Guides: Joël Monster & Walter Spoor
Level: Suitable for photographers of all levels (also very suitable to non-photographing partners)
Participants: Min 12 – max 16 (international group)
Duration: 10 days/9 nights
Theme of this tour: Landscape and animal photography
Price: € 4530,- (Approximately $ 5420,60) per person based on a shared twin hut > picture of a hut
Single supplement: On request (limited availability)
Payment in full: 8 weeks prior to the starting date
|all meals on the sailship ‘Noorderlicht’, including snacks, coffee & tea|
|9 nights in a bunkroom on the sailship ‘Noorderlicht’ with shared shower/toilet|
|all activities during the tour with zodiacs|
|all activities during the tour on shore
|coaching and feedback by a professional photographer|
|use of snow shoes|
|several harbour charges, taxes and AECO surcharge|
|two-way flight to Spitsbergen (please book this at your preferred touroperator)|
|extra nights at Longyearbyen (please book this at your preferred touroperator)|
|alcoholic beverages and softdrinks|
|meals in Longyearbyen|
|€ 35,- reservation costs per booking|
|luggage-, cancellation- and travel insurance|
|tips for sailboat crew|
The archipelago north of Norway
The island Spitsbergen, part of the Svalbard archipelago, is located 565 kilometers off the north coast of Norway (which annexed Svalbard in 1920). It’s the perfect destination for anyone looking for the combination of Arctic landscapes and unique wildlife. With a surface area of about 62,000 km², the island of Spitsbergen is twice as large as Hawaii and ten times the size of Shanghai. About 60% of the surface is covered by glaciers. Typical of the landscapes are steep mountains and sharp peaks. While most mountains are between 800 and 1300 meters high, the highest mountain of Spitsbergen – the ‘Newtontoppen’ – reaches 1713 meters. In the capital Longyearbyen there are, depending on the season, around 2000 inhabitants – about half of the amount of people living on the entire archipalego. Geographically far inside the polar circle, located in the official North Pole, between 74° and 81° latitude, you’ll be guaranteed of breath taking vistas and an unforgettable experience of nature.
What makes this tour stand out from other Spitsbergen tours, is that – apart from that it coincides with Easter – it takes place during a very unique and calm period. Most photo tours to Spitsbergen take place in late summer or autumn. During winter there are very few tourists, because the lack of daylight leaves very little time for looking around and taking photographs. This tour is planned after winter, at the start of spring. This means the landscape still looks like what you’d expect from an Arctic winter landscape. In this period you can experience this island the way it’s meant to be. Offically this tour starts in spring, but local circumstances make this a real winter tour. We are the only photo tour operator to organize an expedition cruise to Spitsbergen this early in the season.
An Arctic experience
During this tour, we’ll be pointing our camera’s at the undisturbed virgin snow landscapes. There is even a real chance of snowfall and we have to account for temperatures between -5 and -20 degrees celcius. Early in spring the lighting is incredibly beautiful. The sun will be very low, which creates a skimming light across the landscape. At this time of year it won’t be dark at night anymore, so we can photograph and enjoy the dreamy Arctic light into the late hours. Because of the amount of pack ice, there’s also a great chance of spotting wildlife close to our ship, such as the ‘King of the North’, the Polar bear. But it’s also possible we’ll see reindeer, polar foxes and different kinds of seal. There won’t be many birds yet, although the Svalbard rock ptarmigan is there all year round. There’s also a good chance of spotting the first flocks of birds coming to nest on the cliffs, such as the Black guillemot.
The best and safest way to explore Spitsbergen is via the water. With a few exceptions, there is almost no infrastructure on the island. If you want to see a lot of the archipalego, a ship is the best choice. In Longyearbyen, where this tour departs from, we’ll board the atmospheric sail ship ‘Noorderlicht’ (Northern light) which is completely at our disposal. Using the ship, we’ll see several different fjords on the west coast of the archipalego, amongst which the Isfjorden, Kongsfjorden and the Bellsund fjord. The sailship ‘Noorderlicht’ is, because of it’s length of 46 meters, highly manouverable and thus very suitable for Arctic waters. We can visit distant islands and coasts larger motor ships cannot get to. This ship, with a maximum of 20 passenger, has become the standard for visiting Spitsbergen and enables us to enjoy the beauty of Svalbard at our own pace and without interference. From the large open deck we have a great vantage point and there is more than enough room for everyone to take photographs at once. The authentic interior of the ship and cozy atmosphere on board make it a pleasure to board this two-masted sail ship; the perfect base during this expedition cruise.
Every day we’ll try to get to shore using inflatable Zodiac boats. There we’ll make expeditions looking for interesting photo opportunities in the unique Arctic landscape. Because we are only a guest in the territory of the Polar bear, we need to stay together as a group under the supervision of our very experienced guides.
This photo tour is very suitable for the nature lover who isn’t afraid of winter weather and is prepared to experience an unparalleled landscape. This tour is also very suitable for the non-photographing partner. We can guarantee a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience!
We don’t have a fixed day-to-day program for this tour, because our options for expeditions are very dependant on local ice- and weather situations. The definitive route will be decided by the expedition leader on board. Flexibility is of utmost importance during this tour, because we can’t direct nature.
Friday 30th of March:
Arrival Spitsbergen, Longyearbyen
Today we raise the sails and start our adventure. We depart from the capital Longyearbyen and sail to the Isfjorden. Prepare yourself for a breath-taking snow-white mountain landscapes with gigantic glaciers. Depending on flight times, we’d advise you to fly to Longyearbyen a day early so you have some time to acclimate to the Arctic weather. There are many different accommodations available in Longyearbyen from where you can explore the city and visit the Svalbard Museum. We recommend you to not leave the city on your own because of the Polar bears. These animals are These animals are the largest land carnivores in the world – don’t take any unnecessary risks.
Saturday 31st of March to Saturday 7th of April:
West coast of Spitsbergen
During this week time we’ll be exploring the West coast of Spitsbergen, which is suitable for boats because of the North Atlantic Current. The exact route depends on the conditions of the ice and weather. The situation will be monitored daily and the expedition leader will decide where we will travel next. From the beautiful Isfjorden, we’ll travel further north to the Kongsfjorden, or the Bellsund fjord south of the west coast. Our goal is to stay a few days in both fjords so we have a few days to take in and photograph all the beautiful landscapes and possibly wildlife in different lighting conditions. Staying longer in one place also results in better photographs.
Sunday 8th of April:
Departure Spitsbergen, Longyearbyen
Unfortunately, this is where our adventure ends. On this day we arrive back in Longyearbyen, after which all of us go our own way home. Depending on flight times, we’d advise you to stay one day longer in Longyearbyen.
Photo Tour Specialist
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