Polar Bear Expedition with Stephen Mills
Join Stephen Mills in search of one of the most moving experiences nature can offer – seeing polar bears striding far out across a wilderness of Arctic ice. Polar bears have a special attraction because of their size and strength, the loneliness of their lives and the peculiar, unpredictable fragility of the beautiful landscape they inhabit.
The best place in the world to see them is amongst the ice-floes around Spitsbergen – or Svalbard as the Norwegians call it. More remote and romantic and less commercial than Churchill, the region still supports a strong population of several thousand individuals. Our 10-day trip is on a cruising ice-breaker and research vessel that will attempt to circumnavigate Spitsbergen, which greatly increases your chances of sightings.
You will be embarking on a journey like no other and an extreme adventure. You will almost be at the North Pole and amidst a wilderness of snow-covered mountains and desolate ice-floes. The tranquillity, purity and openness are breathtaking. The midnight sun shines relentlessly but temperatures hover around freezing. You are in the realm of the polar bear and there are no signs of mankind once you set sail from the little mining community of Longyearbyen.
The remote regions are best explored on foot, so zodiacs will be used to take you from the boat onto ice-floes. You may be out walking for a couple of hours twice a day. Good strong wellies or Viking boots are the best footwear and there is always an armed guard with you. You will be concentrating on a range of species that can only be found in the high Arctic. As well as polar bears, you can expect to see bearded and ringed seals, walruses and Arctic foxes, humpback and fin whales and more. The bird life will also be extremely interesting at this time of the year, with species including ivory gulls, glaucous gulls, Steller’s and king eiders, little auks and – with a little luck – Ross’s gulls.
We are trusted for our excellence, the personal service and value for money we provide. Everything is included on this safari and no corners have been cut. The environment and climate may be harsh but you will travel comfortably in en-suite cabins and the atmosphere is warm and friendly and the level of service is extremely attentive. With just 23 cabins onboard this is not a regular tourist cruise to the Arctic. To see endangered species in the wild is a privilege and involves travelling to distant lands, but however remote the destination or challenging the environment, you can relax knowing that everything will be organised for you, that you will be well cared for and that there is full professional back-up support, on the ground and back at our head office.
NEWS! our party saw 11 polar bears and 20 belugas!
Stephen Mills is a professional naturalist, wildlife writer, producer and cameraman. He has made 35 films for TV and working for the BBC and independently. He has studied polar bears in Svarlbard and to see a polar bear striding far out across a wilderness of Arctic ice is one of the most moving experiences nature can offer. Polar bears have a special attraction – because of their size and strength, the loneliness of their lives and the peculiar, unpredictable fragility of the beautiful landscape they inhabit.
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