A few years ago a trip like this would have been the realm of a TV crew and a huge budget but travelling in the Arctic has become more accessible and affordable to the wildlife photographer. This special trip to Svalbard during the early part of spring has been in our planning for the past few years and Svalbard is just such a wonderful and beautiful place at this time of the year. We will have exclusive use of Snow Mobiles throughout the trip which will allow us to explore this beautiful and remote region of the frozen north. We will be looking for all aspects of the natural fauna and of course photographing this pristine landscape too. Our main target is to find Polar Bears along the glaciers which at this time of the year are busily hunting the ringed seals which are starting to give birth. The days will be long in the field as we make the most of the beautiful winter light at this time of the year. This adventure promises to offer us some memorable encounters and we will also be hoping to find Arctic Fox, Ptarmigan and Reindeer along our journey to the remote east coasts of Spitsbergen. Polar Bears are our main target though and this truly is going to be a wonderful experience to witness this iconic predator, the King of the High Arctic.
Itinerary Open +Close -
Day 1: We fly to Oslo where we will spend the night in a hotel airport. Over dinner we can discuss the adventure that lies ahead.
Day 2: It will be an early morning start as we fly to Longyearbyen which is about a four flight. We will check into our hotel where we will enjoy a welcome lunch. In the evening we will pick up the snowmobiles and our first evening will be spent on training and safety briefings to ensure we are all capable of driving as and when required: we will have more people than scooters so most will be doubled up but it makes sense that we are all up to speed with things (see other information for more details) We will also be supplied with our own suits, gloves and helmets, warm boots, balaclava and goggles.
Day 3: This trip is based around our using snowmobiles as our exclusive means of transport, and we will be being guided throughout in order to conform fully to all local health and safety legislation.
Driving, travelling and working from the snowmobiles today will be a reasonably locally focussed day and so after breakfast we will head out for our first excursion on the snowmobiles in the area immediately around Longyearbyen where we could find Arctic Fox, Ptarmigan and Reindeer. For our first day, and to help get us used to the snow mobiles we will have lunch in town, and head out shortly after lunch to continue our search for the local wildlife.
Days 4 – 8: This trip by its very nature will need to be very flexible – the wildlife photographic opportunities that come about here will be very much determined by the extremely variable conditions that will change throughout the trip and so we cannot follow any precise or fixed itinerary as such.
Our basic programme is to head out each day to allow us to search for the best and most dramatic locations for Arctic winter photography. Precisely where we end up and how long it takes to get there will very much depend on the weather conditions and what we find on the way in terms of photographic opportunities, so we will need to remain flexible. Our guides are experts and their local knowledge will be a valuable tool. We will make plans each morning based on the weather conditions. Our number one aim is to find Polar Bears in this beautiful winter landscape and we will be heading to some well-known locations where Polar Bears are often seen hunting the breeding Ringed Seals. To get to these locations takes a long time so the days will be very long. We have a number of locations to search and will be visiting them throughout this trip, and our guides are totally flexible in terms of timings too so based on the days conditions we can have early starts, late finishes or a combination of both all in order to maximise the photographic opportunities and make the most of the extended sunsets and sunrises at this time of the year, the last few weeks before 24 hour daylight arrives for the summer.
Day 9: Typical departure times in terms of flights from Longyearbyen are around 12.00 noon so we should have time for a leisurely final breakfast before heading to the airport for our onward flights.