The transfer to the ship takes place in the afternoon. Once on board there is a get together for introductions to the expedition team, to learn about the ship and its layout, talk about the itinerary for the next 10 days and participate in the obligatory lifeboat drill. Departure from Longyearbyen is normally around 6:00 p.m.
Day 2 - 12
Expect a new adventure every day, on this journey around the island of Spitsbergen and exploring smaller, outlying islands. The variety of incredible wildlife and geological formations found here is astounding! Every expedition will be unique, but a few of our favorite landing sites include the 14th of July Glacier, Ny London, Phippsoya, Alkefjellet and Sundneset.
The names may seem strange to you, but they each have their own unique appeal. For birders, the 14th of July Glacier is home to Purple sandpipers, Common eiders, Barnacle geese and Arctic terns; while Alkefjellet is home to nesting Brunich guillemots and Thick-billed murres. As for the largest land carnivore in the world - searching for Polar bears is a constant activity, with Phippsoya and Isbukta being two of their preferred places for hunting - meaning great potential for sightings.
The walrus sanctuary off Moffen Island offers some great opportunities for observing walrus from the sea.
A big part of appreciating Spitsbergen comes from understanding the culture, not just how people live today, but how this land was first explored. Whaling was a key industry here and we will see blubber ovens and other whaling evidence at landing sites such as Smeerenburg. Add in the potential for spotting Beluga whales and colourful tundra meadows complemented by immense glaciers, and you start to understand just how much there is to see in Spitsbergen.
We arrive back into Longyearbyen early this morning and on disembarking after breakfast you are either transferred to your hotel or the airport.