Arctic Cruise: High Arctic Explorer

The High Arctic Explorer is truly a voyage of adventure to a beautiful environment is still remote and wild. This 14-day voyage from Resolute to Resolute explores the Canadian Arctic: Devon Island, Beechey Island, and in Greenland, Qaanaaq and Cape York. This area is overflowing with history and renowned for its rare and spectacular wildlife, including polar bear, narwhal and walrus. Visit some of the world�s most remote communities, local Inuit who will introduce you to both the modern and ancient aspects of their culture. When the conditions are right, optional kayaking will be available.

Itinerary

Day 1: Longyearbyen / Embarkation

The principal community of Svalbard is Longyearbyen on the island of Spitsbergen. The small town is a short flight from Oslo. YouÂll embark the vessel in the afternoon, with 108 other adventurers as eager as you to see walrus and polar bear in the wild.

Day 2: 14th of July Glacier / Ny Alesund / Lilliehookbreen

Your first full day on the water will be spent on the western coast of Spitsbergen. At the 14th of July Glacier, you should find tundra flowers in bloom. Ny Alesund is a research station with a transient population that ranges from 35 to 200 in the summer. The indigenous Svalbard reindeer may be grazing, so keep your camera handy. Lilliehookbreen affords wonderful vistas from the ship's deck.

Day 3: Smeerenburg

At Smeerenburg, you will visit relics of the whaling industry, blubber ovens and whalebones. A tour of the former whaling station recounts the Dutch and Basque influences on the local community, which relied on the harvesting of bowhead whales for survival.

Day 4: Monacobreen / Worsleyneset / Moffen Island

You'll awake this morning to find the ship at anchor near the Monaco Glacier at the head of Liefdefjorden. Tens of thousands of birds are often found on the water at the base of the glacier. Later you'll sail to Worsleyneset to hike and learn more about the human history of Svalbard. You may need a long lens approaching Moffen Island, a walrus sanctuary. Adhere to strict guidelines and keep a distance so as to not disturb the tusked marine mammals.

Day 5: Phippsoya / Parryoya

An archipelago within an archipelago, Seven Islands comprises the northernmost portion of Svalbard. They lie about 10 degrees from the North Pole. Ice seldom completely disappears from the islands during the Arctic summer. Polar bear and walrus exploit the ice, as did trappers. You will visit an abandoned trapper's cabin and watch for wildlife.

Day 6: Vibubukta / Torellneset

At Vibubukta, you will hike through a polar desert - a landscape completely different from any you have encountered previously during this voyage. You'll discover a skeleton of a whale one kilometer (.62 miles) from shore. In the Hinlopen Strait, visit Torellneset on the island of Nordaustlandet. Be on the lookout for walrus and evidence of isostatic rebound - the rise of a landmass after an ice sheet retreats. The weight of an ice sheet during an Ice Age depressed the land that lay under it.

Day 7: Alkefjellet / Sparraneset

The goal today is to visit Alkefjellet on Spitsbergen's east side. With your binoculars scan the cliff face. Thick-billed Murres or Brunich Guillemots nest here in the thousands. Fox and polar bears are often seen patrolling the base of the cliffs, waiting for a meal to drop from the sky - chicks that have fallen from the nest before they are ready to fly. You will have the opportunity to compare the polar desert and hiking experience of Sparraneset with that of Vibubkta today.

Day 8: Sundneset / Dolerittneset

The landscape will change once again, so you go ashore to hike, track birds, and learn of the life cycle of polar ponds and flowers. With luck, you will encounter more walrus. Luck does play a part, because these huge marine mammals are surprisingly shy.

Day 9: Rosenbergdalen / Diskobukta

Today, the goal is to visit a colony of Kittiwakes that have chosen to nest in a cavern. You will approach at rising tide for the best view.

Day 10: Hamburgbukta / Isbukta

There should be plenty of fast ice in July, which means you will be on the alert for seals and polar bears. Seals are the favorite food of the ice bears. The rate ivory gull is often seen near a polar bear kill, so you hope to add a sighting to your birding list.

Day 11: Gashamna / Isbjornhamna / Brepollen

The contemporary Arctic and its place in your world experience will be the focus when you visit Polish Polar Station Hornshund. First established in 1957 as part of PolandÂs contribution to International Polar Year, the base was modernized in 1978 to permit year-round research. Current studies contribute to understanding of the magnitude of the EarthÂs electric field, glacier dynamics and the detection of climate change.

Day 12: Bourbonhamna / Calypsobyen

The narrow sound near Bournbonhamna is a favored route of beluga whales. YouÂll search for whales before going ashore. Mining is still carried out in Svalbard. Today, however, youÂll visit one of the old mines. Then youÂll hike the tundra and search for tiny flowers that bloom under the midnight sun.

Day 13: Poolepynten / Alhornet

Poolepynten, on an island off the west coast of Spitsbergen, is a walrus haul-out. The tusked marine mammals have been protected since 1952; their population growing from 100 to about 2,000 in more than half a century. You will go ashore to watch the huge creatures loll or dive. North and west of Longyearbyen on the opposite shore of Isfjorden is Alkhornet. The summit is 428 meters (1400 feet) above sea level. Murres, also known as guillemots, nest in the mountain's cliff faces. There will be time to hike across the tundra.

Day 14: Longyearbyen / Disembarkation

You'll transfer from the ship to the airport for your flight home.

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