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Svalbard - The kingdom of the polar bear

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An exciting photo expedition to Svalbard, the home of the polar bears. Two guides lead you through this breathtaking ice landscape in search for polar bears, arctic fox, walrus, reindeer and stunning landscapes. With zodiac boats you will be able to get close and personal with the local wildlife.   

Some highlights of the tour

  • A great chance to see Polar Bears in a magnificent landscape.

  • Visit to Walrus colonies.

  • Arctic foxes and Svalbard Reindeer.

  • Ivory Gulls and other exciting birds. 

  • The use of Zodiacs for going ashore and for getting better angles of photography.

  • Glaciers and pack-ice.

  • Midnight sun.

  • The tour leader will show you their best sites and provide photographic advice to a small like-minded group.

Svalbard

Geographically, Svalbard belongs to Europe, but hardly resembles any other part of the continent. An arctic area, between 74 and 80 degrees north and only 600 km from the North Pole. Svalbard has fantastic environments with glaciers, icebergs and pointy mountains – which have given Svalbard it’s other name – Spitzbergen.

Apart from ice, glaciers and mountains, Svalbard also has arctic tundra, where arctic flowers bloom just during the short summer. Despite it’s isolated location, Svalbard is one of the most accessible arctic regions in the World. This is thanks to the infrastructure developed by Norway around Longyearbyen.

The archipelago has fantastic glaciers, glittering in the sunlight, midnight sun from mid April until the end of the summer, and an interesting wildlife. Svalbard is mostly known for it’s Polar Bears, but also has Walruses, seals, reindeer, arctic foxes and Whales. Arriving in May, when the landscape is still white is a great experience. Most of the snow and ice melts in the summer.

The Svalbard Reindeer roams here. It is a subspecies, adapted to the harsh winter environments. Walruses search for mussels along the beaches, whilst baleen and toothed whales feed in the rich sea currents.

Polar Bears and Walruses can be quite curious and come close. You can never be sure with wild animals, which is important to be aware of. The chance of coming across Polar Bears is good, and the backgrounds for Polar Bear photography are unique.

Our route is not set from start. As we have the use of the whole boat, we also have the freedom to plan depending on weather, ice and animal reports. The boat has Zodiacs for landing, but also for photography from low angles. We will use the Zodiacs to access areas that M/S Origo cannot get to.

Nature and wildlife are the focus of this tour.

Crew, captain and guides all have extensive experience of the arctic, and photography in these special conditions. The crew speak Swedish and English.

The M/S Origo has a capacity for 24 passengers and two guides. We will limit the numbers of passengers to 12. The ship offers six rooms with private shower and WC. Another room has a private WC and shared shower. Other rooms have shared WC and showers. The WC/showers are just outside these rooms.  Beds are made and cabin cleaned daily, or as often as possible. The chef produces delicious food. Nobody goes hungry on this boat.

The photographic tour leader will hold several lectures. During the tour there will be time for photographic workshops, e.g. covering techniques for the next day’s photography, but also looking at image composition and discussing each others images. All in order to take your photography to the next level.

Itinerary

  • Day 0. Arrival in Longyearbyen and transport to hotel on your own. NOTE: This is one day before the travel arrangement begins, to be sure not to miss the ship’s departure. We will organize and offer a guided tour in Longyearbyen’s surroundings in the evening or early in the morning the next day, for those who want, for an additional price.

  • Day 1. Pick-up at the respective hotel in time for check-out, transport of the luggage to the ship and then free time in Longyearbyen until it is time for the ship’s departure, after 4 p.m. Then we sail out of Adventfjorden, and via Isfjorden we probably head north, if we didn’t have better indications to reach polar bears on the eastern side via the southern route. Welcome dinner on board.

  • Day 2-8. Crusing, with a schedule updated daily if necessary. We fully adapt to current and upcoming weather, ice conditions and wildlife sighting reports. We will most likely cruise north of Svalbard and the northeast. In addition to polar bears, we also hope to meet walruses, whales and seals. So this year the walrus colonies are bigger. Photography as long as there is good light, both late evenings and early mornings. Sunrise between 06.40 and 07.40 and sunset between 17.40 and 18.40. Good to have time during the dark part of the day to sort photos, attend lectures and photo shows and also manage to sleep!

  • Day 9. Arrival back in Longyearbyen. The tour ends after breakfast.

 

Fill in the booking form.

Or contact us for inquiries for other dates and other questions.

2023:  14 - 23 September (Fully booked)

2024:  25 Sept. - 3 Oct. (Prices coming soon!)

2025:  1 - 10 May (Prices coming soon)

2025:  Second date coming soon

9 days

Svalbard (Spitsbergen)

12  participants

Shared double bedrooms 

Guided by Frida Hermansson

& Erland Haarberg

From SEK 66.900,- (SEK 10.000,--deposit) Find all options below.

(Approx. € 5630,- or $ 6010,-) 

Longyearbyen Airport

Price includes

  • Accommodation

  • Breakfast, lunch and diners.

  • Transport: All local transport, including the pick-up and drop off at Longyearbyens airport. 

  • Cruise around the Svalbard archipelago

  • Boat trips / excursions.

Single rooms: See below

Price does not include

  • Flights to and from Longyearbyens airport

  • Alcoholic beverages and snacks

  • Insurances. You are responsible for your own traveling and cancellation insurances. 

Prices 2024

 

Share in double cabin, shared shower / WC  SEK 69.900  (1 spot available – female)

Single cabin, shared shower / WC SEK 79.900.

Single cabin, own WC, shared shower SEK 84.900 (FULLY BOOKED!)

Share in double cabin with its own WC / shower SEK 79.900 

Single cabin with its own WC / shower SEK 99.900 

Share in superior cabin on main deck with its own WC / shower SEK 94.900 (FULLY BOOKED!)

Photo equipment
A wide range of subjects will be available to us, from landscapes to mammals and birds. Therefore it is good to bring everything from wide-angle to telephoto lenses. For some of the species we will photograph during the tour we will be able to get really close. This makes wide-angle zooms a perfect lens even for wildlife. Lenses from 70-200 mm up to 500 mm are excellent for the wildlife that we will encounter. To increase focal length you can use a teleconverter.


Snow or rainfall are likely during the tour so bring some protections for your cameras and lenses. If you have two camera bodies, bring both in order not to have to change lenses as much. Tripods will be useful for photographing the birdlife and for while shooting landscapes. Other things you should bring, are:

  • Tripod

  • Plenty of memory cards

  • Plenty of batteries

  • Battery charger

  • Camera bag 

Clothing

Temperature in Svalbard can, at this time of the year, be well below zero degrees C. We recommend that you bring proper winter clothing in layers. Gloves, hats and rain clothes are a must.

Gallery

All images by Staffan Widstrand

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