Introducing a collaboration between Magnum Excursions, a wildlife photo Safari company and Northern Expeditions, experts in small ship polar exploration in the Arctic. These two will be working together to providing access to one of the most exclusive wildlife experiences on the planet: A 10-day (9 nights) Svalbard, Norway Arctic adventure focused on wildlife aboard the R/V Kinfish.
DATES: April 20 – 29, 2023
COST: $9,950.00 per person sharing, $13,950 for single – THIS TRIP IS SOLD OUT. CONTACT US TO BE ADDED TO THE WAIT LIST.
Please Note: Charter rates are based on the Swedish krone (SEK). If the US/SEK exchange rate drastically changes between now and departure, we may have to adjust rates for any currency fluctuation.
NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS: 12 maximum
This expedition is limited to only 12 passengers apart from your Photo Tour Leaders and expedition crew, and is an exclusive photographers-only photo tour.
LEADERS Buddy Eleazer + Don Schroder
OVERVIEW: The Wonders of Svalbard
The largest island of Norway’s Svalbard archipelago, Spitsbergen is known for its populations of whales, walruses, Svalbard reindeer, cliff-dwelling seabirds, and that most iconic of Arctic residents, the majestic polar bear. The Arctic landscape is equally spell-binding: ice-covered mountains, deep fjords, remote islands, ice-laden waterways, rocky shores, towering cliffs and immense glaciers.
With towering snowcapped mountains, forbidding glaciers, flower-studded tundra & towering fjords, it is here where the formidable Polar Bear reigns as the apex predator and we hope to capture these white bears on the drifting ice sprinkled across the ocean.
Svalbard is considered the best place on earth for photographing Polar Bears but a treasure trove of photographic highlights await that includes the Arctic Fox, Walrus, Bearded & Ringed Seals, Belugas, Orcas, Narwhal, Bowhead Humpback, Fin & Blue Whales, Puffins, Guillemots and Reindeer.
OUR PHOTOGRAPHIC TRIP:
Early season is typically photographers’ season. In the early season (mid-April and May) there is more pack ice in the southern reaches allowing for shorter transfers to fertile photography destinations. More ice does mean that the polar bears tend to be more spread out so you may be wondering why we picked April for travel. The answer is simple: opportunity for spectacular photos is often better:
- It’s early in the season, so polar bears are hungry still and more active
- Arctic foxes are still white, not yet changing their winter pelts or colors
- Puffins still about
- The landscape is still covered with ice and snowy – no gray gravel or grass patches to be background distractions in your photos.
- The midnight sun during this month provides ample hours of sunshine, ensuring that no photographic moment goes missing!
- The sun is always low on the horizon allowing for better light for photography
You will sail north from Longyearbyen exploring the western coast of Svalbard region’s Spitsbergen in search of polar bears, colonies of walrus and orcas as well as other resident marine mammals. Setting sail during the start of the Arctic summer, the sea pack ice will be fragmented, sending ice floes along the eastern part of the Archipelago. Searching these principal hunting grounds for the polar bear, the R/V Kinfish will allow close-up encounters with this majestic creature. This fragmented ice is also often a resting place for seals and walrus.
Make no mistake, a main goal will be to find and photograph Polar Bears in its natural habitat out on the pack ice and Svalbard has historically been one of the most reliable places to photograph bears. Polar bears create an unforgettable spectacle whether hunting seals on pack ice, shepherding cubs along the snowy beach, or swimming near our Zodiacs. We will be on the lookout for walrus, arctic fox, and reindeer, and revel in millions of migratory birds, including little auks, guillemots, and puffin.
Our success will depend on the ice condition and its location. In some years the ice is just off the northern tip of Svalbard while in other years it has retreated too far north to make it possible to sail there. In the case of the latter, we will search for Polar Bears that are on land in the northeastern part of the archipelago, where they are sometimes seen hunting on ice in front of glaciers. This is an expedition into a changeable environment and the element of surprise. The discovery of what wildlife is found where and when is a major part of the Svalbard experience.
We Like You To Be Informed:
If you have any additional questions about the trip, drop us a line at Buddy@MagnumExcursions.com. We will typically respond with 48 hours.
A $2,500 Deposit Payment is due upon booking
Additional installment payments are as follows:
- June 1, 2022: $3450.00
- January 1, 2023: $4,000.00
All payments preferred by check. Please make check payable to:
Magnum Excursions LLC
4344 Farmington Circle
Allentown, PA 18104
TRIP ORIGIN AND CONCLUSION POINT: This trip will begin and end in Longyearbyen, Norway
WHAT IS INCLUDED:
- Transfers to/from the local airport and to/from the ship
- Port and Passenger landing fees
- 1 night lodging in Longyearbyen
- 8 nights of accommodation aboard the ship
- The meals onboard shall consist of breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea/coffee and two-course dinner (three-course dinner the last evening)
- NOTE: The mealtimes shall be held at regular times, but the catering crew has been informed that photography has priority on this expedition and flexibility is necessary
- Water, coffee and tea – available 24 hours a day
- Alcoholic beverages and sodas
- Laundry as needed
- Two Photography Leaders giving instruction and tips
- Daily excursions by Zodiac (only six guests per Zodiac)
- Lectures, briefings and shoreside interpretations by Expedition Guides
- Magnificent scenery and wonderful wildlife encounters
- Pre-expedition materials related to recommended camera gear, packing, etc.
WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED:
- International flights – please contact our office for any assistance
- Clients must obtain comprehensive travel insurance for this trip
- Customary tips for crew and staff
- Anything else not specified as included
Day 1 – Arrival in Longyearbyen, Norway
Upon arrival in Longyearbyen Airport, you’ll be transferred to your hotel in town. You’ll have the opportunity to relax and explore this small coal-mining town on Spitsbergen Island, the departure point for expedition ships heading north.
Day 2 — Embarkation Day in Longyearbyen
Starting out from Longyearbyen today, you board your small ship and meet the crew, expert naturalist guide(s), and the rest of your Arctic expedition companions, a small group of like-minded individuals. This afternoon you set sail into the wilds of Svalbard. As you embark, you’ll get great views of the mountainous landscape that serves as a backdrop to this seaside settlement.
Days 3 to 9 — Exploring Svalbard/Spitsbergen
You’ll cruise around this magical island on a constant search for wildlife. Your expedition will cover western Spitsbergen as well as stunning fjords and outlying islands to the north. From polar flora to immense glaciers, the natural landscape here is just as varied as the wildlife. Each expedition presents new opportunities and different weather and ice, so there is no fixed itinerary. The destinations visited will be selected for optimum wildlife viewing with an appreciation of the landscape and geology of Spitsbergen. We will base our daily travel on the captain’s experience, his contact with other ships, weather, and ice conditions.
You’ll spend time cruising through the ice in search of polar bears as they hunt for seals, which often hitch rides on the passing ice floes. Make sure to look out for walrus colonies basking on beaches in the Arctic sun and watch for whales in the icy seas. On shore landings, you may come across the Arctic fox, or the Svalbard reindeer with its impressive antlers, and witness the beauty of Svalbard’s flora.
The small size of the ship allows you to explore even the smallest and most secluded fjords, and provides opportunities for up close wildlife photography. The deck space of the M/V Kinfish is spread over different levels, which is perfect for avid photographers who want to capture the wildlife and scenery from different perspectives. There are two zodiacs on board each carrying up to six passengers to allow even more flexible photo opportunities when we come upon wildlife.
Your ship is likely to arrive into the harbor the night before you disembark to ensure you are in Longyearbyen ready for your onward flights. Enjoy the Captain’s dinner and your final night together with your fellow travelers.
Day 10 — Disembarkation Day in Longyearbyen
The time to say goodbye to your Expedition Team and shipmates has come. Your adventure ends as it began, in the historic frontier-style settlement of Longyearbyen. Having arrived at Longyearbyen in the middle last night, we will this morning be disembarking as our incredible photography expedition sadly comes to an end! From here, we’ll transfer you to the airport for your return flight to home.
PLEASE NOTE: Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy— and excitement—of expedition travel. When traveling in extremely remote regions, your expedition staff must allow the sea, the ice and the weather to guide route and itinerary details. This itinerary is a tentative outline of what you’ll experience on this voyage; please be aware that no specific itinerary can be guaranteed.
WHAT TO EXPECT
During our expedition, you can expect to see wildlife as Polar Bears, Walruses, Seals, Whales, Arctic Foxes, Svalbard Reindeer and a variety of bird species that are common in these Arctic regions. Sometimes we do long transport legs of sailing and sometimes we stay in one spot experiencing and photographing nature and wildlife.
Svalbard is situated at 78-79 degrees north and you are in the High Arctic when you arrive there. The weather is constantly changing at these latitudes. Upon receipt of your deposit, we will send you information about clothing and travels to Svalbard.
OUR EXPEDITION SHIP: THE R/V KINFISH
One of the nicest looking small ships, the Kinfish is a vessel with history and character that is usefully purposed during the winter months embarking on exciting research quests such as uncovering the history of Norway scouring the seabed to find Viking remains. She was Built in 1958, the M/V Kinfish has recently been transformed from a Norwegian research vessel to a classic passenger ship, ready to explore the icy waters of the Spitsbergen archipelago. Small and maneuverable. In the words of her owner, “this ship can dance”. Perfect for navigating the most inaccessible reaches of the Svalbard archipelago. Other features include:
- The bridge has been fitted out with advanced safety equipment, allowing the M/V Kinfish to safely navigate the calm Svalbard waters.
- Newly refurbished en-suite cabins with comfortable beds and proper duvets with crisp white linen.
- Beautifully refitted interior with multiple comfortable spaces for passengers to relax and socialize.
- When her engine is running idle it generates minimal vibrations great for photography when parked in fast ice
- Fantastic stabilization system for comfortable cruising, superior to that normally found in vessels of this size.
- 360° views from all levels. No other small ship has this number of varied accessible viewing platforms.
ACCOMMODATION ON BOARD
There are six twin guest cabins on board all with ensuite bathrooms. Four of these twin cabins have two lower berths and two have an upper and lower berth.
The M/V Kinfish has two bright and spacious lounges, a dining area and a bar, as well as an open bridge and ample deck space from which to admire the stunning Arctic landscapes.
All meals are included during your stay on the M/V Kinfish, which will be a range of European-style dishes. Almost any dietary requirements can be catered for as long as you have given sufficient notice to your destination specialist.
FINAL NOTES FROM OUR EXPEDITION LEADER BUDDY:
Our goal is to search for polar bears and, of course, it would be nice to find some walrus and whales along the way too. Beyond ‘seeing bears and other wildlife’, we want to capture awesome photographs within nature. This means spending time with the subjects. This means working to get everyone in perfect position to capture ‘the shot’ whether that be an awesome rim lit shot or a sense of place image that tells the story of our expedition. We want you to bring home the shots you dreamed for when you booked this trip!
I have investigated tours with very small boats and a mid-size ship; there are positives and negatives to both options. I believe that chartering our own boat that is fairly small but safe is the way to go. We can adjust the schedule during our journey based on what we encounter and where. We will have access to some areas large ships cannot explore.