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OTL09-22, trip log, Around Spitsbergen, In the realm of Polar Bear & Ice

by Oceanwide Expeditions

Logbook

Day 1: Embarkation, Longyearbyen

Embarkation, Longyearbyen
Date: 22.07.2022
Position: 78°14.1‘N, 015°37.8‘E
Wind: NW1
Weather: cloudy
Air Temperature: +9

After a long-awaited departure (a few years for some of us) we finally land in Longyearbyen, the largest settlement in the Arctic Archipelago of Svalbard. The pull of the Arctic; its varied landscapes, history, the fascination of ice, flora and fauna plagued by a harsh climate, the anticipation of encountering wildlife and birds only seen in the Arctic draws visitors from all corners of our planet. Our ship for the next 9 days, the M/V Ortelius, brings us together to explore the pristine environment of the high Arctic. Embarkation day is always an exciting time. The day was a little overcast, but the cooler weather mostly stayed away as Ortelius lay alongside the pier at the Longyearbyen awaiting her next guests. As 4pm came closer, guests started turning up to the pier ready to board until we had all arrived ready for our epic adventure. The expedition staff waited on the peer to welcome us aboard before guiding us to reception to collect our keys and check in. There was much excitement in the air as everyone prepared for the journey ahead and settled onto the vessel. We were encouraged to explore the vessel while the last of the luggage was loaded and the ship prepared to leave. Once all aboard, we were called down to the lecture room to attend the first of several mandatory briefings. The first included a safety briefing from the chief officer and house rules from the hotel manager. The chief officer instructed everyone on what to do in an emergency and how the recognise the various alarms. This included the instructions on what to do in the case of an abandon ship alarm. On completion of the briefings, we were instructed that there would be a practice abandon ship drill and that we were to muster at our assigned muster stations on the sounding of the alarm. Ten minutes later the muster alarm sounded and the we all sprung into action, all arriving at our correct muster stations with our lifejackets in tow. We were then instructed on how to put them on and prepared for the case of an abandon ship. The abandon ship alarm was then sounded and we made our way up to the life boats. The drill went smoothly and after a few photos we were allowed to return to their cabins and back to exploring the various areas of the ship. Half an hour later it was time for the second briefing of the day. This time located in the ships bar where champagne and orange juice were handed out to the guests ready to toast. During the briefing the captain was presented to the guests and made his introduction finishing with a toast to the success of the voyage. Then the guests were handed over to the expedition staff who would be our guides in the wilderness when we leave the ship for excursions. Expedition Leader Pippa introduced herself and then went on to introduce her team which was conducted with much wonderful applause. A multicultural team with a wealth of experience and delightful anecdotes made their introductions. Finally, it was time for dinner, we made our way down to the restaurant for the first time. For the first meal a dinner buffet was prepared with a variety of delicious dishes all designed to delight by the wonderful kitchen staff hiding in the oceanwide kitchen. In the dining room we had an opportunity to meet our new ship mates for the first time and bond over travel stories to Longyearbyen and hopes for what we might see during the voyage. After all were well fed and watered, we were called to one final meeting in the lecture room to collect our boots and landing lifejackets. Essential items for our upcoming zodiac cruises and landings planned for the next week. Groups were called by decks to try on boots and find the best size for all the adventures ahead of us. Finally, with everyone fed, suited and booted, the itinerary ended for the day allowing the us to spend some free time wandering the decks or head to our cabins to recover from the weariness of travel.

Day 2: Ny-Ålesund and Fjortende Julibukta (14th July Bay)

Ny-Ålesund and Fjortende Julibukta (14th July Bay)
Date: 23.07.2022
Position: 78°55.8’ N, 011°55.7’ E
Wind: E
Weather: clear
Air Temperature: +7

Our first full day of expedition cruising officially began with a wake-up call from Expedition Leader (EL) Pippa at 7:15am, but some excited guests were already up and out on deck enjoying the spectacular scenery as we our morning destination of Ny-Ålesund. Going ashore would come later, first we needed our energy for the day’s adventure so we headed for breakfast. Everyone enjoyed helping themselves to a varied buffet with many delicious options whilst the friendly dining room staff served us coffee and tea. After breakfast Pippa delivered the mandatory briefing from AECO (the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators) to inform visitors of responsible behaviour towards the environment, people and wildlife of the Arctic during their visit to this beautiful region. This was followed by briefings regarding zodiac operations and polar bear safety which would come in useful later for our afternoon activities. After the briefings, Pippa gave us information regarding the research settlement of Ny-Ålesund, which would visit this morning, and the stunning area of Fjortende Julibukta (14th July Bay), for our afternoon adventures. Having arrived at the pier in Ny-Ålesund we left Ortelius at 10:15am and relished the opportunity to stretch our legs. This place is the most northern research town in the world where numerous nations have bases conducting fieldwork on a wide range of subjects, from bird life to glaciers to botany. On arrival there was time to wander around within the settlement with several things of interest to see/visit, including the museum, the Amundsen bust statue and the working dog kennels. For those interested in birds, Arctic Terns, Barnacle Geese, Ringed Plover, Black Guillemot, Black-legged Kittiwake and Snow Bunting got our wildlife list off to a start. We also had time to look around in the Kongsfjordbutikken, the settlement’s store, and visit the old post office. Some of us marked our passports with a unique stamp stating the location of the town. A walk to the historic mast was also offered. The mast was built to anchor down the air ship Norge which was used by a team of explorers, including Norwegian hero Roald Amundsen, to cross the North Pole. His achievement is honoured with the presence of the bust memorial in the settlement. Expedition Guide George told the fascinating story of the Norge airship expedition, and later of Italia, and the fates of the explorers involved. At around 12:30am we returned to Ortelius and the bridge crew began navigating us to our next destination. After lunch we had a split activity, this meant that whilst some guests were ashore others enjoyed a zodiac cruise. The expedition crew scouted for polar bears and once the area was confirmed to be safe we were good to go! A perimeter boundary of expedition guides was set up with glaciologist Jakub appropriately positioned at one end, near the glacier, and Miriam at the other end next to the ‘hanging gardens’, an area full of plant life. We saw Svalbard Reindeer munching on vegetation and for the birders Kittiwakes, Little Auks, Brünnich’s Guillemot and Arctic Skua provided interest. The stars of the zodiac cruise were the Atlantic Puffins which could be seen very well on an area of low cliff where they were nesting. After all of us had the opportunity to do both activities it was time to return to Ortelius for the evening recap followed by dinner. What a great first day of our expedition!

Day 3: Monaco Breen, Texas Bar & Moffen Island

Monaco Breen, Texas Bar & Moffen Island
Date: 24.07.2022
Position: 79°32.6’ N, 012°30.3’ E
Wind: WSW
Weather: Fog
Air Temperature: +8

Our day started with a wonderful breakfast in the restaurant to prepare ourselves for the adventures of the day. The morning was cold and foggy but the sight of the icebergs drifting eerily in the mist only added to the sense of expedition. Behind the icebergs and brash ice loomed the enormous ice cliffs of the glaciers of Monoco Breen. Ten zodiacs were dropped and we prepared to board for our zodiac cruise of the glacier front and surrounding icebergs. Firstly, our guides navigated the zodiacs through the brash ice to get a closer look at some of the amazing icebergs closer to the ship. They had such a range of colour and shape making each one unique and fascinating to study up close. They could be white, blue, clear or in some cases even reddish or grey with the moraine from the hillside. One of the icebergs was providing a great resting spot for a group of Kittiwakes who called to us from high up on their icy perch. Our guides then drifted us past the three main glacial fronts, they were colossal in size. One was up to 14 kilometres wide! As we drifted past we heard many rumblings as parts of the glacial came crashing down into the harbour we were navigating. Some of these were large and caused small waves that jostled our zodiac. After two hours it was time to go back to the ship for some lunch. Our guides battled the brash ice and larger pieces of ice to get us back safely to Ortelius just in time to warm up with a hearty meal. During lunch the Ortelius repositioned herself across from Monoco Breen to a new location called Texas Bar. Here we were to have a landing and an opportunity to stretch our legs on a short, medium or long walk. The guides went out early in the zodiacs to scout the area for polar bears. Upon deciding it was safe, we were all brough to shore to join our hike leaders. The long hikers were led by George over hill and dale to ensure that we were well and truly exercised. We stopped briefly at a beautiful waterfall and on top of a large hill before forging forward. Both medium and short hikers also enjoyed their hikes taking many opportunities to photograph the beautiful scenery before them. The valley was covered in beautiful green moss and purple flowers and a small hunter’s cabin viewed the bay from the hillside. All hikers finished their respective hikes at the landing site ready to head back to Ortelius for recap and then dinner. We had worked up quite an appetite with all the hiking! We returned to the ship, doffed our outdoor gear, then headed up to the bar to meet the guides once more for recap. Jacob gave a wonderful recap about his work in glaciology and the future of our dear glaciers. Then Expedition Leader Pippa sprang a surprise on us. After dinner we would cruise past a small island filled with walrus! This would be our first opportunity to see them. We filed down to the restaurant with great excitement, we would reach the little island called Moffen around 9:30. So we ate heartily and dressed again for the outdoors ready to view the walrus from the decks. By this time the sun had finally decided to grace us with its presence, and we were treated to a sunlit view of the dozing walrus on the shore. The ship motored gently past as close as it could so we could view them with our cameras and binoculars. What an exciting and varied day we had! As we started to head to the next destination, we finally doffed our outdoor gear for the final time that day then headed to bed ready for tomorrow’s adventure.

Day 4: Sjuøyane (Seven Islands)

Sjuøyane (Seven Islands)
Date: 25.07.2022
Position: 80°40.5‘N, 020°17.9‘E
Wind: NE
Weather: partly cloudy
Air Temperature: +7

Overnight we sailed to the northernmost islands of Svalbard – the Seven Islands! Very few people reach this remote and harsh destination. The land is truly barren with hardly any vegetation, but its richness is not necessarily in the plant life, but in its fauna. The impression of hostile environment was magnified by foggy and humid weather, with dense clouds forming over the surrounding peaks. Our Expedition Leader Pippa woke us up via the PA with a promise of a landing or a zodiac cruise along the shore of Phippsøya, a small island named after a British explorer Constantine John Phipps, who visited it in 1773. The expedition team scouted the area just after breakfast in search for a potential polar bear threat and other wildlife sightings. During their scouting trip they found us a group of walruses. At 9:00 we were ready to join the photographic walrus safari. After yesterday’s long-distance sighting at Moffen it was amazing to see walruses from close! Chilly weather and lunchtime made us say goodbye to these wonderful animals and set track back to Ortelius at noon. During the lunch a sudden announcement from Pippa electrified the whole ship – the officers on the bridge had spotted a Polar Bear! The team immediately changed the original day schedule and at 13:00 we were again ready for zodiac embarkation. We patiently waited and observed how the crew sets the flotilla of ten zodiacs back on the water, whilst trying to keep bear in sight, some hundreds of metres away. From time to time it disappeared behind a boulder or a big gravelly ridge near the beach, but then reappeared, which made us all happy and excited to soon see the King of the Arctic eye to eye. We embarked the zodiacs around 13:30-14:00 and headed towards him. The large male bear crawled lightly on weathered rocks and boulders covering a steep mountain slope as if it was a Sunday walk in a park. We were all excited, as some of us doubted that we would see it at all. Then the bear laid down just at the shore and for over half an hour we took thousands of photographs. At one point a group of walrus females and pups drop by to say “hello” to the bear and played peacefully in the sea, extending their heads and tusks high above the water. Both species could now be pictured on a single frame, merely 50 metres from each other – could there be any more iconic postcard from an Arctic expedition? The bear, now apparently relaxed, moved again along the shore. We followed his route very calmly and soon slowly turned back towards the ship. On our way back we met several other groups of walruses, some of them popping out of the water just 40 metres from us, all of which have been well portrayed with our camera lenses. Before 16:00 we were back onboard Ortelius, so happy to encounter the two most iconic arctic animals on a single cruise! Soon after arrival our expedition guide Hazel gave us a great lecture about polar bears, their biology and adaptations, and just before the lunch the Assistant Expedition Leader George made an entertaining talk about the geopolitical arctic aspirations of Iceland. At 19:00 we enjoyed another delicious dinner by our chefs and most of us went to bed early. Firstly, because of the very emotional wildlife sightings, but secondly because early in the morning we are about to cross the sea ice edge on the Arctic Ocean!

Day 5: Pack-ice!

Pack-ice!
Date: 26.07.2022
Position: 82°05.5’ N, 015°12.3’ E
Wind: NE
Weather: Cloudy
Air Temperature: +5

When we awoke this morning it felt like we had arrived in another world. In the early morning Ortelius had reached the edge of the sea ice and we would spend the day journeying through it! Huge, flat pieces of ice split, creaked and shifted as we passed through them; we marvelled at the beautiful shapes, colours and patterns of this frozen seascape. It was hard for us to imagine seeing a Polar Bear up here in this vast, constantly shifting habitat, having previously seen them on terra firma, but the Expedition Team explained they could certainly be found here (we’d just need to spot them!) This was a fantastic day for bird life. Black-legged Kittiwakes accompanied the ship, hoping to catch a glimpse of fish that would dart into view as we moved amongst the broken ice. Numerous Long-tailed Skua were observed; at one point five of these elegant looking, agile birds landed together. The avian stars of the day though were the pure white plumaged Ivory Gulls and strikingly patterned Sabine’s Gull. It was a quiet day for the mammals overall, but Ringed Seals were seen occasionally. This small Arctic seal species (up to 1.5m in length) lives up in the ice year-round, maintaining breathing holes using their sharp claws during the winter. Alongside enjoying the incredible views and wildlife outside, our Expedition Team offered a varied programme of lectures. Sasha gave the first talk of the day, explaining the discovery of the Spitsbergen archipelago and the people of this remote Arctic region. After lunch Hazel introduced us to the pinnipeds (flipper footed marine mammals) and described the species we could see during our trip, such as the Ringed Seals we had observed earlier. Thirdly, Werner provided us with his lecture on photography, giving technical tips on features such as composition and exposure. Our awe-inspiring day amongst the ice in the far North drew to a close as we headed to dinner that evening. The bridge team skilfully navigated Ortelius out of the ice and back into open water, heading Southwards. We wondered what excitement and new experiences would await us tomorrow!

Day 6: Alkefjellet – Whalbergøya - Torellneset

Alkefjellet – Whalbergøya -  Torellneset
Date: 27.07.2022
Position: 79°23.3‘N, 019°23.4‘E
Wind: NNW5
Weather: Partly Cloudy
Air Temperature: +5

We had a lovely, early, wakeup call at 6:45 because there were whales around the ship, and it turned out to be the largest whales there are! Despite the hard wind, we could see that the blow was really high! Which along with the shape of the fin, the blue colour, the pattern on the whale and the fact that the whale showed its tail, allowed us to identify that it was a Blue Whale. We saw three of them in total and all before breakfast. Our planned outing this morning, a zodiac cruise along the bird cliffs of Alkefjellet, was cancelled because of the hard wind (20-25 knots). Plan B was a ships cruise with Ortelius along the bird cliff. The way down we were really protected by Ortelius, but after the captain turned the ship to go up again, we felt the wind and, even if it was a bit of a disappointment, everybody was happy that we were not in the zodiacs at that moment. The original name of this place was ‘Mount Guillemot’, for obvious reasons! About 60,000 breeding pairs of Brünnich’s Guillemot use this dolerite intrusion to lay their cone-shaped eggs on the narrow ledges. Both parents sit for 32 days and feed the chick for three weeks, from the day they arrive until it’s time for the chick to fledge. For these chicks it means they have to jump down from the cliff and go out into the world to fend for themselves. On these cliffs, the birds have found a natural fortress to help defend against predators. We hoped that the wind would go down but around 10:30 it still didn’t go down, so we decided to sail to Whalbergøya. During this trip George gave a lecture called; Who Owns the Arctic? A struggle between collective identity and sovereign ambition. After an informative and interesting lecture, with funny facts, we still didn’t know. The conclusion is that the Arctic remains a uniquely contested space, that the geopolitics of the Arctic is intensely dynamic and that maritime borders remain contested as well. In the afternoon, we had Whalbergøya on our program, an island with an Arctic beach which is often used by walruses to haul out. We hoped that they would be home, but unfortunately, they were not. We split into three groups: a long and faster hiking group, a medium group and a group that stayed at the beach. All groups saw flowers, bones of different animals and at the end of all hikes we found one walrus, swimming in the water. Back on board we gathered in the bar for coffee and cake, and recap. Hazel told us how to recognize whales and now we definitely know they were blue whales this morning. We had a lovely dinner again and as a backdrop, we had the magnificent glacier Bråsvellbreen, which is a part of Austfonna, the second largest icecap of the northern hemisphere. So, it was an early morning but after a real expedition style day like this everybody almost forgot that.

Day 7: Kapp Lee & Sundneset

Kapp Lee & Sundneset
Date: 28.07.2022
Position: 78°05.3‘N, 020°45.0‘E
Wind: W
Weather: partly cloudy
Air Temperature: +6

The day was supposed to start relatively early and it actually did. We had our breakfast about half an hour earlier than usual and started getting ready for our morning activity. The plan was to land at a place called Kapp Waldburg to take a walk to a Kittiwake cliff, but apparently not far from the landing site there was big and fluffy surprise waiting for us: our expedition guides spotted a Polar bear when doing pre-landing scouting. The landing was obviously impossible, so we had to change our plans and sail to a different location. After a while Ortelius dropped the anchor in front of Dolerittneset also known as Kapp Lee. The weather was fine, the scouting defined (?) no Polar bears in the area and very soon the zodiacs were put on the water. Dolerittneset was a beautiful cape covered with rich vegetation. In some places the grass was so thick, that when walking one could get a feeling of walking on a carpet. Of course, where there is rich tundra, there are always reindeers. We spotted several of them walking around, chewing the vegetation and not paying any attention to us, which gave us a good opportunity for taking pictures. The other, but definitely not the least special feature of Dolerittneset is presence of walruses. Since ages ago it has been a traditional haul out place for these wonderful animals. Nearby there were the remains of the huts of the Russian Pomors, who were known as walrus hunters. This time we were lucky to see about 50 walruses sleeping together at the shore. Well, some of them were not sleeping, but moving slowly and disturbing their sleeping brothers. Each of us had a chance to take good photos. When the time had come to have lunch we were shuttled back onboard Ortelius. After lunch the Captain and the expedition leader made a decision to go back to the strait of Freemansund and look for bears. What if the bear who did not let us land in the morning was not alone? After all, Freemansund has a reputation of one of the most “beary” places on Spitsbergen. This idea was absolutely brilliant, because very soon we spotted a bear sleeping not far from the coast at a place called Sundneset. The decision was made to have a Zodiac cruise to try to approach the bear as closed as possible. As soon as the Zodiacs were on the water we took a course directly to the bear. At first, the bear stayed motionless, but then woke up and started walking along the shore. The guides identified the bear as a female. We spent about two hours on the water looking at the bear and taking pictures. Some of us even ran out of memory on their cameras. That was an unforgettable sighting! Before the dinner we had a recap and briefing about the plans for the following day in the bar. This was definitely one of the best days of our expedition!

Day 8: Gashamna & Burgerbukta

Gashamna & Burgerbukta
Date: 29.07.2022
Position: 76°56.7‘N, 018°48.9‘E
Wind: NW
Weather: Fog & Rain
Air Temperature: +6

Overnight we cruised from eastern to southern Svalbard – to the Hornsund fjord in south Spitsbergen. From the early morning the weather was modest, with relatively low clouds covering the highest mountain tops. During breakfast around 8:00 AM we entered the fjord and around 10:30 we were ready to embark zodiacs to see Gashamna, or the Goose Bay, with interesting cultural heritage remains from the whaling era from the late 19th century. A small wooden cabin built near the shore by the Russian scientists, Konstantinovka, played a key role in describing the shape of our planet! Unfortunately, at exactly this time the weather started to worsen – although waves and tiny raindrops splashing on our faces failed to cool our adventurous attitude, a fog descending to the sea level greatly limited visibility. After a brief visit at the coast the expedition team decided to cancel the landing due to the polar bear threat. Shortly after, Ortelius lifted its anchor and sailed to another destination. After lunch, about 3:15 PM, the zodiacs were back on the sea to take us to one of the many pearls of the Hornsund landscape – to a marine-terminating glacier, Paierlbreen in Burgerbukta. Those of us who decided to join the longest of the zodiac cruises and to experience harsh arctic weather for the second time today, did not regret it. This fast-retreating glacier, a true climate warming victim which shortened by 5-6 kilometres over the past 85 years, sits in a beautiful bay, with some high vertical rock walls, waterfalls, several small cirque glaciers on both sides and amazing geology. The bay was filled with plenty of birds (including a few puffins!) and picturesque icy bits. Last, but not least, the cloud cover started to shred just above the glacier offering us wonderful close-up views of this natural monument. We got back to Ortelius about 6:00 PM. Wet but happy to experience another close encounter with the Arctic nature at its best. After our return Pippa, the expedition leader, announced our plans for tomorrow and invited to join the surprise prepared by our dining team – a barbeque on the ship’s helipad! Food, music, beer and wine gathered us together in a perfect moment of better weather with views opening towards nearby mountains and many of the area’s glaciers. The event was a great conclusion of a true expedition day, full of experiences and demanding conditions.

Day 9: Skahnsbukta & Billefjorden

Skahnsbukta & Billefjorden
Date: 30.07.2022
Position: 78°31.3‘N, 016°01.9‘E
Wind: N2
Weather: overcast
Air Temperature: +10

Today was our last day on our favourite expedition ship and as expected it was just as exciting if not more than any other day. While we enjoyed a wonderful breakfast the Ortelius arrived into our next location, a scenic little bay called Skahnsbukta featuring a small cabin, abandoned gypsum mine and an overturned boat wreck. Our guides went ashore first as usual to scout the site for polar bears by zodiac and on land. All appeared clear until they noticed that the window of the cabin was broken and some suspicious looking fur was hanging around on the woodwork. Upon discovery of the fur, a huge exhale and the sound of shifting furniture came from within the cabin, prompting our guides to make a hasty retreat to the zodiacs. There was a bear inside!!! Once all the guides were back in the boats, a change of plans was announced. Obviously, we could no longer make a landing but a zodiac cruise was definitely possible. We all loaded up into the zodiacs as quickly as possible and by this time the bear had decided to come out of the cabin. We all lined up like ducks in a row and took turns to take pictures of the animal who’d given the guides such a fright. He was a very large bear and while we were watching he decided to have another go at redecorating the cabin by ripping off the wood shuttering the windows. He then decided to climb back into the cabin for another little nap. We then continued our cruise around the corner to some beautiful, picturesque bird cliffs. The cliffs were filled with guillemots, puffins and kittiwakes who filled the air with the flapping of wings and sound of kittiwake calls. Then we had our second amazing encounter of the day. We spotted an Arctic fox up high on the hillside underneath the bird colonies. He was very far away but we enjoyed seeing him transverse the hillside with great speed and agility. Once he had gone out of sight we returned to the bay for one last look at the bear who had once again left him cabin and had decided to take a nap up on a hillside. It started to rain quite heavily so we said goodbye to the bear and headed back to the ship for lunch. We then started sailing onto our next possible landing site unfortunately however the weather was not on our side today and the fog closed in making landing impossible. Our last activity would have to be a ships cruise of Billefjorden which turn out to be a real treat. We were greeted by a pod of over 25 Beluga whales!! We had ticked off all the major species that we had hoped to see. The looked beautiful swimming along either sides of the ship. They were so fast and so agile that often it was hard to spot them amongst their splashing. We watched them for a about an hour and then it was time for a series of mini lectures put on by the expedition staff including topics such as plants of the arctic and Andre’s balloon story both of which we very much enjoyed. Then sadly it was time to start making preparations for our leaving the ship tomorrow. We handed back our boot and then rejoined the staff in the bar for the captain’s cocktail hour. Thanks and goodbyes were shared by the staff, captain and guests, followed by raising a glass to successful onward travel. Then it was time for our final dinner, delicious as always, followed by a parade of all the hospitality staff and everyone who has taken care of us over the last ten days so we could give them proper recognition. Finally, our last day was done and its time to pack for the early morning tomorrow and spend a few last precious moments with all the new friends we have made.

Day 10: Disembarkation Longyearbyen

Disembarkation Longyearbyen
Date: 31.07.2022
Position: 78°14.1‘N, 015°37.6‘E
Wind: WSW3
Weather: cloudy
Air Temperature: +7

Unfortunately, every trip comes to an end. Disembarkation starts early in the morning. The crew takes care of our luggage, so all that remains is to say our goodbyes to our newly made friends, fellow travellers and all the welcoming faces of the Ortelius we have come to know so well. The Ortelius lays up alongside the jetty, so we take some last photos before saying goodbye to the expedition staff. Some of us may have some days left in Svalbard or mainland Norway, others may have to get back to work when coming back home. Regardless, we all take home many great memories, thousands of photographs and new friends made. The Arctic is an incredible and unique part of our planet, and we are grateful to have had the opportunity to observe and soak up this pristine and fragile environment! Thank you all for joining us on this remarkable adventure, for your great company, good humour and enthusiasm. We hope to see you again in the future, wherever that might be! On behalf of Oceanwide Expeditions, Captain Mika Appel, Expedition Leader Pippa Low, Hotel Manager Volodymyr Cherednychenko and all the crew and staff, it has been a pleasure travelling with you!

Details

Tripcode: OTL09-22
Dates: 22 Jul - 31 Jul, 2022
Duration: 9 nights
Ship: m/v Ortelius
Embark: Longyearbyen
Disembark: Longyearbyen

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