Svalbard Polar Bear Photo Tour

Svalbard Polar Bear Photo Tour – In August 2020, we offer a photography expedition to the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, located deep within the Arctic Circle. One of our main goals will be to find and photograph Polar Bears in its natural habitat out on the pack ice and Svalbard has historically been one of the most reliable places to photograph bears.

Together with the captain and our expedition leader, we will decide upon the best strategy to find and photograph Polar Bears on sea ice along with other charismatic Arctic wildlife, such as Walrus. Our success will depend on the ice condition and its location. In some years the ice is just off the northern tip of Svalbard while in other years it has retreated too far north to make it possible to sail there. In the case of the latter, we will search for Polar Bears that are on land in the northeastern part of the archipelago, where they are sometimes seen hunting on ice in front of glaciers. This is an expedition into a changeable environment and the element of surprise. The discovery of what wildlife is found where and when is a major part of the Svalbard experience.

The High Arctic is a place to inspire the imagination. Nowhere is it more accessible than the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, located deep within the Arctic Circle.

  • Normally between 10 and 20 Polar Bears are seen and photographed on each expedition. 
  • We have a 24hour look-out for Polar Bears, so any time of the day, or night we can expect to have a Polar Bear shoot when the opportunity arises
  • Wildlife we hope to photograph: Polar Bears, Reindeers, Arctic Foxes, Seals, Walruses & birdlife, some of them are unique to the high north such as Ivory Gulls, Rock Ptarmigan, & Geese.
  • Sometimes whales are in the area, such as Blue whale, Fin whale and Humpbacks, but not promised.
  • Normally the seas we sail around Svalbard are smooth as there are sheltered fjords, but some crossings rougher seas can be expected. This is nothing to worry about though, not dangerous, but a patch or sea sickness pills are suggested if people are not used to boats.

Svalbard Polar Bear Photo Tour – Dates & availability

June 14-24th, 2019 (3.spots – with Daniel Bergmann)
August 4-14th, 2020 (available)

Your Photography Guides in Svalbard 2020

Skarpi Thrainsson
Daniel Bergmann
In our Svalbard Photo Tour, you have access to two Photography Guides along with Svalbard’s most experienced expedition leader.

Svalbard Polar Bear Photo Tour – Outline

The cost for the expedition is from $12,450 (USD) for a berth in a twin share cabin with shared facilities. All meals are included but drinks (other than water, tea and coffee) are excluded. The meals onboard shall consist of breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea/coffee and two-course dinner (three-course dinner the last evening). Coffee and tea will be available 24 hours a day. The mealtimes shall be held at regular times, but the catering crew has been informed that photography has priority on this expedition and flexibility is necessary

Physical Ability: The tour is open to all ability levels

Getting to SvalbardSAS and Norwegian fly to Longyearbyen in Svalbard from Oslo. We strongly recommend you arrive in Longyearbyen at least one day before the ship departs in case of lost luggage or delayed flights. There are a number of nice hotels in Longyearbyen and day tours can be taken out of town with local operatorsPlease contact Arctic Exposure for questions or assistance booking international flights (flights not included) at info@arcticexposure.is

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How to book Svalbard Polar Bear Photo Tour

Deposit: $3,000 deposit is paid at the time of booking to secure your place. A further $5,000 is due February 2020 and the balance is due before May 2020.
Price: from $12,450 USD
Maximum number of participants: 12

$13,500 Cabins 9, 10, 25, 26, and 30: Single cabins with private bathroom and shower
$12,750 Cabins 22, 23, 24, 27: Single cabins with shared bathroom and shower
$13,000 per person Cabin 31: Twin cabin with private bathroom and shower
$12,450 per person Cabin 21: Twin cabin with shared bathroom and shower

Included in the price:
Photography guiding by professional photographers and crew services
10 nights of accommodation aboard the ship
Water coffee/tea ad libitum
The meals onboard shall consist of breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea/coffee and two-course dinner (three-course dinner the last evening).
Photography instructions and critique on demand from two highly experienced photo leaders along with Svalbard’s most experienced expedition leader.
Daily excursions by Zodiac (only six guests per Zodiac)
Lectures, briefings and shoreside interpretations
Magnificent scenery and wonderful wildlife encounters
Great company and safe and friendly travel

Not Included:
International flights  – please contact Arctic Exposure office for any assistance.
Mandatory Insurance – participants will require individual travel insurance.
Alcoholic drinks & any other drinks not mentioned above
Customary tips for crew and staff
Anything else not specified as included

 

Svalbard Polar Bear Photo Tour
Svalbard Polar Bear Photo Tour

 

Our flexible itinerary

Upon leaving the small town of Longyearbyen we will know what we will aim for but our plans will change with what we find and with the ice and weather we encounter. Although Polar Bears will be high on our list of photography subjects, the full Svalbard experience is about so much more than the iconic Arctic predator. We will have 10 days to explore the islands and with the crew that is able to operate the ship around the clock, we can cover a great deal of terrain if we so choose.

Svalbard Polar Bear Photo Tour
Svalbard Polar Bear Photo Tour

 

What to expect

Svalbard is situated at about 80 degrees north, so we schedule the expedition in accordance with prevailing weather and ice conditions. Even if it normally will be some changes in the planned itinerary this route cover the main areas we will visit. In August the drift ice edge can be situated further north and usually we spend time there searching for mainly Polar Bears.

Svalbard is situated at 78-79 degrees north and you are in the High Arctic when you arrive there. The weather is constantly changing at these latitudes. Please study the information about clothing and travels to Svalbard. During our expedition, you can expect to see wildlife as Polar Bears, Walruses, Seals, Whales, Arctic Foxes, Svalbard Reindeer and a variety of bird species that are common in these Arctic regions. Sometimes we do long transport legs of sailing and sometimes we stay in one spot experiencing and photographing nature and wildlife.

Svalbard Polar Bear Photo Tour

 

The Expedition Ship – M/S Origo

M/S Origo is a traditional ship. She was built 1955 at Finnboda shipyard in Sweden for the Swedish Maritime administration as an ice-strengthen Pilot ship. She was on duty for the Administration until 1983, when she was sold and chartered out as a school ship. This is still her employment during the winter season. Many young sailors have got their maritime education on the M/S Origo throughout the years.

At the beginning of the 90´s, the vessel was carefully refurbished and rebuilt to an expedition ship with space for 24 passengers. Since then she has been cruising in the Arctic waters around Svalbard every summer. Hebrides’ and the Norwegian fjords are other favourite places. 2016 she will celebrate her 25th year as an expedition ship.

M/S Origo is in spite of her old fashion charm, equipped with the latest navigation and security equipment. She is thoroughly maintained and in good condition. Every year she is going through all safety inspections with the Swedish Maritime Administration

Technical facts M/S Origo

  • Length 40m
  • Breadth 8, 8 m
  • Depth 3, 5 m
  • Tonnage 368 GT
  • Electrical system 220v
  • Speed 10, 5 knots
  • Ice strengthen according to
  • Lloyds highest ice class

 

$13,500 Cabins 9, 10, 25, 26, and 30: Single cabins with private bathroom and shower
$12,750 Cabins 22, 23, 24, 27: Single cabins with shared bathroom and shower
$13,000 per person Cabin 31: Twin cabin with private bathroom and shower
$12,500 per person Cabin 21: Twin cabin with shared bathroom and shower

 

 

Svalbard Polar Bear Photo Tour – Places we may visit

Ice & time permitting, include:

Kongsfjorden, a scenic fjord complex of dramatic mountains and sweeping glaciers,
housing Bearded and Ringed Seals, much flor, bird colonies and several options for shore landings.

NW Spitsbergen, an area of great beauty with glaciers, pointed mountain peaks and
many islands and inlets. Here we often see Polar Bears, Walrus, Harbour Seals, Beluga
Whales and many birds.

Liefdefjorden, a majestic fjord area with large glacier fronts, Polar Bears, numerous bird species, and frequently Beluga and Minke Whales.

Hinlopenstretet, which is often frequented by large baleen whales, houses Walrus, and
boasts the largest accessible auk colony on a spectacular vertical cliff face.
Seven Islands, the northernmost part of Svalbard, a truly spectacular icy home for Walrus and Polar Bears.

White Island, the easternmost part of Svalbard, as remote as anywhere you will ever get.

Bråsvellbreen, the northern hemisphere’s longest ice wall, at this time of year with
numerous waterfalls pouring off it.

Edgeøya, a large island offering numerous options for hikes across lush tundra plains,
studying flowers, breeding birds, Arctic Fox and Svalbard Reindeer – and often larger
mammals too.

Hornsund, massive glacier fronts and dramatic scenery, with colonies of various bird
species and Ringed and Bearded Seals dotting the fast-ice, attracting Polar Bears.

Svalbard Polar Bear Photo Tour
Svalbard Polar Bear Photo Tour
Svalbard Polar Bear Photo Tour
Svalbard Polar Bear Photo Tour

 

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