Arctic Basecamp Adventure
Arctic, Svalbard, Polar, 10 days - from £2,995 (land only) - from €4,195 (land only) - from $4,970 (land only)
Day 1: Meet at the rendezvous point in Longyearbyen. KE Land Only package services begin with a single, timed transfer to the ship. We embark the M/V Plancius and settle into our cabins. We have a briefing with the expedition staff and leaders. We sail in the evening.
Day 2: This morning we awake in Krossfjorden, where we have our first Zodiac excursion to see the '14th of July' Glacier. In the afternoon we sail to Ny Alesund, the world's most northerly settlement. Close to the village is a breeding ground for Barnacle Goose, Pink-footed Goose and Arctic Tern. It was from this village that Amundsen and Nobile made their balloon flights to the North Pole.
Day 3: On the offshore island of Ytre Norskoya, we visit a 17th a century Dutch whaling station. The island's bird life is prolific, with colonies of Little Auk, Black Guillemot, Brunnich's Guillemot, Puffins and Arctic Skua accessible to visitors. We also visit Raudfjord on the north coast of West Spitsbergen, a beautiful fjord dominated by spectacular glaciers and favoured by Ringed and Bearded Seal.
Day 4: Today the ship will remain at anchor in the Raudfjord system, with ample opportunities for kayaking and hiking (with or without snowshoes) on short or long walks (easy, moderate and challenging hikes are on offer).
Day 5: Depending on the weather we may now sail to the mouth of Liefdefjorden and go ashore for a walk on the tundra island of Andoya. Many Common Eider and Pink-footed Geese nest here, and the rarer King Eider may also be seen. We hope to sail into Liefdefjorden, cruising near the 5km long face of the impressive Monaco Glacier. There will be further opportunities for kayaking, and short to longer hikes.
Day 6: At Bockfjord there are warm water springs with colourful sediments, close to the shore and about 10 km inland and here we can climb a dormant volcano. This is about the warmest area of Spitsbergen with stands of Cassiope and Dryas vegetation. This will be another day full of Basecamp activities including kayaking and hiking.
Day 7: We sail into Hinlopen Strait, home to Bearded Seal, Ringed Seal, Polar Bear, and Ivory Gulls. We will navigate the ice floes of Lomfjordshalvoya in our zodiacs and explore the bird cliffs of Alkefjellet where thousands of Brünnich's Guillemot nest. We can attempt a landing at Palanderbukta on Nordaustlandet, home to reindeer, Pink-footed Goose, Ivory Gull, and Walrus.
Day 8: Today we will reach the northernmost islands of Svalbard, the Seven Islands north of Nordaustlandet. We will attempt to land on Phippsoya where the walrus haul out on land. We will then try to find the pack ice to hunt for Polar bear and perhaps even the illusive Ross gull. We hope to reach 81 degrees north - just 540 km from the geographic North Pole.
Day 9: Landing at the northern tip of Prins Karls Forland, we hope to see the only population of Harbour Seal in Spitsbergen. Alternatively, we will sail into Isfjorden and land at Alkhornet. We should see lots of wildlife today including walrus, Arctic Fox and Spitsbergen Reindeer. In the afternoon we cruise through beautiful Borebukta, following a glacier front before continuing towards Longyearbyen.
Day 10: We disembark in Longyearbyen, the administrative centre of Spitsbergen and transfer to the aiport where KE Land Only package services end.