journey will be dependent on weather, snow and ice conditions, and the presence of wildlife, and your captain will choose the best course each day to make the most of all opportunities. Thanks to the nutrient-rich Gulf Stream, temperatures on the rugged west coast are relatively mild, ideal for the many Atlantic puffins and thick-billed murres that fill the cliffs. We will explore by Zodiac looking for bearded seals and there may be kayaking and diving opportunities here. Areas we may explore include Ny Alesund, a mining town turned polar research centre and Amsterdamoya, where we can hike across the tundra keeping our eyes peeled for reindeer Arctic fox. Expert historians will accompany you as you explore the remains of a 350-year-old Dutch whaling settlement and find out more about life in this sometimes harsh environment.
Moffen Island & Woodfjorden
Rounding Spitsbergen’s northwest coast, your ship will enter the Arctic Ocean and a world of pack ice. A haven for wildlife, watch as the majestic polar bears stalk the ringed, bearded and harp seals, and beluga whales drift below the surface. Likely stops here include Moffen Island, where walrus haul out on the beaches, and beautiful walks across the tundra reveal exquisite flowering plants including purple saxifrage, yellow spider plants and Svalbard poppies. We will visit trapper huts and continue to keep a look out for reindeer and Arctic fox and, if ice conditions allow, your ship will attempt to cross latitude 80° north before turning south to Woodfjorden.
North & East Spitsbergen
Welcome to the wild side! Frigid Arctic currents sweep around Spitsbergen's northeast corner, lowering air and sea temperatures, and creating a landscape eroded by severe frost. Even in summer, pack ice could bar our way. Your highly experienced captain and crew will take advantage of every opportunity for wildlife sightings and adventures. We will attempt to pass through the narrow Hinlopen Strait, between Spitsbergen and the ice-capped Nordaustlandet.
You will enjoy Zodiac cruising beneath Alkefjellt, sheer basalt cliffs rising more than 250 metres, literally buzzing with some 200,000 nests of Brunnich's guillemots, possibly with Arctic fox scavenging below. On Torrellneset, we could well approach dozens of sleeping walrus. A true polar desert, the east coast offers walks among stunted glaciers, exposed fossil fields, and tundra, where we watch for Arctic fox, eider ducks and the elusive Svalbard ptarmigan. Sailing between Barentsoya and Edgeoya, we cross polar bear migration routes and may visit Sundeneset, a fertile plain covered in green mosses and delicate flowers, including the yellow marsh saxifrage.
Hornsund & Bellsund
This is true expedition cruising, where plans are dictated by ice conditions and our desire to explore. If pack ice allows, we round South Cape, returning to the world of open water and rugged coastal mountains, and sail north toward Hornsund and Bellsund, deep fjords with remarkable glaciers and wildlife. If ice stops us on the east side, we adjust our itinerary, backtrack and delve deeper into the wonders of Spitsbergen's north and west coasts, including a visit to colonies where hundreds of thousands of little auks nest, darkening the sky as they commute to their fishing grounds.
Today your ship will sail back in to Longyearbyen to say goodbye to passengers who have only booked the Spitsbergen element of the tour and say hello to those joining us for the Franz Josef Land adventure. As fellow passengers embark and disembark there will be time for you to leave the ship and join one of the many exciting excursions available in Longyearbyen including dog sledding, sustainable Arctic fishing or fossil hunting, before we board the Greg Mortimer for the second half of our High Arctic adventure.
As your captain steers the ship through the Barents Sea towards the Russian Far East and the Franz Josef Land archipelago there will be excellent opportunities for wildlife sightings. Spend some time in one of the many observation areas to look out for sea birds and whales following the ship and enjoy informative and entertaining talks around the wildlife, history and geology of the remote wilderness areas that you are about to visit.
Franz Josef Land
Day 14 of your adventure marks your arrival in the Russian Arctic wilderness of the Franz Josef Land archipelago. Made up of 191 islands, 85% of the archipelago is dominated by gigantic tidewater glaciers and towering icebergs, so make sure to always have your camera on hand for that perfect ice scenery picture. Exploring by Zodiac we will make landings on the central-most islands including Bell Island and Champ Island where the mysterious stone spheres are a sight to behold. You will be on a constant look out for wildlife including Polar bears and the elusive bowhead whale, as well as sailing below the towering cliffs hosting massive nesting colonies of seabirds such as guillemots, dovekies and kittiwakes. Each day your captain will choose the best areas to visit for scenic and wildlife opportunities and other landings we expect to make include Prince George Land and Alexandra Land.
After your exhilarating time in Franz Josef Land we clear Russian customs and your ship will head back towards Svalbard across the Barents Sea. Spend time on deck watching for more wildlife and enjoy the presentations and lectures from your onboard experts.
As we sail around Svalbard’s stunning northwest coast back towards Longyearbyen there may be time to make some further landings in this pristine Arctic wilderness.
A midnight cruise of beautiful Isfjorden returns us to Longyearbyen, and signals the end of our spectacular voyage. After disembarkation a transfer to the airport for your onward flight will be provided. Or should you wish to spend more time in this unique Arctic town there are many opportunities for extra excursions and adventures.
A view from Above
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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