Spitsbergen & Franz Josef Land

Arctic Archipelagos: Spitsbergen and Franz Josef Land.

July 2017 dates to be announced soon.

An amazing wildlife holiday, fully escorted by Peter Jones ARPS DPAGB with Wildwatch Tours in conjunction with Poseiden Expeditions. This is a new and exciting destination and not to be missed and will give us some of the best opportunities to see and photograph Polar Bears and other Arctic wildlife around Spitsbergen and Franz Josef Land.
In the far north of Russia is the icy realm of Franz Josef Land, one of the most remote and raw archipelagos in the world. Discovered less than 150 years ago, it is comprised of about 192 islands and is home to the walrus, polar bear, seal, arctic fox and beluga whale, as well as rich birdlife. Now considered a nature reserve within the Russian Arctic National Park administration, it is visited by few people, and the landscapes of the islands are still dotted with relics from famous explorers of the past.
Day-by-Day Expedition in Brief
Zodiac landings provide access to seldom visited sites. Experience quintessential arctic wildlife, including walrus, whales and polar bears. On board lecturers and educational presentations from Poseiden Expeditions’ polar experts. Opportunity to spot polar wildlife, including some of the 50 species of seabirds such as the little auk, the Arctic’s ‘penguin of the north.
home to thousands of sea birds such as nesting kittiwakes. Have your binoculars and cameras ready for this impressive sight. You’ll also visit a derelict polar station in the bay. Be on the watch for bowhead whales in this area too!
Day 1. Longyearbyen (WestSpitsbergen, Svalbard), embarkation. A small town Longyearbyen, the administrative
centre of the Spitsbergen archipelago, is a starting point of our expedition. You may visit Polar Museum, it will be a good start of your great arctic adventure. Embark the Sea Spirit in the afternoon and keep an eye for our possible first whales as we sail out of Isfjorden.
Day 2-3. Along the coasts of Spitsbergen. As the main goal of our voyage is the remote Franz Josef Land archipelago our activities at Spitsbergen depend on weather \ice conditions and real schedule of the expedition. If we have time and good weather conditions we may visit some most interesting sites along the coast of Spitsbergen.
Day 4-10. Franz Josef Land Archipelago.
We spend the next several days exploring the most fascinating, remote and hard-to-reach islands of the Russian Arctic. All our activities here strongly depend on ice and weather conditions. The list of our possible landings includes: Bell Island is named after the bell-shaped mountain, which dominates the island and is a symbol of the whole archipelago. The name was given by the British Leigh Smith Expedition. We may visit the well-preserved house built by the members of the Expedition in 1880. We hope to go on discovering the history of Arctic Exploration at Cape Flora, Northbrook Island. Here Leigh Smith and his crew had to spend 10 months after their steam yacht Eira had been crushed by ice and sunk near the coast. For 3 years – from 1894 to 1897 – the base of Frederick George Jackson British Expedition was placed at the area. The members of this expedition had made a great contribution to the exploration of the archipelago. Cape Flora is also the place where the memorable encounter of Jackson and Nansen took place. Several monuments and crosses bear witness of these historical events. Apart from the historic sites Cape Flora is famous for its thick carpets of mosses of deep red, green and yellow. The towering cliffs at the southern part of Cape Flora are home for the huge sea birds colony. Arctic foxes are also frequent guests here. We may visit an abandoned polar station at Tikhaya Bay on Hooker Island. The station was in function from 1929 to 1959. It was the first soviet research base and the northernmost one in the world. The site is well preserved. Tikhaya Bay is also famous for its huge cliff Rubini Rock which is a shelter for thousands of sea birds. If we are successful at Alger Island we go on discovering the history of Arctic Exploration. We plan to visit a wintering place of the American Arctic Expedition headed by A. Baldwin. If weather permits we cruise aboard our zodiacs among drifting icebergs. Here we also have good chances for polar bears encounters. Cape Tegetthoff at Hall Island is a favourite site for photographers: huge cliffs resembling a shark’s dorsal fins submerge in the sea. We plan a landing at the cape to watch the remains of the wooden structures built by the American Wellman Expedition of 1898-1899 aimed to reach the North Pole. We often meet polar bears at this area. At the southern tip of Wilczek Island there is a  lonely grave of the machinist Otto Krisch, who was a member of the Austro-Hungarian North Pole Expedition of Payer and Weyprecht. The expedition had failed in conquering the Pole but accidentally discovered the unknown land, which they named Franz Josef Land. At Cape Heller on Wilczek Land there are the remains of the Wellman Expedition’s supply base. In 1898 two members of the expedition stayed here to secure the base. In 1899 one of them died here and was buried at the cape. As everywhere on Franz Josef Land we are very likely to witness polar bears and sea mammals during our landing. If we succeed in reaching the Cape Fligely on Rudolf Island we will get to the northernmost point of our expedition and…of the Eastern Hemisphere. There are some historic crosses at the area. Enjoy glacial landscapes and ivory gulls’ sites. At Stolichki and Appolonova isles we hope to observe walrus grounds. The site counted more than 600 of Atlantic walruses is unique. We patrol the coasts aboard our zodiacs and the animals often come close to our boats. Here we also may watch ivory gulls. Cape Norway at Jackson Island is a place where the famous Norwegian explorers Fridtjof Nansen and Hjalmar Johansen wintered in 1895-96 after failing to reach the North Pole. Their hut still remains here. Polar bears often roam nearby. Near the coasts we often encounter narwhals and beluga whales. Champ – most say – is the most beautiful island of the archipelago. The landscape of Champ is awesome: on the ice-capped cliffs, which are the highest on Franz Josef Land, thousands of birds find their shelter. Red, yellow and green mosses contrast dramatically with white and blue of the nearby glaciers. At Champ we discover the unique nature phenomenon: the stones of regular spherical shape from 3 mm to 3 m in diameter.
Day 11-13. On the way back to Longyearbyen. Again our activities on the way back to Longyearbyen depend on weather \ice conditions and real schedule of the expedition. We hope to implement some landings at the coast of Spitsbergen to compare these two Arctic archipelagos – Spitsbergen and Franz Josef Land.
Day 14. Disembarkation in Longyearbyen (West Spitsbergen, Svalbard). Our adventures finish in the port of Longyearbyen. Disembarkation in the morning is followed by the transfer to the airport and the flight to Oslo and home to UK.

July 7-20 2016

July 30 – August 12 2016

Prices from 6,566.00 USD.

 What’s included.
Zodiac landings provide access to seldom visited sites.
On board lecturers and educational presentations.
13 days on board our ship with full board.

What’s not included.
Flights to and from Longyearbyen.        Price guide £550.00.
Our Hotel in Longyearbyan.                    Price guide £120.00 B&B.
Alcoholic drinks.
To be booked with Travel Counsellors for your ATOL protection.

Destination Tour Name Start Date End Date Group Size Places Available
Arctic Spitsbergen & Franz Josef Land

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