North Spitsbergen – Activities Basecamp Special 8 DaysAboard: MV Ortelius
FREE KAYAKING, HIKING, SNOWSHOEING AND PHOTO WORKSHOPS.
This special activity-based Arctic itinerary will offer you a myriad of ways to explore the fantastically beautiful northwest coast of Spitsbergen, Svalbard’s largest island. With hiking, kayaking, snowshoeing and photo workshops all included as part of your package, this is the ultimate trip for those seeking unforgettable adventures surrounded by some of the finest scenery and wildlife experiences in the world. Discovering the largest wilderness area in Europe, you can also enjoy exhilarating Zodiac cruises and shore excursions, and wildlife observations including whales, walrus, myriad birdlife and hopefully some sightings of the magnificent King of the Arctic, the Polar bear.
This basecamp voyage focuses on land and near-shore activities with minimal disturbance to local wildlife. Your ship will navigate to carefully chosen areas around North Spitsbergen, staying in fewer locations than during regular trips, so that it can serve as a comfortable hub for multiple outdoor activities. Should you not wish to participate in the activities, you can still enjoy a truly fulfilling Arctic experience with Zodiac cruises and easy-to-moderate shoreline walks that focus on wildlife.
- Enjoy an activity-based itinerary with FREE kayaking, hiking, snowshoeing and photo workshops!
- Explore around the north coast of Svalbard's largest island in search of unrivalled scenic and wildlife experiences
- Good chances of sightings of Polar bears
- Other Arctic wildlife including whales, walrus, Arctic fox, and reindeer
- Myriad birdlife
- Spectacular scenery
- Historic sites
- Full board accommodation on board with all meals, snacks and hot drinks
- Kayaking, snowshoeing, hikes and photo workshops
- All zodiac excursions and landings with expert guides
- Programme of expert lectures
- Loan of rubber boots
So much to experience
Too much to choose from? This is where we come in
Take advantage of our vast experience, passion and expertise to help you hand craft the perfect Arctic adventure for you.
Zoe’s abiding love of adventure travel has taken her to some of the most incredible wildlife-rich places on Earth. Her vast experience and genuine desire to share her knowledge makes her an outstanding and invaluable person to help you organise your wildlife adventure trip.
With a lifetime of unforgettable nature and adventure based travel under his belt, Simon shares his passion, enthusiasm and hands-on experience to help create the perfect itinerary for every client.
Mike has more than fifteen years hands-on experience in the industry, travelling to some of the most incredible wild places on the planet. His far-reaching knowledge and invaluable skills will ensure that your wildlife travel adventure is a dream come true.
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All our itinerary holidays are fully customisable
Your adventure begins in Longyearbyen, the administrative capital of Svalbard, where after having arrived independently you can enjoy some free time to explore around this unique Arctic town including its museum. Embarkation will begin in the late afternoon and after settling into your comfortable cabin you may wish to make your way out to deck to look for minke whale sightings as we sail out of the scenic Isfjorden.
Various flight and land package options are available for transport to and from Longyearbyen, including extra time here should you wish. Please enquire for full details.
Kongsfjorden & Blomstrandhalvøya
Your first day will see us make our way to Kongsfjorden to visit Blomstrandhalvøya on the northern side of the fjord. Here we will hope to be able to begin our activity programs, with kayaking a great option here. In the afternoon we will make our way to NY Ålesund, one of the northernmost settlements on Earth, to enjoy an exploration around this unique ancient mining village in search of bird sightings including pink-footed geese, Arctic terns and barnacle geese, as well as visiting the anchoring mast used by polar explorers Amundsen and Nobile in their airships. In the evening the ship will anchor in the sheltered surroundings of Krossfjorden.
As with every Polar expedition, flexibility will be key throughout our voyage. Your experienced captain and crew will take advantage of the weather and ice conditions to create a schedule for each day to bring unrivalled adventure and wildlife experiences. This may mean that your itinerary may be subject to change, but each day will be as unique and thrilling as the next.
Today’s plan is to offer a great hike around Amsterdamoya and past the remains of a 17th-century whaling station. The hikes will reward in fantastic views of Smeerenburgsleta. Continuing our exploration of Northwest Spitsbergen, we will then make our way to the islands around Fair Haven.
Today will offer the perfect balance between activities and wildlife sightings as we make our way to Raudfjorden on the north coast of Spitsbergen. This is the perfect spot for a photography workshop, with an expansive fjord spilling with glaciers providing the perfect backdrop for scenic pictures. We will also hope to be able to photograph some of the area’s thriving seabird colonies, ringed and bearded seals, and hopefully even some Polar bears! Kayaking, snowshoeing and hikes are also likely to be offered here.
Liefdefjorden & Monaco Glacier
Today we hope for favourable conditions to sail into Liefdefjorden and cruise within sight of the 5-kilometer-long (3.1 miles) face of the precipitous Monaco Glacier. The base of the ice is a popular polar bear hunting ground so we will hope for lots of sightings of these majestic animals here along with the thousands of kittiwakes that make the front of the glacier their favourite feeding spot. If ice conditions are not favourable for a cruise into Liefdefjorden, your crew will determine an alternate, but similarly exciting, route along the west coast. There will also be some great hiking opportunities today close to the area of Texas Bar and Hornbaekpollen.
The following day, we will find the perfect spot along Spitsbergen’s north coast for a range of activities.
Prins Karls Forland
Our final day of adventure will take us to the remarkable Prins Karls Forland. Here you can enjoy a Zodiac cruise in the surrounding Forlandsundet in search of sightings of walrus surrounded by majestic scenery. Alternatively, we may sail into St. Johns Fjord or south to the mouth of Isfjorden, landing at Alkhornet. Here we will see an abundance of seabirds nesting on the cliffs and can enjoy a walk in search of sightings of Arctic fox searching below the cliffs for fallen eggs and chicks, and reindeer grazing on the sparse vegetation.
In the evening your ship will begin its sail back towards Longyearbyen, arriving at the port by night fall.
This morning signals the end of our exciting Arctic polar bear 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.
A view from Above
Ortelius was built as a Russian scientific survey ship with ice strengthened hull, ideal for polar sailing. She has been completely refurbished and has a selection of suites and cabins with windows or portholes and either private or shared facilities. There are twin dining rooms, lecture room, bar and observation lounge and lots of open deck space plus an open-bridge policy. Ortelius also has a helicopter landing pad and helicopter excursions are available on some itineraries.
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