Svalbard Experience

The islands of Svalbard rise dramatically from the Arctic Ocean halfway between Norway’s North Cape and the North Pole. They give eloquent evidence of Nature’s slow but ceaseless industry, scored and corrugated by glaciers that still cover 60 percent of their mass. Stony, sentinel peaks soar above deeply carved fjords and sparkling bays. In summer, the sparse tundra vegetation erupts under the endless encouragement of the Midnight Sun. Migratory birds in their millions arrive from more southerly realms, to nest and breed and nurture their young on steep, striated cliffs, shingle beaches and tundra meadows. Elaborately-antlered reindeer graze the slopes. Arctic foxes and predatory gulls haunt the nursery edges, alert for opportunity. Seals and walruses haul out to join the breeding season, and patient polar bears patrol the rocky shorelines and floating ice, while whales roll and breach offshore, feeding on the sea’s summer abundance.  Here and there, bleached testaments to past human endeavors endure: whalebones and weathered trypots from medieval whaling stations; the wind-sanded timbers of an expedition’s launching site; a hut where someone whiled away a long-ago, dark winter. Riding in Zodiacs and paddling kayaks, observing from the decks and trekking on the islands themselves, we will experience and explore this isolated, unspoiled and breathtakingly beautiful place, as it revels in the endless days of its short, exuberant summer.