Aqua-Firma Releases Its ‘Ultimate Spitsbergen’ Portfolio
Expedition Cruises & Sailing Adventures In the Realm of the Polar Bear.
Aqua-Firma, the wilderness travel company, has unveiled a new ‘Ultimate Spitsbergen’ portfolio to add to its existing range of once-in-a-lifetime experiences. The Aqua-Firma team has in-depth experience of polar travel – so travellers who pick up the phone in search of a perfect polar experience will be advised by an expert who leads polar expeditions; is a qualified marine scientist; has scuba dived both North and South poles; or may have kayaked with walruses!
The new ‘Ultimate Spitsbergen’ portfolio gives guests the opportunity to explore or revisit the polar archipelago alongside wildlife and marine life polar experts. Aqua-Firma offers safe and responsible small ship and sailing voyages to explore some stunning mountain, glacier and fjord coastline in search of polar bears, whales, walruses, Arctic foxes and more; and by Autumn, opportunities to witness the Northern Lights.
Lying 600 miles from the North Pole, Spitsbergen is an ideal location for exploring the vast array of Arctic marine and wildlife. With 2,000 to 3,000 polar bears, hundreds of thousands of migrating birds, and pods of Blue, Fin, Beluga, Minke and Humpback whales, voyagers can expect exciting opportunities to photograph and observe Arctic animals amongst the vast polar wilderness.
An adventure highlight of the portfolio includes a new and unique Norway to Bear Island Arctic Sailing Voyage. This hands on sailing adventure gives people the chance to play their part in an expedition across the Arctic Ocean. The voyage begins in Northern Norway where the team will search for marine life amongst some of Europe’s most beautiful and wild islands and fjords. The yacht will then head across the Arctic Ocean to the incredibly remote Bear Island before reaching South Spitsbergen. This voyage will run in the Arctic Spring when sea ice fringed southern Spitsbergen offers opportunities for polar bear sightings, as well as the chance to see whales and huge waves of migratory birds. Aqua-Firma marine scientist, Charlotte Caffrey, will be on board to provide an insight into whales and other wildlife spotted throughout the voyage.
Voyages such as a Special Polar Bear Voyage are taken onboard larger ice strengthened ships, dedicated to maximising opportunities to observe polar bears. Encounters have been wonderful year on year for several key reasons:
- The ship is of the highest ice rating and able to both push through as well as sit in ice (polar bears often walk up to hull and observe you!)
- The departure is scheduled before the seasonal melt with the aim of targeting the fast ice at known polar bear hunting grounds.
- Onboard is polar bear expert and photographer Rinie van Meurs who, with in depth knowledge of their distribution and behaviour, has for decades led us to wonderful sightings of mother polar bears and their playful cubs, as well as the more gruesome scenes of hungry bears actively hunting seals on the ice.
From Spring to early Autumn, Aqua-Firma’s Arctic voyages offer opportunities for sea and land exploration on board expedition cruises, classic tallships and a smaller adventure sailing yacht. Voyages last between 8 and 16 days.
Motor ships benefit from more spacious en suite cabins, more varied wining and dining and the opportunity on some voyages to incorporate sea kayaking and scuba diving. Tallship and sailing yacht voyages offer a pioneering experience with fewer people; and when winds are favourable, a perhaps closer connection with the Arctic elements.
“Voyages to Spitsbergen offer once-in-a-lifetime experiences in amongst some of the most dramatic Arctic coastal wilderness,” says Aqua-Firma marine scientist and expedition leader Charlotte Caffrey. “It is a special moment when you come close to a polar bear in its natural environment, or a pod of ghostly white beluga whales break the water’s surface beside you, sea ice to one side, glaciers descending from rocky mountains on the other.”
The Aqua-Firma Ultimate Spitsbergen Portfolio includes:
- Norway to Bear Island, which runs 31 May – 13 June 2016, available from £1,925 per person
- Special Polar Bear Voyages, which runs in June 2016, priced from £2,190 per person
- South Spitsbergen Sailing Voyages, which run in May and June 2016, available from £1,690 per person
- North Spitsbergen Adventure Sailing Voyages, which run 16-28 June and 1-13 July 2016, available from £2,690 per person
To speak to one of Aqua-Firma’s expert team who can help you tailor your trip of a lifetime, please call 0844 412 0848.
For further press information, please contact:
Melissa Hobson/Victoria Randall
T: +44 (0) 20 3440 8924
E: [email protected]
Aqua-Firma offers opportunities for safe and responsible encounters with wildlife and marine life in wilderness locations around the planet. Its unique adventures bridge land and sea from the Equator to the Poles; and where possible brings clients into close proximity to wildlife and marine life whose conservation and research the company helps to fund. Aqua-Firma’s polar voyages contribute to carbon offset programmes which have so far helped to establish and protect rainforest and coastal reserves in Peru, Madagascar, Ecuador and Costa Rica. It tropical journeys often bring clients into uniquely close contact with whales, whale sharks, giant manta rays, turtles and other wildlife in the company of researchers the company helps to fund.