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Spitsbergen in Depth (Ocean Nova) 2015 Overview
- 2015-06-20 - 2015-08-04
Be immersed in the Arctic as you voyage around Spitsbergen
The call of the Arctic has a particular allure – a promise of vast icy plains, untouched fjords and wildlife rarely seen anywhere else. This voyage captures the essence of the Arctic, taking you on an unforgettable trip around Spitsbergen, the largest island of Norway’s Svalbard archipelago. It boasts a rich array of rocky coasts, glimmering fjords and glacial structures. As you circumnavigate the island, get up close with the wild beauty of the landscape; hike towering glaciers, explore remote coves and roam through flowering tundras. There’s plenty of opportunity to spot iconic wildlife, with polar bears, Arctic foxes, walruses and many varieties of seabirds all living in Spitsbergen’s vast wilderness. Take a breath of crisp northern air and let the endless winter wash over you.
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This icy escapade into the Arctic Circle begins in Longyearbyen, the largest settlement in Spitsbergen and the world’s northernmost city. Explore an ice-covered town where the streets have no names before boarding the ship. As you leave port, sit back and soak up the spectacular views of white-capped mountains and striking glaciers.
These eleven days are devoted to discovering the best that Spitsbergen and its outlying islands have to offer. Let your adventurous spirit come alive by taking the opportunities available to go hiking, snowshoeing or zodiac cruising. While weather conditions may influence landings and activities, be rest assured that each day holds new adventures. Whether its exploring the seabird-filled cliffs of Alkefjellet, hiking the 14th of July Glacier or trekking through the flower-strewn tundras of Worsleyneset, each Arctic experience invigorates the senses. Keep a constant lookout for the majestic creatures that call Spitsbergen home. Pockets of the island offer excellent viewing chances to sight polar bears in action – head to the icy plains of Phippsoya and Isbukta to watch over their favourite hunting grounds. Spot inquisitive Arctic foxes, watch lumbering walruses on Moffen Island and keep your eyes peeled for the rare and magical reindeer grazing along the coastlines of Ny London and Rosenbergdalen. As beautiful as the wildlife is, it isn’t the only thing that you come to Spitsbergen for. Get a taste of the history and culture of the land by visiting historical sites such as Smeerenburg on Amsterdam Island. Once a hub for whaling (the name is Dutch for ‘blubber town’), this settlement is filled with remnants of huts and blubber ovens from the 17th and 18th centuries, allowing a glimpse into days past. Visit a memorial and pay tribute to the many whalers who perished in the extreme Arctic conditions.
The expedition ends where it began, in the quirky city of Longyearbyen. If you’re up for more adventure why not try some dog-sledding, or for one last culture hit wander through the Svalbard Gallery or Svalbard Museum.
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