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Expedition Journal I Svalbard Photo Tour I 6th - 13th May 2023

Expedition Journal I Natural Wonders of Svalbard Photo Tour I 6th – 13th May 2023

Voyage

Natural Wonders of Svalbard Photo Tour

Date

6th May – 13th May 2023

Ship

MV Explorer

Expedition Team

Mette Eliseussen, John Rodsted, Florian Ledoux

6th May 2023

Welcome on board!

At 9 p.m., we depart from Longyearbyen and head towards Nordenskjold Breen. As we approach the shore south of Scansbukta, we spot a polar bear walking along the coastline. We maintain a safe distance of 2 cables or more from the bear while observing it from the ship. However, the peaceful scene quickly changes when the bear’s attention shifts to a young reindeer nearby. We watch the chase unfold, witnessing the bear catch and eat the young reindeer. Following this incredible encounter, we continue our journey towards Bellsund, setting sail at midnight.

landscape in Svalbard

7th May 2023

We arrive at Bellsund at 9 a.m. and sail into the southern arm until we reach the edge of the fast ice. Before reaching our destination, we briefly stop to admire a group of walrus from the ship, observing them in their natural habitat. Continuing our journey, we sail towards Reicharge Fjord and drop anchor off at Snatcherpynten. At 02.30 p.m, two zodiacs are launched, and we embark on an exciting cruise around the drifting pack ice. We are fortunate to encounter numerous walrus, witnessing their impressive presence and behaviour up close.

walrus in Svalbard

8th May 2023

We reach Lilliehöök Glacier at 9 a.m., greeted by a perfect day with favourable weather conditions. The expedition team launches the zodiacs, allowing us to embark on a breathtaking cruise through the bay and along the glacier. The zodiacs manoeuvre through the icy waters, offering us an up-close encounter with the awe-inspiring beauty of the glacier and its surroundings. During the cruise, we encounter walruses on ice floes, as well as curious harbor seals. These encounters provide us with a glimpse into the rich marine life that thrives in this Arctic ecosystem. After a memorable morning exploring the bay and glacier, we return to the ship at 11.45 a.m. Following a delicious lunch, at 02.30 p.m, we once again set out on zodiacs, this time to explore Signehamna. We cruise in zodiacs around the area. Eventually, we reach a landing spot and disembark, taking a short walk using snowshoes to the vantage point that provides a magnificent view of Lilliehöök Glacier from a different perspective.

zodiac cruise Svalbard

9th May 2023

We set sail towards the ice edge east of Raudfjord and arrive at 3 p.m. Our mission is to search the ice edge for wildlife, as we plan to make our way west towards Smeerenburg. Leaving the ice edge behind, we sail towards the southern entrance of Smeerenburg. The passage is free of ice, allowing us to enter easily. We discover a vast, ice-free area south of Danskoya. The weather is on our side, providing blue skies and allowing us to revel in the breathtaking landscapes surrounding us. As the day progresses, we set our course towards Magdalene Fjord for an evening zodiac cruise. During the cruise, we are fortunate to encounter a variety of wildlife: walruses, harbor seals, King Eiders and reindeer wandering along the shoreline.

dropping zodiacs Svalbard Explorer

10th May 2023

We arrive at Kongsfjord in the early morning. From there, we sail towards Ossan Sars, a location known for its impressive bird cliffs. To explore this remarkable area, we embark on a memorable zodiac cruise along the southern side of the cliffs.

During the cruise, we encounter a variety of Arctic wildlife. We spot reindeer, Arctic foxes and then, a thrilling moment —a polar bear walking along the shoreline. We observe in awe as the bear eventually makes its way onto the sea ice, disappearing into the vast Arctic expanse.

In the afternoon, we enjoy a ship cruise around Bloomstrandhalvoya, although the weather is rather dull and cloudy. Later, we dock alongside Ny Alesund, the northernmost research settlement of the world. We take the opportunity to explore the town, wandering its streets and indulging in some shopping. The highlight of our visit is a fascinating history presentation conducted by the mast.

polar bear Svalbard

11th May 2023

At 9.30 a.m, we land at Poolpynten, disembarking approximately 300 meters away from a group of walruses. Due to heavy snow, we walk along the beach, taking advantage of the receding tide. We are rewarded with views of eight walruses.

After our time at Poolpynten, we set sail towards St. Jonsfjorden. By 1.30 p.m, we enter the fjord, following the north shore until we reach the fast ice. The ship cruises along the edge of the ice, offering us stunning views of the Arctic landscape. We are fortunate to spot an Arctic fox from the ship. As we round the southern head of the fjord, another polar bear emerges, successfully hunting, catching, and killing a reindeer.

Our ship continues its course, sailing towards Tryghamna, where we anchor for a peaceful night.

zodiac cruise Svalbard

12th May 2023

At 9 a.m, we depart from Tryghamna and embark on a picturesque journey along the north shore of Isfjord. From the comfort of the ship, we see reindeer onshore. As the day progresses and we sail south of Scansbukta, we witness another polar bear hunting and successfully killing a reindeer, making this the third such encounter on our trip. 

At 9 p.m, we dock back in Longyearbyen, bringing our journey to an end. Svalbard has left an indelible mark on our hearts and minds, forever reminding us of the unique and awe-inspiring wonders of this Arctic destination.

bear hunting reindeer Svalbard

Wildlife Report

May 06, 2023

Scansbukta
Polar Bear walking along the coastline, catching and eating a young reindeer

May 07, 2023

Bellsund
Group of Walrus

Snatcherpynten
Numerous Walrus

May 08, 2023

Lilliehöök Glacier
Walrus on ice, Harbor Seals

May 09, 2023

Magdalenefjorden
Walrus, Harbor Seals, King Eider and Reindeer wandering along the shoreline

May 10, 2023

Ossan Sars
Bird cliffs, Reindeer, Arctic Foxes, Bear walking along the shoreline

May 11, 2023

Poolpynten
8 Walrus on the beach

St. Jonsfjorden
Arctic fox, another Polar Bear successfully hunting, caching and killing a Reindeer

May 12, 2023

Isfjorden
Reindeer walking along the shoreline, another Polar Bear hunting and successfully killing a Reindeer

Itinerary

Itinerary Photo Tour 23-SVA-01

May 06, 2023

Longyearbyen, Nordenskjold Breen, Scansbukta

May 07, 2023

Bellsund. Reicharge Fjord, Snatcherpynten

May 08, 2023

Lilliehöök Glacier, Signehamna

May 09, 2023

Raudfjord, Smeerenburg, Danskoya, Magdalenefjorden

May 10, 2023

Kongsfjorden, Ossan Sars, Bloomstrandhalvoya, Ny Alesund

May 11, 2023

Poolpynten, St. Jonsfjorden, Tryghamna

May 12, 2023

Tryghamna, north shore of Isfjord, Scansbukta, Longyearbyen

May 13, 2023

Longyearbyen

Sea Ice Charts

Sea Ice Chart 05-05
Sea Ice Chart 15-05

Thank you for exploring with us!

Group photo Photo Tour

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