amazing wildlife, stunning landscapes with action packed days of zodiac trips and hikes for all abilities. a great wilderness expedition providing you are prepared for flexibility given the unpredictable wildlife, weather and sea conditions.
- What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
sailing into pack ice and spotting a polar bear which came leaping across the broken ice to check us out and then got bored and sat down for a sleep once deciding we werent edible!
meeting the walrus up close and personal when they decided to come and check us out on the beach leading to a steady retreat to safe range! watching a hungry bear attack a walrus colony.
seeing the midnight sun from the bridge of the ship on 2 nights
watching 4 humpbacks bubblenet feeding off the bow for an hour ar 1am!
100,000 guillemots nesting on cliffs
climbing the glacier and seeing the water channels corkscrewing to the sea
hiking up moraines and mountains for breathtaking views
fantastic colours of ice and glaciers and reflections in dead calm waters with pure clear light.
- What did you think of your group leader?
Delphine was very good, everything revolved round safety but she did her best to offer some sort of activities everyday apart from one day where sea fog meant we had to continue to sail.
all the guides were knowledgeable and enthusiastic,
- Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
go with an open mind, its not luxury cruising and you cant predict weather or wildlife encounters but seize every moment of wonder as it happens and you will remember this trip for a lifetime.
i thought the ship (plancius) was remarkably quiet and stable given 35knots of wind and 4m swell on occasion. some people struggled with seasickness. to make the most of the trips and hikes you need to be fit and mobile, the terrain is very rocky and steep in places if you do the serious hikes. take several clothes changes as you can get very wet with spray from the zodiacs. waterproof rucksack was invaluable! layers are a good way to keep warm but waterproofs are a must. be prepared for a very multinational trip. 50% were chinese and could be loud and pushy but generally people were friendly and the atmosphere very informal.
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
the spitzbergen guesthouse is a glorified youth hostel with shared loo/showers per floor. we were not told that at any stage which was a nasty shock when we thought we were staying in the radisson equivalent.
the longyearbyen to oslo flight stops in tromso and you have to decamp and go thro customs. we were not told that either, this meant quite tight connections.
take lots of memory cards, you will never have enough!
food was very good and alcohol not as extortionate as mainland norway.