We cruise northwards along the west coast of Spitsbergen, stopping at intriguing places like Kongsfjorden or Magdalenefjorden. Kongsfjorden (Kings Bay) is incredibly scenic, the fjord is headed by two giant glaciers. We spend time ashore on the lush tundra amongst the summer flowers and observing the remarkable bird cliffs near the 14th July Glacier, where even a few puffins nest between the cracks in the cliffs. We keep watch for polar bears and Arctic foxes.
As we work our way along the North Coast we explore rarely visited places such as Woodfjorden and Leifdefjorden in search of the mighty polar bear. From Zodiacs we enjoy magnificent views of sweeping glaciers winding their way into the sea. We may walk on smooth raised beach terraces to a magnificent viewpoint or hike in the mountains on the tundra where pretty coloured wildflowers and lichen grows and where reindeer graze. We will all the while be remaining alert for wandering polar bears and their cubs.
Along the east coast of Spitsbergen we enter a different world – a polar desert. If ice conditions allow we will pass south through the narrow Hinlopen Strait; flanked by creamy coloured slabs of rock that are rich in fossils, as we discover for ourselves when we go ashore.
We may visit Alkefjellet, where a series of one hundred metre high dolerite towers are home to millions of Brunnich’s guillemots – the penguins of the north – that occupy every available nook and cranny. Elsewhere we seek out eider ducks and geese, and hope to spot Arctic fox and the beautiful ivory gulls. As our Discovery Scenic Eclipse passes between Spitsbergen and the smaller islands of Barentsoya and Edgeoya, we cross the main polar bear migration route and the beautiful fertile plains of Sundeneset.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner