We are organizing a tour of Svalbard and the Arctic landscapes this summer in a yacht “AURORA’.
This is an unforgettable twelve days journey through the Arctic in a small group of only 8 photographers. In this journey, we will focus on the animal world and the beautiful Arctic Landscapes.
Svalbard is famous for its deep fjords, snowcapped peaks, and stunning glaziers; and of course polar bears. Having only a small group of photographers and an experienced crew on board are one of the best combinations of capturing spectacular photos of this region.
Large cruise ships are incredibly expensive and the maneuverability is limited by its size. It takes a lot of time to land 30 to 50 participants. Arctic class yachts are the better choice. These yachts have both a sail and a motor. In addition, there are a couple of zodiacs (small craft for landing and moving around glaziers)
Safety and security are the utmost priority. On board, there are satellite phones, full fledges navigation system, ice maps, and a weapons team to ward off polar bears that come too close for comfort.
The sailing schedule is very flexible. The main idea is to circumnavigate Spitsbergen. However, we will stop for good photo opportunities along the way. We will also meet other sea animals like the seal, whales, walruses, and arctic foxes.
It is highly recommended that you bring a telephoto lens of about 500 to 600mm. However, a 300mm or a 70-200mm with a teleconverter will do.
About the yacht, AURORA
“AURORA” is a 60 ft. Arctic-class yacht with a steel hull equipped with modern navigation systems. It includes a kitchen, toilet, hot water showers, and saloon. Living space consist of 2 double and 2 triple bunk beds cabins. The number of people on board consists of a crew of four and ten passengers on Board. The yacht has 2 zodiac (motor boat). There is a 220 V socket for charging your batteries, and fresh water; 700 + 200 liters
Place of Embarkation – Longyearbyen
The starting point of the journey is at Longyearbyen. SAS flies from either Oslo or Tromso regularly to Longyearbyen.
It is recommended to arrive at Longyearbyen on 16th June as per schedule attached. We load and get on board AURORA on the 16th morning at 9:00am. On our return trip, we arrive at Longyearbyen on the 26th June evening and we leave Longyearbyen on the 27th June.
Some countries will need a Schengen (Visa) to visit this place. Malaysians and Singaporeans are exempted from applying for stays less than 30 days. Please check whether you will need a Schengen (Visa) to visit this place.
About Spitsbergen (Svalbard)
Spitsbergen (formerly known as West Spitsbergen; Norwegian: Vest Spitsbergen or Vestspitsbergen) is the largest and only permanently populated island of the Svalbard archipelago in northern Norway. Constituting the westernmost bulk of the archipelago, it borders the Arctic Ocean, the Norwegian Sea, and the Greenland Sea. Spitsbergen covers an area of 39,044 km2 (15,075 sq mi), making it the largest island in Norway and the 36th-largest in the world. The administrative centre is Longyearbyen. Other settlements, in addition to research outposts, are the Russian mining community of Barentsburg, the research community of Ny-Ålesund, and the mining outpost of Sveagruva.
The island was first used as a whaling base in the 17th and 18th centuries, after which it was abandoned. Coal mining started at the end of the 19th century and several permanent communities were established. The Svalbard Treaty of 1920 recognized Norwegian sovereignty and established Svalbard as a free economic zone and a demilitarized zone.
The Norwegian Store Norske and the Russian Arktikugol remain the only mining companies. Research and tourism have become important supplementary industries, featuring among others the University Centre in Svalbard and the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. No roads connect the settlements; instead snowmobiles, aircraft, and boats serve as local transport. Svalbard Airport, Longyeargyen provides the main point of entry and exit.
The island has an Arctic climate, although with significantly higher temperatures than other places at the same latitude. The flora benefits from the long period of midnight sun, which compensates for the polar night. Svalbard is a breeding ground for many seabirds, and also supports polar bears, reindeer and marine mammals. Six national parks protect the largely untouched, yet fragile environment. The island has many glaciers, mountains and fjords.
A new wave of interest began only in the late nineteenth century, when year-round access to ports and relatively mild climate made Svalbard the main base for polar expeditions and Arctic tourism.
A map of the proposed route is not a representation its exact route. The map shows the most interesting places available for our 60 feet yacht. The route will be partially or mostly followed closely. It depends on ice conditions, light and weather conditions and the number of animals we encountered on the way. We will do everything we can to get the best pictures and best experiences for every participant.
How to get there?
Here is the suggested flight from Kuala Lumpur to Svalbard. We need to arrive on the 16th very early morning at the latest. We will board the yacht at 9:00 am on the 16th.
What to bring?
- DSLR camera with tripod and remote shutter release.
- Ultra wide angle zooms eg 17-40mm
- Medium zoom – 24-70mm
- Telephoto 70-200, 300mm with 1.5 teleconverter, or 500 – 600mm telephoto lens for wildlife and bird photography.
- Weather should be around +8 to -150 C in the daytime and +5 to -150 C at night
- Thermal long john, down jacket, outer waterproof and windproof jacket
- Waterproof pants
- Wellington or fishing boots with fleece lining if possible, otherwise wear winter socks.
Day 1 – 16th June (B,L,D)
- Arrive at Longyearbyen after midnight
- Check-in hotel (Radisson Blu Polar Hotel, Spitbergen)
- Board yacht AURORA
- Set sail
- Lunch on board
- Head out into the sea
Day 2 to Day 3 – 17-18th June (B,L,D)
- Heading towards the ice, searching for Polar bears. Depending on the ice conditions, this will probably be North of Spitbergen.
- Meals on board
Day 4 – 19th June (B,L,D)
- Sailing towards Storaya, searching for landscapes, polar bears and walruses.
- Meals on board
Day 5 – 20th June (B,L,D)
- Sailing towards Brasvellbreen and into Hinlopen with walruses and sea birds nesting on cliffs.
- Meals on board
Day 6 -8 – 21 -23rd June (B,L,D)
- Sailing to Liedefjorden with the Monaco glacier at the North-western corner of Spitsbergen with walruses, seals and great landscapes.
- Glaciers, birds and marine mammals can be found south of Liliehooksfjorden and Kongsfjorden.
Day 9 – 10 – 24 – 25th June (B,L,D)
- Sailing to the South of Rins Karls Forland for more landscapes and nature photography with sea birds, arctic foxes, and reindeers.
Day 11 – 26th June (B,L,D)
- Sail back to Longyeargyen.
- Farewell dinner on board the boat
- Transfer to Airport
- End of trip
Day 12 – 27th June
- Fly back home.