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East Spitsbergen Research Special Explore

East Spitsbergen Research Special 10 Days aboard MV Ortelius

Prices From £5,904pp
9 nights
Monday 3 AUG, 2020
Wednesday 12 AUG, 2020

East Spitsbergen Research Special 10 Days aboard MV Ortelius

Join a group of Polar scientists on this very special voyage to the southern and eastern shores of Spitsbergen, Svalbard’s largest island. This unique itinerary will take you to seldom visited spots on the archipelago and offers the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to participate in research which is being conducted as a follow-up to investigations that Dutch researchers began on Edgeøya in the 20th century. As well as participating in and observing this important scientific work, you will of course enjoy a full Spitsbergen cruise experience, with exciting Zodiac excursions, walks and hikes and thrilling wildlife observation opportunities. Discover a world of spectacular landscapes, search for sightings of polar bears and enjoy extended walks to special places of interest…the adventure of a lifetime!

Toni Hart

Namibia Birding and Photography Guide

An 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 >

Andy Pollard

Wildlife Guide & Photographer

Andy 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 >

Chris Coe

Photographer and founder of the Travel Photographer Of The Year awards

A 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 >

Jenny Luxton

Falklands Expert & Guide

Born 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 >


  • Participate in and observe important scientific research
  • Discover seldom visited sites on the eastern side of the Svalbard archipelago
  • Spectacular scenery throughout
  • Search for wildlife observations including polar bears, walrus and myriad birds

What's Included

  • Full board accommodation on board with all meals, snacks and hot drinks
  • All zodiac excursions and landings with expert guides
  • Programme of expert lectures
  • Loan of rubber boots
Simon Rowland
Simon Rowland
Arctic Specialist

Speak to someone who’s been to Arctic. Start planning your tailor-made trip by calling one of our friendly destination specialists on 0800 195 3385 or 44 1625 581143 for outside the UK.


9 Nights   10 Days

Itinerary Summary

  • Day 1 | Longyearbyen
  • Days 2 - 3 | South to East Spitsbergen
  • Days 4 - 5 | Agardhfjellet & Freemansundet
  • Days 6 - 8 | East Spitsbergen
  • Day 9 | Hornsund
  • Day 10 | Longyearbyen


Your East Spitsbergen research cruise will begin in Longyearbyen, the administrative capital of the Svalbard archipelago, where after having arrived independently you can enjoy a stroll around this former mining town before making your way to the port to embark your ship in the afternoon. After settling in to your cabin and exploring your new surroundings, the ship will depart in the early evening. As we sail out of Isfjorden we recommend spending some time on deck where you may spot the first minke whale of your voyage following the ship in the waters below.

Various flight and land package options are available for transport to and from Longyearbyen, please enquire for full details.

South to East Spitsbergen
2 - 3Days

South to East Spitsbergen

Sailing away from Longyearbyen, your adventure will begin in earnest as we make our way south down the western coast of Spitsbergen, enjoying landings at rarely visited sites between Sørkap and Isbukta. As you sail, your informative and entertaining lecture program will begin, and details will be provided on the research and analysis that will be carried out throughout your voyage. As with all Polar cruises the itinerary will be flexible and dependent on weather and ice conditions, but the main goal will be to reach Edgeøya where the focus of the research will be.

Having sailed by Stellingfjellet, where Spitsbergen’s biggest colony of Brünnichs Guillmots resides, we will reach Diskobukta on the west side of Edgeøya on the morning of day 3. Here you can enjoy the first of many thrilling Zodiac cruises as we make our way to the beach of Blankodden. There are excellent opportunities for wildlife spotting here including hopefully our first sightings of polar bears as they stalk the Arctic foxes who in turn keep a close eye on the bird cliffs waiting for eggs and chicks to fall from the ledges. For the birding and hiking enthusiasts among us there is a great climb available to the rim of a narrow gully which is inhabited by thousands of Kittiwakes, along with Black Guillemot and piratical Glaucous Gull. An enjoyable walk to Kapp Lee will also be offered.

Agardhfjellet & Freemansundet
4 - 5Days

Agardhfjellet & Freemansundet

Our next stop will take us to Agardhfjellet on the eastern side of West Spitsbergen where some extended walks up to heights of 400m will take us to the breeding places of Ivory gulls and reward with excellent views over the valley which is littered with fossils of Belemnites and Ammonites.

We will then move on to Freemansundet and the island of Barentsøya where we plan to land at Sundneset to enjoy a walk across the tundra in search of Barnacle Goose and Spitsbergen Reindeer as well as visiting an old trapper's hut. Another highlight today will be a Zodiac cruise to the Freeman glacier where a large Kittiwake colony is found.

East Spitsbergen
6 - 8Days

East Spitsbergen

Over the course of the next few days we will continue our exploration of the eastern side of the island including a return to Diskobukta where you can enjoy an inland walking excursion to the braided rivers in search of more bird sightings including Ivory Gulls and see some geologically fascinating pingos.

In this area we will also visit Habenichtbukta to enjoy another inland excursion to see the ponds and lakes that are frequented by geese, divers and ducks, as well as seeing the remains of a Russian Pomor hunting station that is thought to have been here since the 18th century. In Andrétangen we will see more remnants of the Pomor period as we land at Tiholmane or Kong Ludvigøyane. We will also hope for good walrus observations here.



Our last day of adventure will see us cruising along the side fjords of the Hornsund area of southern Spitsbergen enjoying the scenery of towering spire-like mountain peaks of up to 4,695 feet. This area perfectly demonstrates why the early Dutch explorers that we will have already learned so much about named this island Spitsbergen, meaning “pointed mountains.” Enjoy some time on deck with your cameras in hand as we sail by 14 sizeable glaciers, whilst on land we hope to visit the Polish research station for an insight into the work being carried out here. Excitingly, this area also offers out best chances of spotting polar bears, seals and beluga whales!



Our arrival back into Longyearbyen signals the end of our exciting Arctic research cruise, and after breakfast you will disembark and bid a fond farewell to your expedition team and new-found friends. You may wish to spend some further time here exploring this unique Arctic town or enjoying some of the many extra excursions and activities that are on offer here. Please enquire for details of the land-based activities that we would be happy to arrange for you. Otherwise, it’s sadly time to make your way to the airport for your onward or homeward flights, filled with memories of the adventure of a lifetime.

MV Ortelius

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What Our Customers

Ann Macleod, Scotland Sarah & David, Portsmouth James and Pamela Chapman, Halifax Geoff & Magda, Adelaide, Australia Ann & Paul, East Grinstead, Sussex Chris Janner, Manchester Gavin Burnett Stirling, United Kingdom Chris Pye, North Wales Chris Pye, North Wales Chris Conlan, Manchester, UK Boyan Todorov, Holland Karen Worton, Suffolk,UK Malcolm Green , UK Malcolm Green , UK Frances Hadfield, East Sussex, UK Mike Unwin, Brighton, UK Christine Matthews, London, UK Jan Broderick, Northumberland
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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Lines are open from 9am -5.30pm Monday - Friday

Simon Rowland
Simon Rowland
Arctic Specialist

Speak to someone who’s been to Arctic. Start planning your tailor-made trip by calling one of our friendly destination specialists on 0800 195 3385 or 44 1625 581143 for outside the UK.