In early April 2022, I ran my Svalbard Spring Light Expedition. This was my first expedition to Svalbard since 2019 – pre pandemic; and it was absolutely brilliant to return to this incredible archipelago. As I have written before, Winter and early Spring have become my favourite time of year to visit Svalbard. The low angle of sun, snow and ice covered landscape draped with stunning ethereal light make for wonderful photographic opportunities and unlimited potential. We certainly experienced some really incredible light and landscape during this expedition. We also had some wonderful wildlife encounters.
This year I decided to include a daily itinerary of our travel and experiences – included below: The map below shows our GPS track fo the expedition.
Day 1 8/4 Departure from Longyearbyen. Isfjorden, searching the ice edge outside Dicksonfjorden and Ekmanfjorden for Polar Bear and other wildlife. We had an absolutely once in a lifetime experience with a Walrus close to the ship communicating with fantastic photographic opportunities. We then anchored in the ice overnight.
Day 2 9/4 Isfjorden. During the day whilst I was scouting from bridge with my binoculars I spoted a White Arctic Fox very close to the ship on the sea ice in soft overcast light that also provided amazing photographic opportunities. We also had Finwhale in the sunset sailing north.
Day 3 10/4 Fuglefjorden and the pack ice edge. Crossed the 80th parallel. Cruised through heavy pack ice with many Ivory gulls. Spectacular sea ice as we searched for Polar Bear.
Day 4 11/4 Searching the pack ice north of Svalbard for wildlife. Strong winds and heavy swell from the east forced us to seek shelter in Raudfjorden overnight.
Day 5 12/4 Northeastern corner. Sailing through Norsksundet to Smeerenburgfjorden. Evening in Wijdefjorden. We were the first ship this year to venture into this region. One Polar bear on land and a dead Beluga whale in the drift ice.
Day 6 13/ 4 North of Gråhuken. Two Polar bears on land. Sailed through Woodfjorden. Explored Lilliehöökfjorden and Lilliehöökbreen with its massive glacier front. Cruised through Krossfjorden and Kings Bay. Incredible scenery and landscapes.
Day 7 14/4 Searched the fast ice in Bellsund. Landscapes and ice in Van Mijen and Van Keulenfjorden. A very unusual and incredibly rare sighting of a common crane flying over in Van Mijenfjorden.
Day 8 15/4 Light snow over the landscape in Isfjorden. Cruised the fast ice edge in Dicksonfjorden, Ekmanfjorden, Borebukta and Ymerbukta. Several King eider ducks and many Brünnichs guillemots before returning to Longyearbyen.
My 2023 expedition to Svalbard in Winter is now filling fast with just a few places remaining. If you are keen to photograph in this amazing archipelago in the beauty of early Spring then just drop me an email to express your interest. The remaining places are filled on a first come, first served basis. If you want to get an idea of what to expect check out the Article – The Art of Polar Bear Photography.
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