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Spitsbergen Photography: In Search of Polar Bears

Be immersed in the natural wonders of the land of the midnight sun and pursue a quest to photograph Arctic wildlife.

Trip CodePLH
Duration14 Days
ActivityPolar
Group Size1-199
Minimum Age18
Leisurely
Leisurely
Prices (excl. flights & transfers) from

R189,000

To book   call us on 074 340 4587 or email info@earthwanderer.co.za

Be immersed in the natural wonders of the land of the midnight sun and pursue a quest to photograph Arctic wildlife.

This unique voyage invites guests to embrace a true expeditionary spirit: rather than follow a set itinerary, together we’ll allow our search for Polar bears and other wildlife to determine our route and shore landings in the pristine Norwegian Arctic. Experience this once-in-a-lifetime journey aboard our game-changing new expedition vessel, Ultramarine, which is equipped with 20 quick-launching Zodiacs, luxurious onboard amenities and the biggest portfolio of adventure options in the Polar regions.Cruising along the coast, ice edge and inner fjords of Spitsbergen, you’ll be immersed in the natural wonders of the land of the midnight sun as we pursue our quest to photograph Arctic wildlife: the Polar bear as it prowls the edges of the pack ice on its perpetual hunt for food; the walrus with its long tusks and distinctive whiskers; cliff-dwelling Arctic birds in the thousands; and small herds of reindeer loping across the colourful tundra. Plus, there will be snow-topped mountains, massive glacier fronts, deep-walled fjords, and vast swaths of untouched tundra waiting to be photographed. Exploring this awe-inspiring region never ceases to impress visitors with its raw beauty.

Highlights

View iconic Arctic wildlife, like Polar bears, walrus and Arctic foxEnjoy continuous daylight, perfect for photography buffsCruise in a Zodiac for closer views of glaciers, fjords, icebergs and moreHike the colourful tundraLearn techniques and tips from onboard photographersTravel in a small expedition vesselAccompanied by extremely qualified Expedition Staff

Key Information

12 nights on the ship and 1 night hotel in OsloExpedition cruising in comfortable conditions

What's Included

All meals while on the shipBeer and house wine during dinnerAll accommodationAll transport and listed activitiesFull complement of qualified Expedition StaffWe can include flights from the UK.  Please contact us for a quote.

What's Not Included

Travel insuranceSingle accommodation (available on request)Visas or vaccinationsMandatory transfer package (including charter flights from Oslo to Longyearbyen return) which is from £800 per person (or equivalent in booking currency) paid upon booking

Day 1

Arrive in Oslo, Norway

Your Arctic voyage begins in Oslo, Norway’s vibrant capital city. If you arrive early, there are many museums, restaurants and green spaces to keep you busy before retiring at your included airport hotel.

Day 2

Embarkation Day in Longyearbyen, Svalbard

This morning, the group will transfer to the airport and board our private charter flight to Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen’s largest settlement, where you’ll have some time to explore before embarkation. As your ship sets sail, enjoy your first view of the island’s rugged, glacier-topped mountains rising majestically from icy waters.

Meals included: breakfast,dinner

Day 3-13

Exploring Spitsbergen.

Spitsbergen is graced with an unspoiled beauty that’s just waiting to be discovered. On this one-of-a-kind cruise, you’ll sail along the west coast of this magical island, exploring the coastal fjords and smaller, outlying islands. Each day will be a surprise, treating you to spectacular new sightings and experiences.Every expedition is unique, depending on the weather and ice conditions, but we do hope to visit a few of our favourite landing sites, which will be chosen as much for their optimal wildlife-viewing opportunities as for their stunning scenery, historical significance and hiking activities. With no itinerary (unusual amongst Polar cruises), our main goal will be to sail in a constant search for Polar bears on the prowl. This means we may not move the ship every day as we do on regular voyages, especially if we find abundant wildlife in one place. Like true explorers, we’ll let the wildlife and pack ice—not a set schedule—guide our route! Our small expedition ship allows us to navigate shallower waters and tighter spaces, so we expect to explore the more hard-to-reach areas frequented by the elusive Polar bear.Presentations by on-board experts will prepare you for the adventures that await, and with continuous daylight during this time of year, photo ops abound. You’ll have ample time to linger and photograph any bears we find hunting on the ice edge, but they’re not the only wildlife we hope to encounter. The food-rich waters attract walrus, whales and seabirds, so you’ll want to keep your binoculars nearby while cruising. Arctic fox and the indigenous Svalbard reindeer may also be spotted on Zodiac excursions to shore.A haven for present-day explorers, Spitsbergen and the surrounding area offer unforgettable Polar experiences that will keep you and your camera active for the duration of the expedition. Although 60 percent of the landscape is covered in glaciers and much of the terrain is mountainous, Spitsbergen (which means “pointed mountains”) surprises visitors with stretches of colourful tundra that burst with wildflowers in summer. Optional hiking activities get you up close—though never obtrusively—to the abundant wildlife. At day’s end, you’ll have plenty of prized photographs and exciting stories to share with your shipmates.

Meals included: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 14

Disembark in Longyearbyen and fly to Oslo

The time to say goodbye has come. Your adventure ends as it began, in the frontier-style settlement of Longyearbyen. From here, we’ll transfer you to the airport for your return group charter flight to Oslo.

Meals included: breakfast

Trip for You

Travelling ConditionsThe voyages are designed to be as flexible as possible, taking advantage of circumstances and events as they occur, as well as passengers’ wishes and particular interests wherever possible. The atmosphere on board is relaxed and friendly with expedition staff, including naturalists and Polar experts, on hand and the opportunity to mingle with people from all over the world. The ship is kept warm, clean and comfortable with a wet / mud room in which to hang gear and store boots ready for the next adventure.On the Zodiac cruises you are sitting still for most of the time with the potential for some sea spray and a cold headwind - if you are not dressed appropriately you will get cold. On the shore excursions, the majority of landings are ‘wet’ which means that the Zodiacs beach and you are helped to slide into the ankle deep shore break before walking up onto dry land (wellington boots are issued to all passengers).There are, of course, no paths, so be prepared for slippery, rough terrain and sometimes fairly deep snow. Back on board the cosy ship after each adventure, you can have a sauna and/or a hot shower and then relax with a tea, coffee, hot chocolate or something stronger from the bar. Optional activitiesSea kayaking option:Kayaking in the Arctic is probably one of the most intimate and inspiring ways you can explore the rugged coastlines and calm bays of the regions we visit.Kayaking in the Polar Regions is highly weather-dependent, however we guarantee at least one outing throughout your voyage, but your kayak guides will take you out as many times as possible throughout your voyage.Offered on most Arctic voyages, spaces are limited and require some kayaking experience. All equipment, guides and instructions are provided by Quark.Paddling Excursion: Explore the ocean from a more intimate vantage point on a sit-on-top kayak. No experience is required to manoeuvre these very stable kayaks, allowing you to enjoy an unforgettable experience on the water, taking in breathtaking landscapes and wildlife. Whether it’s your first time in a kayak or you want greater flexibility to try other Adventure options, this shorter excursion is for you.  Paddling in the Polar Regions is highly weather-dependent and a one-time experience. Your kayak guides will attempt to take you out on the water for 1-1.5 hours of paddling. Offered on most voyages, spaces are limited. All equipment, guides and instructions are provided by Quark.Polar ItinerariesAll Polar itineraries should be treated as a guide only - it is possible that, amongst other things, the capricious nature of wind, visibility and ice, intelligence from previous sailings, changes in local landing regulations or the expert opinion of the crew onboard may lead to adjustments to the route published.Booking ConditionsPlease note that the booking conditions for this trip differ from our standard conditions. As with all Polar holidays and voyages, the required deposit is 20% per person of your selected travel arrangements (minimum £1000 per person or equivalent) and the balance of the price of your travel arrangements must be paid at least 133 days before your departure date. The deposit is non-refundable, and at 133 days before departure date, our cancellation penalties are 100% of the holiday cost.

Eating & Drinking

All meals while on the ship included.Typical MealsThe ships galley offers good quality service and cuisine throughout, with excellent chefs preparing international menus including vegetarian dishes, accompanied by a wide variety of drinks from around the world on sale.Breakfast: Buffet style – unlimited tea and coffee, a selection of fruit juices, hot options including bacon and eggs or omelettes, a selection of bread and toast and jam/honey/marmalade, fruit and cereal.Lunch: Three course set meal or buffet, or the occasional BBQ.Dinner: Three or four courses with a starter of soup and/or salad, a choice of mains with at least one vegetarian option and a dessert, with tea and coffee.Vegetarians and vegans can be well catered for on this holiday - please do inform us before departure of any special dietary requests so that our local team can be well prepared.

Transportation

During the expedition, you will visit remote and isolated sites that are accessible only by Zodiac landing craft.  Designed for expedition work, these large and heavy-duty inflatable vessels are extremely safe.

Joining Instructions

Travelling land only: 13 days starting and ending in OsloYour trip starts at the hotel in Oslo in the afternoon of Day 1 of the itinerary listed below. Details of how to reach the start point are given in the Final Joining Instructions.

Weather Info

Spitsbergen has a short season from mid June to mid August; and there is 24 hour daylight in all three months. There may be more sea ice in the earlier months and some more flowers, but in reality with the capricious nature of the weather and wildlife there is not much to choose between them.

Essential Equipment

Boots – Rubber boots are essential for a Polar expedition, but to eliminate these from your packing list we will loan you a pair for the duration of the voyage.Parkas – A complementary Quark parka will be provided on the ship.  Trousers – Waterproof trousers or salopeltes are essential for Zodiac travel as well as activities on shore.Gloves – To keep your hands warm and dry, pack a minimum of two pairs of gloves: a pair of thin polypropylene gloves to be worn underneath warm outer gloves.Hat and Scarf – Pack a warm, woollen hat or cap that covers your ears, as well as a scarf, neck gaiter or other face protection.Socks – For maximum warmth, we suggest that you wear two pairs of socks to wear inside the rubber boots.Outer Clothing – Pack woollen or fleece jumpers and tops, plus several turtlenecks for layering.Underclothing – Pack silk or polypropylene underwear since it will keep you warm without adding bulk.Knapsack or Backpack – To keep your hands free for shooting photograph, bring a water resistant or waterproof knapsack or backpack.Shoes – Non-slip shoes for walking around the vessel.

Optional Equipment

SwimsuitSunglassesBinocularsCamera, extra batteries, film or memory cardsProtective sunscreenElectric converter with adapter plug setSmall medical kit containing prescription medicines and over-the-counter medication for basic ailments such as stomach upsets, allergies, headaches and seasicknessSnow poles or trekking poles

Spending Money

On board the ships all transactions are in US dollars. You may require some Norwegian Kroner before or after the trip while passing through Norway and for use in LongyearbyenAt the conclusion of your voyage, you will be presented with an account. This will include any drinks from the bar, laundry or ship’s shop purchases for which you have signed. You may pay for this in US Dollars cash, credit card (Visa or MasterCard ONLY) or US dollars Traveller’s Cheques.Please note: on the last evening, once your ship account has been settled, credit card payments are no longer accepted. It is therefore advisable to bring at least some US$ cash if you wish to purchase drinks from the bar or any items from the on board shop at this time.Shore expensesIn addition to funds for on-board expenses, it is possible to purchase souvenirs in a few locations – mainly Longyearbyen – in the form of books, t-shirts, stamps, post cards, good knitwear as well as any essential polar clothing you may have forgotten. Visa and Mastercard are accepted. On a couple of shore excursions, which include visits to scientific stations or small settlements, there may be the opportunity to buy and send postcards. Cash in US dollars or Norwegian Kroner is fine for these small expenses.

Tipping

The appropriate amount to tip the staff and crew is a personal matter but it is customary to provide an end-of-cruise gratuity (as a rough guide approximately US$13-15 per day per passenger would be appreciated)

(Please note, visa information cannot be guaranteed and should be checked with the relevant country's embassy prior to departure.)

Norway

Delay

Jan: 01

Requirements

Jan: 01

Business Visa

Jan: 01

Family Visa

Jan: 01

Days Closed

Jan: 01

Office Hours

Pretoria:

Contact Details

Pretoria: Royal Norwegian Embassy

Ultramarine

The Spitsbergen Photography: In Search of Polar Bears voyage is offered on the Ultramarine which is a Polar Adventure Ship. Please visit the Polar Fleet page for Ship Information and Deck Plans.Polar Adventure ShipsThese are small ice rated vessels well qualified for Polar waters. Intimate adventures are always more enjoyable with like-minded passengers and staff, so these voyages are for people who like flexible itineraries and plenty to keep them busy. Activities include frequent Zodiac excursions, trekking and many hours on deck in areas that other ships only dream about accessing. Food and staff are superb and every guest benefits from the technical advances of this superb fleet. Rest assured our Polar Adventure Ships enable any traveller to maximize their experience sensitively in the Poles.


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Fri 10 Jun 2022 to Thu 23 Jun 2022

Available

R 189,000