Arctic Wildlife

Iconic, extraordinary & sometimes unexpected wildlife


AR404_arctic_400px.jpgEach Arctic adventure tour offers unique wildlife spotting opportunities
Seeing a polar bear, the Arctic’s apex predator, in the wild is a life-list must for many. Choose any of our Arctic Svalbard itineraries and venture into the sea ice where these amazing creatures are most plentiful—as is their prey: the Atlantic walrus. You’ll also search for arctic foxes, reindeer, bearded and ringed seals, seabirds of every kind, and you’ll look for a variety of whales—bowhead, humpback, and blue —under the midnight sun. And as we head into even more extreme latitudes—nearing the Canadian High Arctic and Greenland— we’ll add muskox and perhaps even the elusive narwhal to our wildlife list. 

On our voyages to Iceland, you’ll sail through massive shoals of herring that are a boon to colonies of seabirds. Spot waders, wildfowl, and many more; plus our eagle-eyed naturalists will scan the horizon for cetaceans frequently seen in the region such as minke and humpback whales. 

Explore the undersea wildlife—discover the unexpected, too
In the Arctic, our ships sail with an ROV (remotely operated vehicle) and an undersea specialist, too. From the comfort of the lounge, you’ll watch video shot during your day’s adventures—a privileged glimpse into the planet’s benthic regions few, if any, have seen. We’ve discovered previously unknown cold-water corals in the fjords of Norway and strange, camouflaged fish lurking on the seafloor.

The lovely arctic tern and other birds
If our polar ships shared an animal spirit guide, it would be the arctic tern, which ranges from the northern Arctic summer to the southern Antarctic summer on the longest migration in the animal kingdom. In addition to the terns, the following species were sighted on last season’s Svalbard voyages alone: barnacle goose, common eider, northern fulmar, purple sandpiper, great phalarope (red), arctic skua, great skua, glaucous gull, black-legged kittiwake, ivory gull, Brunnich’s guillemot, little auk, arctic puffin, and snow bunting. Birders will especially love visiting two seabird hot spots: mist-shrouded Bear Island, which is populated by thousands of fulmars, kittiwakes, guillemots, and gulls; and the Latrábjarg cliffs, Iceland’s largest sea cliff, which teems with a huge population of razorbills, plus guillemots, puffins, white-tailed eagles, and many others.

 

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