I remember the first polar bear sighting yelp from the deck of the G Adventures expedition ship as we powered our way north of the quirky little town of Longyearbyen, in the Svalbard region of Norway. Just a tiny speck in the distance made convincingly identifiable through the binocular lens. Our resident bird watching guide just laughed at my squeals of excitement and assured me there would be plenty more to come… And how very right he was.

Your Spitsbergen expedition starts in Longyearbyen

An experience like no other

It is a strange sensation to be in a world that doesn’t get dark (at least not in the summer months). At first I wondered how I would ever sleep but I shouldn’t have worried. The extremes of emotion you experience with every magical view or extraordinary wildlife encounter will keep you going. With your lungs breathing the freshest of fresh air, plenty of delicious food and the odd tipple to toast yet another phenomenal day, even with near-constant daylight, you'll be snoring before your head hits the pillow in your comfy compact bed.

Inquisitive polar bears

I was to discover that polar bears have an endearing sense of curiosity, and relaxed lazy presence as they sniff the air and wander closer (less so I suspect when very hungry, and when you are not observing from the safety of the ship or motorised 'zodiac' dinghys). The cubs spend 2 years with their mother so if you're lucky enough you'll get to identify the 6 and 18 month old cubs as they interact. I on the other hand was anything but relaxed from the beginning to the end of this highly privileged adventure, bouncing and beaming like never before.

And it wasn’t just the beautiful bears... there are the birds, great cliffs filled with little auks, the wondrous walrus and the occasional excitement of a basking seal or a blowing whale. Aside from the wildlife you are awed by the ice, the sun, the enormous glacier walls carving before your very eyes…

Polar bears have an endearing sense of curiosity | photo credit: Giles Breton

I won’t talk about numbers or specific encounters as every trip is so different, and with the weather determining every move this is what makes your own trip so very special!

The only problem after such an adventure is where to go next?… Antarctica of course!!

Interested in your own Spitsbergen expedition?

If you're thinking about planning a trip to the Arctic and you don't really know where to start, I can help you plan every aspect. From my own experience, I can help you find the best ship and choose a cabin that suits you. I can also plan your flights and transfers to get to the Arctic, and show you how to include this trip in a wider itinerary if you wish. To start the planning, simply contact Andrea.

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