What makes an Arctic expedition successful?
Svalbard on a crisp summers morning is hard to beat! Anchored in an ice-free harbour set against a background of a ‘chocolate box’ alpine vista, there seems little one could improve on in the 24 hours of day light in perfect blue sky weather. The difference between what ‘makes or breaks’ an Arctic expedition in perfect conditions is often the type and quantity of wildlife that is observed. Perfect weather alone is not enough to capture those fantastic images of walrus cavorting amongst the ice, or polar bear (and cubs) traversing through their domain. Any expedition seeking good wildlife sightings will need a skilled and experienced Arctic guide, and a several good sets of optics.
There can be no substitute for spending hours and hours on the bridge (or higher) scanning the coastlines, pack ice and hillsides for Arctic wildlife. Our Expedition Staff will happily spend hours (and many cups of coffee) chatting with the watch officer without ever putting down their binoculars as they constantly and patiently keep an eye out for wildlife.
Once the ‘game’ is spotted, a course can be plotted that both keeps the vessel in safe water, and minimizes any potential disturbance to the animals. Whether it be a Blue Whale, Polar bear or Walrus, there is always the excited chatter and whirring of camera drives as everyone clambers to the bridge or sun deck to view one of these icons of polar seas. The rewards can be impressive, and the images taken will become the defining measure of how successful and expedition was, long after the long hours of scanning and rescanning are forgotten.