High Arctic

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Polar Bears Spitsbergen & Franz Josef Land

Aboard M/S Sea Spirit with Greg Grainger

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Itinerary

7 July – 20 July, 2016
14 Days

Ex: Longyearbyen- Svalbard

Venture with Greg Grainger on this unique expedition to Spitsbergen and the remotest and rarely visited Russian High Arctic archipelago – Franz Josef Land. Observe magnificent “moon” landscapes, meet polar bears, walruses and arctic birds in the wild. See the mysterious stone spheres of Champ Island. Follow in the wake of famous Arctic explorers.

Spitsbergen-and-Franz-Josef-Land

sfj_resized_image08Day 1

Longyearbyen (West Spitsbergen, Svalbard), embarkation.

A small town Longyearbyen, honoured to be the administrative capital of the Spitsbergen archipelago, is a starting point of our expedition.

Visit Polar Museum, it will be a good start of your great arctic adventure. Embark the Sea Spirit in the afternoon and keep an eye for our first whales as we sail out of Isfjorden.

sfj_resized_image13Day 2

Smeerenburg at Amsterdamøya (West Spitsbergen, Svalbard).

In the morning our ship drops anchor at Amsterdamøya Island surrounded by fjords, tall glacier fronts and steep, rugged mountains. Our landing takes us to the ruins of one of the largest 17th century whaling stations in Spitsbergen — Smeerenburg.

The name is translated as “Blubber Town” and we can see the large cement-like remains of whale blubber from ovens where the blubber was boiled. Whale bones sights contrast dramatically with beautiful nature surroundings reminding of times, described by Nansen with the following words: “And all this to provide oil to Europe; though even more to provide the ladies with hoops so they can ruin their bodies with corsets and hoop skirts”.

sfj_resized_image07Day 3

Kvitøya Island (Svalbard).

Today we plan a landing on the remote and rarely visited Kvitøya (White Island). It is almost completely ice-covered and belongs to the Northeast Svalbard Nature Reserve.

Colourful moss beds cover the ice-free parts. Arctic terns and other arctic birds breed at Kvitøya. Polar bears and walrus are also frequent visitors here.

sfj_resized_image09Day 4 – 7

Southern and Eastern islands of Franz Josef Land.

We start our exploration of Franz Josef Land archipelago from a landing at Nagurskaya station on Alexandra Land. Not far from the station we visit the world’s northernmost Orthodox Church. Bell Island is named after the bell-shaped mountain, which dominates the island and is a symbol of the whole archipelago.

The name was given by the British Leigh Smith Expedition. We visit the well-preserved house built by the members of the Expedition in 1880. Near the Bell there is Maybell Island. We climb a mountaintop to enjoy a breathtaking view to the “Bell” of the nearby island. We go on discovering the history of Arctic Exploration at Cape Flora, Northbrook Island. Here Leigh Smith and his crew had to spend 10 months after their steam yacht Eira had been crushed by ice and sunk near the coast. For 3 years – from 1894 to 1897 – the base of Frederick George Jackson British Expedition was placed at the area.

sfj_resized_image10The members of this expedition had made a great contribution to the exploration of the archipelago. Cape Flora is also the place where the memorable encounter of Jackson and Nansen took place. Several monuments and crosses bear witness of these historical events. Apart from the historic sites Cape Flora is famous for its thick carpets of mosses of deep red, green and yellow. The towering cliffs at the southern part of Cape Flora are home for the huge sea birds colony. Arctic foxes are also frequent guests here. We visit an abandoned polar station at Tikhaya Bay on Hooker Island. The station was in function from 1929 to 1959. It was the first soviet research base and the northernmost one in the world. The site is well preserved.

Tikhaya Bay is also famous for its huge cliff Rubini Rock that is a shelter for thousands of sea birds. At Alger Island we go on discovering the history of Arctic Exploration. We plan to visit a wintering place of the American Arctic Expedition headed by A. Baldwin. If weather permits we cruise aboard our zodiacs among drifting icebergs. Here we also have good chances for polar bears encounters. Cape Tegetthoff at Hall Island is a favourite site for photographers: huge cliffs resembling a shark’s dorsal fins submerge in the sea.

sfj_resized_image12We plan a landing at the cape to watch the remains of the wooden structures built by the American Wellman Expedition of 1898-1899 aimed to reach the North Pole. We often meet polar bears at this area. At the southern tip of Wilczek Island there is a lonely grave of the machinist Otto Krisch, who was a member of the Austro-Hungarian North Pole Expedition of Payer and Weyprecht.

The expedition had failed in conquering the Pole but accidentally discovered the unknown land, which they named Franz Josef Land. At Cape Heller on Wilczek Land we watch the remains of the Wellman Expedition’s supply base. In 1898 two members of the expedition stayed here to secure the base. In 1899 one of them died here and was buried at the cape. As everywhere on Franz Josef Land we are very likely to witness polar bears and sea mammals during our landing.

sfj_resized_image11Day 8 – 11

Northern and Central islands of Franz Josef Land.

At Cape Fligely on Rudolf Island we reach the northernmost point of our expedition and…of the Eastern Hemisphere. There are some historic crosses at the area. Enjoy glacial landscapes and ivory gulls’ sites.

At Stolichki and Appolonova isles we observe walrus grounds. The site counted more than 600 of Atlantic walruses is unique. We patrol the coasts aboard our zodiacs and the animals come close to our boats. Here we also may watch ivory gulls. Cape Norway at Jackson Island is a place where the famous Norwegian explorers Fridtjof Nansen and Hjalmar Johansen wintered in 1895-96 after failing to reach the North Pole.

sfj_resized_image14Their hut still remains here. Polar bears often roam nearby. Near the coasts we often encounter narwhals and beluga whales. Finally we reach – most say – the most beautiful island of the archipelago Champ.

The landscape of Champ is awesome: on the ice-capped cliffs, which are the highest on Franz Josef Land, thousands of birds find their shelter. Red, yellow and green mosses contrast dramatically with white and blue of the nearby glaciers. At Champ we discover the unique nature phenomenon: the stones of regular spherical shape from 3 mm to 3 m in diameter.

sfj_resized_image06Day 12

Phippsøya Island, Seven Islands archipelago (West Spitsbergen, Svalbard).

We plan a landing at Phippsøya, the largest one of Seven Islands archipelago at the north of Spitsbergen.

The island and nearby region is a great place for walrus photography and a favourite hunting area of polar bears.

sfj_resized_image01Day 13

Fuglehuken – Poolepynten, Prins Karls Forland (West Spitsbergen, Svalbard).

We land at Fuglehuken on Prins Karls Forland Island. This island was the first Spitsbergen land sighted by the discoverer of the archipelago Willem Barents. It was him who gave Fuglehuken its name, which means, “Bird point”.

To do justice to the name large numbers of Brunich’s guillemots, kittiwakes, glaucous gulls and other birds breed on steep cliffs; while harbour seals, the only population found in Spitsbergen, rest along the coast.

Whalers and polar bear hunters favoured the island; we will see their traces here. Poolepynten is a headland on the southeastern side of Prins Karls Forland, known as a walrus haul-out. During our landing here get your camera ready — Poolepynten is a great place for walrus photography.

sfj_resized_image02Day 14

Disembarkation in Longyearbyen (West Spitsbergen, Svalbard).

Our adventures finish in the port of Longyearbyen.

Disembarkation in the morning is followed by the transfer to the airport and the flight to Oslo and home.

Dates & Cost

Dates & Cost 2016

 07 July – 20 July, 2016 Ex: Longyearbyen 14 Days

 

Triple Classic Main Deck Suite Classic Suite Superior Suite Deluxe Suite
USD 7295pp USD 8995pp USD 10,695pp USD 11,495pp USD 13,295pp

 

Premium Suite Owner’s Suite
USD 14,495pp USD 17,595pp

Single Rates are available on request

What’s included

  • Group transfer to the ship on day of embarkation;
  • Group transfer to airport or central location upon disembarkation;
  • Shipboard accommodation;
  • All scheduled landings/excursions (other than optional);
  • Leadership throughout the voyage by our experienced Expedition Leader & Expedition Team;
  • All meals on board throughout the voyage;
  • Tea and coffee station 24 hours daily;
  • A pair of rubber boots on loan for shore landings;
  • Welcome and Farewell cocktails;
  • All port fees;
  • Pre-departure materials;
  • Digital Voyage Log;
  • Emergency Evacuation Insurance to a maximum benefit of US 100,000 per person.

What’s not included

  • Airfare;
  • Visa and passport fees (if applicable);
  • Luggage and trip cancellation insurance;
  • Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages other than those for special events and celebrations;
  • Personal expenses such as laundry and telecommunication charges;
  • Staff gratuities.

Special Conditions

  • In case fuel price increases significantly fuel surcharge may be applied for all bookings.

How to book

To initiate your reservation, please contact us as soon as possible to place an option on the voyage and cabin grade of your choice. The Booking Form is to be signed, completed and returned to Adventure Associates along with your deposit. Reservations are established only when you receive written confirmation and acceptance of the deposit payment and Booking Form.

Vessel

IMAGE-08-480x320Expedition Ship

Sail aboard the luxurious Sea Spirit and you’ll experience the polar regions in grand style.

Carrying a maximum of 114 passengers, this outstanding vessel, approved for polar waters, is equipped with rubber inflatable boats – called RIBs – for shore transfers and cruising, two lounges and a dining room, library/game room, gym and hot tub, satellite phone access in every cabin, email and internet.

SeaSpiritDiningYou have a choice of one King Size bed or two twin beds, in the most spacious cabins in our fleet. All have facilities en suite and exterior views. Deluxe cabins, suites and the Owner’s Suite have private balconies for viewing the extraordinary polar icescape.

SeaSpiritDecks
  • SeaSpiritCabin1Triple – Classic: Picture window right in the hull, two wardrobes, two twins or a king-size bed, a pull out sofa bed (23 sq m average).
  • Main Deck: Minimum of two portholes, two twins or a kingsize bed (20 sq m).
  • Classic: Picture window right in the hull, two wardrobes, two twins or a king-size bed (23 sq m average).
  • Superior: Walk-in closet and a large picture window opening onto an outside walkway, two twins or a king-size bed (22 sq m average).
  • Deluxe: Sliding glass door leading to a private balcony and a walk-in closet, two twins or a kingsize bed (26 sq m average).
  • Suite: Sliding glass door leading to a private balcony, a spacious wardrobe, a large picture window, two twins or a king-size bed (33 sq m average).
  • Owners Suite: Spacious living room SeaSpiritCabin2with game and meeting area, large bathroom with jetted tub, walk-in closet, one king bed, refrigerator, high-definition plasma TV/video player, BOSE stereo system, large sliding glass doors leading to a private sun deck at the bow of the ship.
Crew: 85
Guests: 114
Cabins: 57
Length: 90.6 m
Breath: 15.3 m
Draft: 4.16 m
Propulsion: Diesel – 4,720 horsepower
Ice Class: 1D
Voltage: 110V (North America Sockets)
Speed: 14.5 knots
Registered: Bahamas