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Hornsund, Svalbard

The famous Norwegian explorer Amundsen stated “Adventure is just bad planning.” In his case maybe the goal was to survive and achieve a successful expedition. We are instead well-supplied with a great infrastructure and are well fed on board National Geographic Explorer. For us adventure is searching for the magical wildlife and scenery you find here at one of the most northern archipelagos in the world. At the northern tip of Svalbard you are only 540 nautical miles to the North Pole. Already, yesterday, before we had cast the lines and left the pier, our sharp-eyed Captain Oliver Kruess spotted a female walrus with her calf swimming in front of the bow. Read More>

Jun 9, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

Bellsund, Spitsbergen

The last day of our expedition along the coast of Norway and north to Svalbard took us to the largest island in the archipelago, Spitsbergen. There are several large fjords or glacially-carved bays that indent the west coast of Spitsbergen. The ship was anchored in one of these fjords, Bellsund, where the bay splits into smaller fjords. Even from the ship we could tell that the hillsides were alive with seabird life. Once on shore we could see the clouds of small birds that make the scree slopes their home in the summer time. Read More>

Jun 7, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

Hornsund, Spitsbergen

We woke up to a misty morning as the National Geographic Explorer was cruising southwards along the east coast of Spitsbergen. This morning, however, still offered great excitement, as our Global Perspectives Speaker, Geoff Daniels from Nat Geo Wild, gave a fascinating talk with video clips of Svalbard´s wildlife. During the morning we anchored in Hornsund on the western side of southern Spitsbergen. Read More>

Jun 6, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

Nordaustlandet and the Pack Ice, Svalbard

One feels insignificant in the vastness of this land.  The horizon and sky blend and we find ourselves enveloped in a sphere within which we are only a tiny particle floating through time.  There was silence in the night as we sat at anchor off the southeastern coast of Nordaustlandet, the second largest island in the Svalbard archipelago. Read More>

Jun 5, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

Olga Strait & Hinlopen, Svalbard

During the night we sailed between Edgeøya and Barentsøya, and through Freemansundet. Both islands are named after the early explorers which ventured into the area. Wilhelm Barentz was the pilot on the Dutch mission in 1596 to find a short cut to Cathay (Chine), going north. Spitzbergen (pointed mountains) became the name of the land he found as he was forced to turn south because of a compact ice wall, the Arctic pack-ice. Edgeøya is named after the supercargo, Thomas Edge, on board an English ship which came up early 17th century searching for opportunities to harvest the ‘beasts,’ the walrus. Read More>

Jun 4, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic


Through the night, National Geographic Explorer steamed toward the main islands of Svalbard. While yesterday was our first day in the archipelago, Bjornoya, although officially apart of Svalbard, is quite remote and very different from the islands we explore today. Expedition leader Bud Lehnhausen, chose to kick off the 2014 Arctic season with a landing at Russebuhkta on the southwestern side of Edgoya. This is a beautiful area with amazing diversity. The Arctic spring and summer seem late in their arrival this season as the snow has only begun its retreat with minimal amounts of tundra uncovered. Read More>

Jun 3, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

Bjørnøya, Svalbard

Having left the dissected coastline of mainland Norway from the northern port of Trømsø, we struck out last night for the remote and wild island of Bjørnøya. Lying nearly 200 miles to the northwest, this magnificent piece of rock is the southernmost island in the Svalbard archipelago. Rarely visited due to its remoteness and often unfavorable weather, just getting there makes for an exciting proposition. With fair seas the entire night and a still, calm dawn we realized that our time here would be of an extraordinary nature. Nearly one million nesting seabirds call this island home during the short Arctic summer and with each passing mile of our approach the amount of bird life became more and more evident. Read More>

Jun 2, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

Tromso, Norway

Tromso is considered to be the gateway to the Arctic. It has traditionally been a waypoint for polar exploration, and is still a stepping stone for many who proceed further north today. We arrived into Tromso in the morning, at breakfast time. Read More>

Jun 1, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

Tysfjorden, Arctic Norway

Today we sailed up another of Norway’s spectacular fjords, Tysfjorden. We anchored at the end of the fjord and made a landing along the river which flows from the mountains on the Swedish-Norwegian border and which creates several very large waterfalls before ending in the fjord. On the beach at the end of the fjord is a Saami summer hunting and fishing camp. The site is called Hellemoboten which probably refers to the meadow near the water of the fjord. Only a few of the residents were on the site, as it is early in the year, but those who were there were working on bringing the several buildings into shape for the summer. We had some very friendly interactions with these Saami, one of whom was born there when the site was occupied year round. Hellemoboten offers opportunities for a variety of hikes and walks. Read More>

May 31, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

Lofoten Islands VIDEO

Brilliant sunshine greeted us as we approached the Lofoten Islands for our first landing this morning on Væorya Island. Calm seas and a light chill filled the air and added to the excitement of visiting these remote and stunning islands. The tiny settlement of Mastad sat below towering mountains with high clouds wrapping around their peaks in the rising wind. Read More>

May 30, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

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Please note: Daily Expedition Reports (DER’s) are posted Monday-Friday only, during normal business hours.

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Please note: All Daily Expedition Reports (DER's) are posted Monday-Friday, during normal business hours.