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Somewhere in the High Arctic, between 76 and 80 degrees latitude North, Spitsbergen, meaning "pointed mountains", awaits you for seven days of unforgettable travel looking out for wild life.
You will lift the anchor in Longyearbyen, where colourful wooden homes dot the landscape with a human presence that will certainly be the last you see for a while.
The sea rolls on, and the white-striped mountains, which gave the region its name, rise up from deeply tinted waters. The polar light combines with the changing weather of the Arctic, a big blue sky, the horizon scattered with clouds, the enveloping mist erasing the border between the land and the sea: these variations all provide the magical, almost surreal, setting with new nuances.
The ship is escorted by Arctic fulmars. The first ice appears; still discreet, it seems to be dancing around you. At the end of a fjord, you will find yourself before an immense glacier. Black-legged kittiwakes share an iceberg, while Arctic terns fly over the area. Aboard the ship or a Zodiac dinghy, you will admire the power of nature while becoming aware of its fragility. The music of the thaw has begun its soft melody: a combination of cracking, roaring, murmuring and fizzing defies the silence of the polar desert.
On land, you will set foot on malleable earth, known as moraine. Only moss, lichen and a few rare flowers have managed to adapt and to take hold here, forming the tundra. On these inhospitable lands, Svalbard reindeer and Arctic foxes coexist with walruses, lying on the beach. It has been a long time since the Pomor settlers, of which traces remain, came to hunt them.
Here, the lord of the Arctic, the polar bear, is never very far away. The crucial aspects of this cruise involve searching and keeping an eye out. On board, the team of naturalists will scan the horizon so they can provide you with marvellous sightings of wildlife and, in particular, the polar bear. The region's elusive fauna upholds its mysteries while the uncertain nature of the encounter bestows an indescribable magic upon it.
Itinerary is?subject to change according to port authorisations and government regulations. We are privileged guests in these remote lands where we are at the mercy of weather, ice, tidal and current conditions. Landings on certain sites and the observation of certain wildlife cannot be guaranteed. They vary from day to day, making each PONANT cruise a unique experience. The Captain and the Expedition Leader will make every effort to ensure that your experience is as rich as possible, while complying with the safety rules and instructions imposed by the AECO.