Whether you are exploring a polar region for the first time or have already conquered the Antarctic, the archipelago of Svalbard offers untouched Arctic wilderness, unique wildlife, and a fascinating history of trappers, whalers, and explorers. On the Arctic Wildlife Safari, we came across fascinating landscapes and creatures.
A quick three-hour flight brought me from Oslo to Longyearbyen, where I spent the day exploring the local shops, museums, art gallery, and northernmost brewery. This mining town is the gateway to Svalbard and was the perfect place to rest and recharge before embarking on the Sea Spirit for my expedition cruise.
Our first morning greeted us with incredible views and icebergs. We took our first Zodiac cruise through a sea of magnificent blue icebergs and made our way toward the Negribreen Glacier where we got to experience our first of many calving events.
Throughout our trip we had some great land excursions and hikes that took us through snow, mud, and rocky terrain but always rewarded us with breathtaking views. Some travelers had the opportunity to kayak and take in Svalbard from a different perspective.
Thanks to the help and expertise of our fantastic expedition team, we had incredible wildlife encounters: reindeer were abundant, seals were playful, and the seabirds seemed to surround us throughout our journey. We even had a few polar bear sightings from our Zodiacs!
The walrus encounters were by far my favorite. They are so playful and swift in the water, but once they come on land, they move at a slow and somewhat awkward pace. I had so much fun watching and photographing these unique animals.
We had the opportunity to visit Ny-Ålesund, a former mining town and launch pad for North Pole air expeditions. We had incredible weather and stunning views during our tour of this Arctic research town.
One of most incredible things about an expedition in the Arctic is the chance to experience the unpredictable weather. One morning we woke to clear blue skies and in the same afternoon we were taking a Zodiac cruise in the snow and walking on the ice—true Arctic weather!
My expedition cruise in Svalbard was a truly incredible experience. I was blown away by the stunning landscape and ever changing layers of texture of color and would recommend this trip to anyone looking for a unique adventure!
—Text and photos by WT staff Denise Santos, Arctic Wildlife Safari.