The Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic is also known
as Spitsbergen, which is the name of the main island.
Svalbard has about 2,600 inhabitants. And at least as
many polar bears are native to Svalbard.
Svalbard, often better known as Spitsbergen, is one of the northernmost outposts in the Arctic and attracts researchers and explorers as well as nature photographers and filmmakers. It is without any doubt one of the best places in the world to experience arctic animal life in its habitat and often without fear of humans.
The archipelago with the main islands Spitsbergen and Nordaustlandet extends over a length of about 450 kilometers from south to north from the 74° to 81° N of latitude. It’s a good 1,000 kilometers from Spitsbergen to the North Pole. On the other hand, only about 70 kilometers to Russian territory. The Norwegian mainland is about 600 kilometers away.
While the remains of the Gulf Stream keep the west coast free of ice, even in early summer, the north and east are often difficult to access for ships due to pack ice. And an expedition by ship is the only way to really experience the coasts and wildlife of Svalbard.
You have the choice between huge cruise ships, medium-sized and small ships for passengers. However, our expeditions with a maximum of 8 to 10 passengers cannot be classified here, because only such small groups make it possible to really experience nature up close and appropriately. Going ashore with such a small number of people is possible almost anywhere without disturbing animal life and leaving traces.
And as with almost all of our trips, we offer divers the opportunity to explore the underwater world and get an insight into a habitat that is almost hidden from everyone else.
If visitors come today with peaceful intentions and the arctic nature on Svalbard is protected by strict laws better than almost anywhere else, in the past it was whalers, hunters and trappers who came to visit the island.
The rich deposits of very high-quality hard coal also ensured a certain industrialization of the islands quite early on. Most of the coal mines have been closed in recent years. However, there some production that is used to run the local coal power plants.
Longyearbyen is the “capital”, a small town with a well-developed airport and port. Ny Ålesund is a little further north. It is a settlement which today is more or less a big international research station.
The Russian town of Barentsburg is also inhabited and has been receiving more and more tourists in recent years. There are also some abandoned places, mines and posts.
Our diving expedition to the north, east and south of the Arctic Archipelago starts from Longyearbyen. Weather and ice conditions often determine the exact course.
But even before leaving the port, you come into contact with the amazing animal life. Nesting barnacle geese, eider ducks and terns can be found while walking in the village. You can often see ptarmigan, gyrfalcon, the small Svalbard-Rein and arctic foxes. Even beluga whales visit the fjord regularly.
Once on board, everything is possible: in the vicinity of the town we have already seen polar bear mothers with cubs successfully hunting seals and plundering duck nests, discovered walruses on the pack ice and even met the biggest creature of all time, the blue whale.
The list of animal species that we may see on our tours includes more or less all high Arctic species.
A flexible travel plan and the small group size make it possible to fully enjoy every extraordinary encounter – more Arctic adventure is not possible!