11 Nights Russian Arctic, Spitsbergen - Franz Josef Land

11 Nights Russian Arctic, Spitsbergen - Franz Josef Land


This ambitious expedition into the 192-island archipelago of Franz Josef Land gives you the opportunity to spot such exotic Arctic wildlife as polar bears, Greenland whales, and an assortment of seal and seabird species, while also visiting the remains of historic 19th-century expeditions.

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    Day 1: The start of your Arctic adventure

    We set out from Longyearbyen at 16.00 hours, hoping to get some initial sightings of local seabirds and marine life along the way.


    Days 2 & 3: Sailing the Spitsbergen ice edge

    The next two days we spend sailing eastward, exploring the ice edge north of Spitsbergen. Here we might see seals, whales, seabirds, and even polar bears.


    Day 4: First sights of Franz Josef Land

    Today we approach the Russian base Nagurskoye on the Franz Josef Land island of Alexandra Land. We will the Russian base at Nagurskoye from the ship, but we will not land there. After getting clearance from Russia, we will then welcome on board four guides / inspectors from the Russian Arctic National Park. Later in the day, we aim to make our first landing on the southern part of Arthur Island. In the Arctic archipelago of Franz Josef Land, polar bear sightings are likely.


    Day 5: Historic expeditions on Rudolf Island

    The goal is to sail to Rudolf Island, the northernmost island of the Franz Josef Land archipelago. Here we hope to land near an abandoned Russian station in Teplitz Bay, seeing some reminders of the Italian and American expeditions here around the turn of the 19th century. We will try to land at Cape Fligely, the northernmost landmass in Eurasia, but may also change the order of these visits.


    Day 6: Walrus haul-outs and Cape Norvegia

    After sailing south, we will reach Apollonov Island, a large haul-out site for walruses, which you might be able to see from our Zodiacs. At Cape Norvegia on Jackson Island, our aim is to visit the site where Nansen and Johansen spent the winter after leaving the m/v Fram in 1895. Later we will sail southeast by Ziegler Island, then continue south through narrow but spectacular straits.


    Day 7: Geological and glacial wonders

    On Champ Island at Cape Trieste, we plan to make excursions among enormous and spherical geological stone formations. Then at Camp Ziegler on Alger Island, you can see the remains of American expeditions (among others) from the beginning of the last century. This beautiful area is surrounded by mountainous islands boasting impressive glacier fronts.


    Day 8: Cliffside seabirds and Arctic marine life

    Early in the morning, we arrive at Rubini Rock on Hooker Island’s Tikhaya Bay. Along this impressive cliff face, you can see colonies of seabirds, such as Brünnich’s guillemots, black guillemots, little auks, fulmars, and kittiwakes. You might also see bearded seals, harp seals, or Greenland whales in this area.


    Next we sail to Cape Flora on Northbrook Island, an important site in the history of polar exploration. More than a century ago, several expeditions had their bases here, and on the cliffs behind Cape Flora are large colonies of Brünnich’s guillemots. It is exciting to witness the younger birds trying to glide from the ledges to the sea.


    At Günther Bay, we may take a Zodiac cruise near an important haul-out site for walruses. If landing at Cape Flora is difficult due to sea swell and permission, we will try to land at Bell Island, near Eira Lodge, the station of 19th-century British explorer Benjamin Leigh Smith.


    Day 9: Back to Nagurskoye and Spitsbergen

    In the morning, we will return to Nagurskoye. Here our four inspectors from Franz Josef Land National Park will leave the ship, after which we’ll sail west to Spitsbergen.


    Day 10: The seven islands of northern Svalbard

    In the northernmost area of the Svalbard archipelago lies an island group known as Sjuøyane, which translates to “seven islands.” Here we plan to land at the rugged island of Phippsøya, where you may be able to see more walruses.


    Day 11: Incredible Krossfjorden scenery

    Today we sail into Krossfjorden in the main island of Spitsbergen, where you’ll pass through staggeringly scenic alpine mountaintops, active glaciers, and rich vegetation.


    Day 12: Journey’s end in Longyearbyen

    We finally return to Svalbard’s principal town, where you will disembark the vessel, taking home priceless memories of friends made, wildlife encountered, and a once-in-a-lifetime Arctic adventure.