Whale Safari - Bear Island - South Spitsbergen

Search for whales, seabirds, and other exotic wildlife among the remote islands of Northern Norway and beyond

Cruise route
Title: Whale Safari - Bear Island - South Spitsbergen
Dates:
Tripcode: OTL01b23
Duration: 7 nights
Ship: m/v Ortelius
Embarkation: Bodo
Disembarkation: Longyearbyen
Language: English speaking voyage
More about: Arctic cruises
Bear Island cruises
Svalbard cruises
North Norway cruises
 
Itinerary

PLEASE NOTE: All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on ice, weather, and wildlife conditions. Landings are subject to site availabilities, permissions, and environmental concerns per AECO regulations. Official sailing plans and landing slots are scheduled with AECO prior to the start of the season, but the expedition leader determines the final plan. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises. The average cruising speed of our vessel is 10.5 knots.

From the wild shores of Northern Norway to the bird cliffs of Bear Island to Svalbard's fantastic Bell Sund fjord system, this wildlife-centered expedition gives you the best of both the lower and higher Arctic. You might encounter blue whales, harp seals, kittiwakes, and many more memorable residents of the far north as you explore some of Earth's most dramatically sculpted scenery.

Day 1: Bodø near Saltstraumen

Passing the Arctic Circle and sailing by Skomvaer and Røst, we may see several species of large bird around the mountains of southern Lofoten. Meanwhile we’ll sail among a multitude of small islands in the Norwegian municipality of Bodø, the center of the Nordland province, not far from the famous strait of Saltstraumen. More passengers will join our voyage in Bodø.

Day 2: Searching for sperm whales near Andøya

Today we sail close to the islands of Andøya and Bleiksøya, where we can see a beautiful seabird colony before positioning our ship.

We’ll stop at the head of a submarine canyon roughly 10 km (6.2 miles) west of the northern end of Andøya.

In this active area, sperm whales are known to emerge from depths of up to 1,000 meters (3,300 feet) after half an hour underwater.

Day 3: Under the midnight sun and into the Barents Sea

As we look for more whales and seabirds, we sail north into the Barents Sea. Here we get into the low Arctic waters, where the weather and sea can sometimes be rough.

But the conditions will be worth it, as we should still be able to see many birds on their migration to the islands of Svalbard.

Day 4: The seabird colonies of Bear Island

We arrive at the southeastern end of Bear Island, a great place for viewing large seabird colonies. The nearby nesting cliffs are part of an extensive nature reserve where large ships are not allowed to sail.

But with our Zodiacs, we might be able to cruise near colonies made up chiefly of Brünnichs guillemots and kittiwakes.

Afterward we’ll sail northeast into Sorhamna, where we can get even closer to the seabird cliffs.

Just north of this, in Kvalrossbukta, we will see the remains of a whaling station from early in the previous century.

We might also make a landing in a shallow valley and look for (at a safe distance) great skuas, large seabirds known to be fiercely territorial.

As we continue north along the east side of Bear Island, we may encounter dazzling shoals of drift ice.

Day 5: Sailing among the sea ice

Today we sail along and through sea ice drifting with the east Spitsbergen current.

Near Sørkapp we may sail into Storfjorden to the east of Spitsbergen, where we have a good chance of seeing harp seals from the White Sea molting and lounging on the sea ice.

Bearded seal sightings are also possible here, and the ice edge is a good area to look for fin whales.

Day 6: Land of the Pointed Mountains

If the sea ice is favorable, we’ll start the day by cruising the side fjords of the Hornsund area, taking in all the towering peaks: Hornsundtind rises 1,431 meters (4,695 feet), and Bautaen is a perfect illustration of why early Dutch explorers named the island Spitsbergen, meaning “pointed mountains.” There are 14 sizable glaciers in this spot as well as opportunities for spotting seals, beluga whales, and polar bears.

Day 7: Bell Sund’s flora, fauna, and haunting history

Today we’ll continue to Bell Sund, one of the largest fjord systems in Svalbard.

The ocean currents make this area slightly warmer than other areas in the archipelago, which leads to relatively lush vegetation. Here there are excellent opportunities to enjoy both history and wildlife.

A possibility is Ahlstrandhalvøya, at the mouth of Van Keulenfjorden, where piles of beluga skeletons can be found. These remains of 19th-century whale slaughter are a sad reminder of unrestrained exploitation. Fortunately, belugas were not hunted into extinction, and we have a good chance of coming across a pod.

As an alternative, we might cruise the side fjords of Bellsund, exploring tundra where reindeer like to feed and rock slopes where little auks often nest.

Day 8: There and back again

Every adventure, no matter how great, must eventually come to an end. We disembark in Longyearbyen, taking home memories that will accompany us wherever the next journey lies.

But if you’re still craving additional chances to spot polar bears, stay on board for our seven-night North Spitsbergen voyage, “in search of polar bears & pack ice.”

m/v Ortelius

Fortified for both poles of the planet, the ice-strengthened Ortelius is thoroughly outfitted to provide you an up-close experience of the Arctic and Antarctic. Full ship info »

Cabins & Prices

Quadruple Porthole

Windows Windows Info Info
  • 2 portholes
  • 2 upper / lower berths
  • Private shower & toilet
  • Desk & chair
  • Flatscreen TV
  • Telephone & WiFi (supplemented)
  • Hair dryer
  • Ample storage space
Complete cabin
8400 USD

Price for the complete cabin, fully occupied.

Sharing berth
2100 USD

Share your cabin with others for the best price

Triple Porthole

Windows Windows Info Info
  • 2 portholes
  • 1 upper / lower berth + 1 single lower berth
  • Private shower & toilet
  • Desk & chair
  • Flatscreen TV
  • Telephone & WiFi (supplemented)
  • Hair dryer
  • Ample storage space
Complete cabin
6900 USD

Price for the complete cabin, fully occupied.

Sharing berth
2300 USD

Share your cabin with others for the best price

Twin Porthole

Windows Windows Info Info
  • 2 portholes
  • 2 lower berths
  • Private shower & toilet
  • Desk & chair
  • Flatscreen TV
  • Telephone & WiFi (supplemented)
  • Hair dryer
  • Ample storage space
Complete cabin
4600 USD

Price for the complete cabin, fully occupied.

Single cabin
3910 USD

Price for the complete cabin occupied by 1 person (1.7x the shared rate).

Sharing berth
2300 USD

Share your cabin with others for the best price

Twin Window

Windows Windows Info Info
  • 2 windows
  • 2 lower berths
  • Private shower & toilet
  • Desk & chair
  • Flatscreen TV
  • Telephone & WiFi (supplemented)
  • Hair dryer
  • Ample storage space
Complete cabin
6500 USD

Price for the complete cabin, fully occupied.

Single cabin
5525 USD

Price for the complete cabin occupied by 1 person (1.7x the shared rate).

Sharing berth
3250 USD

Share your cabin with others for the best price

Twin Deluxe

Windows Windows Windows Info Info
  • 3 windows
  • 2 lower berths
  • Private shower & toilet
  • Desk & chair
  • Small sofa
  • Refrigerator
  • Coffee & tea maker
  • Flatscreen TV
  • Telephone & WiFi (supplemented)
  • Hair dryer
  • Ample storage space
Complete cabin
7000 USD

Price for the complete cabin, fully occupied.

Single cabin
5950 USD

Price for the complete cabin occupied by 1 person (1.7x the shared rate).

Sharing berth
3500 USD

Share your cabin with others for the best price

Superior

Windows Windows Info
  • 2 windows (minimum)
  • 1 double bed
  • 1 single (sofa) bed
  • Private shower & toilet
  • Desk & chair
  • Flatscreen TV
  • Telephone & WiFi (supplemented)
  • Refrigerator
  • Coffee & tea maker
  • Hair dryer
  • Ample storage space
Complete cabin
7800 USD

Price for the complete cabin, fully occupied.

Single cabin
6630 USD

Price for the complete cabin occupied by 1 person (1.7x the shared rate).

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