Spitsbergen Explorer 12 days aboard Akademik Sergey Vavilov
This excellent itinerary offers an exploration of almost the entire Svalbard Archipelago and will bring you up close to spectacular scenery and fantastic wildlife and birdlife experiences. Exploring through the land of the polar bear you will sail from Longyearbyen, the administrative capital of Svalbard, deep inside the Arctic Circle to discover the western, southern and northern coasts of Spitsbergen. This area has the highest concentration of wildlife and places of historic and scenic interest in the archipelago and we will spend our days enjoying regular Zodiac cruising, short or long hikes, visits to wildlife colonies and exploring noted historical areas. Throughout your journey we hope to have numerous chances to encounter polar bear, beluga, walrus, reindeer and myriad birdlife.
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 >
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 >
- Enjoy searching for polar bears
- Encounter whales and marine mammals
- Superb birdlife
- Spectacular icebergs and scenery
- Historical sites
- Kayaking options available
- Transfers to and from ship
- Full board accommodation on board ship
- Zodiac excursions and shore landings including hikes and wildlife colony visits
- Programme of expert lectures
- Experienced Expedition Leader and professional expedition team of marine biologists, naturalists, historians, adventure guides and photographers
- 24 hour hot drinks
- Expedition gear loan package
- Onboard sauna, plunge pool, Jacuzzi and fitness centre
ITINERARY11 Nights 12 Days
- Day 1 | Longyearbyen
- Day 2 | Bourbonhamna
- Day 3 | Storfjorden / Kapp Lee
- Day 4 | Hornsund
- Day 5 | Krossfjorden & 14th July Glacier
- Days 6 - 7 | Smeergenburg & Sea Ice Exploration
- Day 8 | Phippsoya - northernmost point
- Day 9 | Hinlopen Strait & Nordaustlandet
- Day 10 | Liefdefjorden and Monacobreen
- Day 11 | Alkehornet
- Day 12 | Longyearbyen, Svalbard
Your Spitsbergen expedition cruise will begin in Longyearbyen, the administrative capital of Svalbard, where after having arrived independently you will board your ship ready for adventure. After settling in to your cabin and exploring your new surroundings the ship will set sail through Adventfjorden and into Isfjorden before reaching the Greenland Sea and sailing south. We recommend spending some time on deck as we sail, taking advantage of the 24 hours of daylight that offers some fantastic scenic photo opportunities.
Our first stop on our tour will be the narrow sound of Bourbonhamna where we will take our first Zodiac excursion to make land for a hike to Ingebrigstenbukta to view the old hunting cabins and relics here, alongside other artefacts and piles of beluga whalebones which offer a striking reminder of Svalbard’s hunting past. Bourbonhamna is well known for its Beluga whale population and we will search for sightings of these from the ship and from our Zodiacs. We are also likely to catch a glimpse of some of the dozens of reindeer that reside in this area.
Storfjorden / Kapp Lee
We will now sail all the way around the south of Spitsbergen to reach the area’s most southerly point, the broad expanse of Storfjorden. Here we will make land at Dolerittneset near Kapp Lee to experience the rare vegetation of the area, where green moss and grasses, black and orange lichen, purple saxifrage, yellow cinquefoil and white sandwort flowers create a blanket across this unique landscape. One of the most striking features of the landscape, however, is the large scatterings of reindeer antlers and ancient whalebones which carpet the ground and show a stark reminder of how some 400 years ago the whales in Svalbard’s waters were hunted to the brink of extinction. Thankfully this practice has long become extinct itself and now the whale bones act as a unique form of protection for the delicate flora beneath them. We will spend some time here learning about the area’s history from our experienced expedition team which contains expert in fields including geology, marine biology and history.
As we return back westwards we will stop to explore Hornsund, the home of the Polish Polar research station and an excellent place to spot Arctic foxes and reindeer. Here we will enjoy a Zodiac cruise through the glacier-filled bay which leads into Hornsund, as well as hikes across this fantastic landscape with our on-board guides who will offer insights into the formation of the unique geological formations we will see throughout our voyage.
Krossfjorden & 14th July Glacier
Today we will sail north past Prins Karls Forland to arrive at the rocky shores of Krossfjorden to see discover the huge bird colonies that are present here. Anchoring in a protected harbour, you can jump in to the Zodiacs to enjoy a cruise to the bird cliffs near the majestic 14th July Glacier to see numerous kittiwakes and ivory gulls and seek out encounters with the bearded and ringed seals which frequent the waters here. We will also see the incredible sight of the Lilliehook Glacier, at the northwestern head of Krossfjorden, and search for the polar bears that are often found here due the abundance of prey around.
Smeergenburg & Sea Ice Exploration
As we sail out of Krossfjorden we will visit Smeerenburgfjorden to take a walk along the beach to see the historic blubber cookers that remain here and spend some time photographing the spectacular landscapes that surround us, with hints and tips offered from our on-board photography expert. As with every day on our Spitsbergen adventure we will be on the lookout for wildlife sightings.
On day 7 we will spend the day sailing north and you will most likely want to be on deck as we search the edges of the sea ice for bearded seals, ringed seals and walruses, as well as polar bears. Your experienced captain will take advantage of your ship’s silent technology that will allow us to quietly approach and come up as close as possible to any wildlife we see.
Phippsoya - northernmost point
Sailing to the far north of the archipelago we will reach 81° degrees north to visit Phippsoya, an area which offers fantastic chances of excellent polar bear viewings. Being just 50 nautical miles from the North Pole this will be the northernmost part of our voyage so be sure to visit the bridge to take a picture of the ship's GPS showing this incredibly high polar latitude near the top of the world.
Hinlopen Strait & Nordaustlandet
Today we will turn south to sail through the Hinlopen Strait, the strait which separates Spitsbergen and Nordaustlandet, Svalbard’s two main islands. Here we will spend some time exploring along the bird cliffs at Alkefjellet hoping to see some of the more than a hundred thousand breeding Brunnich's guillemots, as well as thousands of kittiwakes and black guillemots.
Here we are also likely to see polar bears as well as large walrus haul-outs, and a number of adventure activity options will be offered here including kayaking and hiking close to nearby Murchison Fjord.
Liefdefjorden and Monacobreen
As we return northwest we will enter Leifdefjorden and slowly cruise towards the impressive Monaco Glacier to enjoy a thrilling Zodiac cruise against a spectacular backdrop. No trip along the north coast of Spitsbergen would be complete without a visit to this area filled with ice caves and tumbling seracs, and this is also a great place for a spot of kayaking. You can also enjoy a hike along the tundra here to marvel at its vibrancy and unique geological features. Wildlife we can expect to see here includes reindeer and Arctic foxes as well as birdlife including black-legged kittiwakes, purple sandpipers and red phalaropes.
Our final stop on our thrilling Spitsbergen adventure will be Alkehornet, at the mouth of Isfjord, where we can enjoy a fantastic walk along the tundra to seek out some spectacular views and sightings of Arctic foxes. This is also a great place for birding with sightings of guillemots and kittiwakes very likely. As we re-board our ship in the evening you will be welcomed to enjoy a celebratory final dinner which will be attended by your captain.
Arrival back into Longyearbyen this morning will sadly signal the end of our adventure and after breakfast we will disembark and bid farewell to our expedition crew. A transfer will be provided into town for a chance to visit the museums and gather up some last-minute souvenirs, before transferring to the airport for onward or homeward flights. There are numerous Arctic excursions available in Longyearbyen and should you wish to extend your stay here we will be happy to help you arrange some further adventures.
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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