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9-19 September 2024
Capture the Arctic Beauty - Join Photographer Rachel Bigsby on our Svalbard Photography Expedition!
Are you ready to embark on an extraordinary journey to capture the breathtaking beauty of Svalbard? We are thrilled to announce our exclusive Svalbard Photography Expedition, led by photographer Rachel Bigsby, Wildlife Photographer of the Year's winner of 'Natural Artistry' (2023) and portfolio winner in Bird Photographer of the Year (2023).
Join us as we venture into the Arctic wilderness, where stunning landscapes and incredible wildlife await.This expedition is designed for both amateur and experienced photographers who seek to enhance their skills while immersing themselves in one of the most captivating destinations on Earth.
Rachel Bigsby is considered one of the leading young wildlife photographers amongst her contemporaries and at the age of just 26-years-old, her work had become internationally recognized as a finalist in five of the world’s leading wildlife photography competitions and through publications with National Geographic.
She is best known for her ‘high key’ photography and creative techniques whilst specializing in cold climate wildlife such as polar bears and seabirds. Rachel is also a proud Nikon Creator and Nikon spokesperson, chosen by the brand to demonstrate the capabilities of their leading photographic equipment with her talents and by speaking at a variety of international events.
In addition to her career as a wildlife photographer, Rachel has been featured on screen several times as an emerging natural history broadcaster with features on the BBC. She has also filmed long lens wildlife for BBC Earth, BBC Springwatch, BBC’s The One Show, Countryfile and most recently assisted on ‘Wild Isles’, a blue-chip documentary with Sir David Attenborough. With a wealth of photography and guiding experience, Rachel is using her passion, knowledge, and camera to connect a global audience to the forefront of wildlife stories whilst inspiring young people with her career path and imparting her love of the natural world onto all who listen.
While onboard MV Villa, you will greatly enjoy receiving personalized feedback from Rachel during dedicated review sessions where she will provide constructive critiques of your work while offering guidance for improvement.
Svalbard is the Norwegian archipelago between mainland Norway and the North Pole. It was discovered by Willem Barentsz in 1596 and is approximately 600 miles (965 kilometres) from the North Pole and 400 miles (644 kilometres) north of Norway. With a land area of 24,721 mi² or 39,784 km² and with 60% of the land covered in ice, Svalbard is considered the largest wilderness area in Europe. Spread across four settlements (Longyearbyen being the largest), it has a population of 2,600.
Expedition mode begins as soon as we depart Longyearbyen – your Expedition Leader and Captain will determine the route based on wildlife, weather, and ice conditions. MV Villa is an excellent platform for photographing the stunning scenery as we sail towards the pack ice in search of seabirds, seals, whales, and, of course, the King of the Arctic… the polar bear.
Join your Expedition Guides on Zodiac cruises and on shore landings to explore, view wildlife and visit historic sites. With a maximum group size of 12 guests, we can mobilize quickly and easily take advantage of any wildlife-viewing opportunities that present themselves ashore or in the Zodiacs. This enables us to easily maximize your Svalbard experience!
DAY 1: LONGYEARBYEN
Meet your dedicated expedition team and crew at the dock in Longyearbyen at 16:00hrs, where you will embark MV Villa and make yourself at home. After you are settled in your cabin, we will conduct the mandatory safety briefing before we sail out from Adventfjorden into Isfjorden. Enjoy the open decks before a welcome dinner is served in the dining room. Your adventure has just begun!
DAY 2-10: EXPLORE THE ARCHIPELAGO
We will be in full expedition mode, exploring the archipelago and taking advantage of all that Svalbard has to offer. Weather and ice conditions will determine the route and your Expedition Leader will keep you updated on the plan throughout your days onboard. On the final day we return to Longyearbyen to celebrate our shared adventures and dock for the night.
Below is an example of what an expedition can look like.
Adventfjorden: As we leave Longyearbyen we will travel through Isfjorden and explore a side fjord before sailing north during the night.
Northwest Corner: Sail through the northwest corner of Spitsbergen, named after its sharp mountain peaks, and explore with Zodiacs and landings.
Seven Islands: The northernmost land mass in Svalbard which is an exciting group of islands that never disappoints. Close to the pack ice, they serve as a gateway for wildlife living in the ice.
Explore the Pack Ice: Depending on the distance to the ice edge, we might sail towards the North Pole pack ice and search for wildlife.
White Island: The most easterly island on Svalbard is White Island. An ice cap covers most of the island and the few exposed places are home to polar bears and walrus. We hope to Zodiac cruise this amazing island that became the last resting place of the Swedish explorer Salomon August Andrée who tried to cross the North Pole in a hydrogen balloon.
Bråsvellbreen & Hinlopen Strait: Sail along the ice wall of the third largest ice cap in the world hoping to get close to the famous Bråsvellbreen with its majestic waterfalls. We continue into Hinlopen Strait that separates the west island from the North Austland. Hinlopen offers beautiful hiking and Zodiac cruising affording you endless opportunities.
Liefdefjorden: We will explore deep into the fjord of love and might reach the mighty Monaco glacier. The side fjords and small groups of islands offers a perfect stop for a hike or a Zodiac cruise that will impress even the most experienced adventurer.
Raudfjorden & Magdalenafjorden: On our way west, the stunning Raudfjorden might be a good place for an outing. Beaches and glaciers create the perfect scenario in our continuous search for wildlife. One of the most scenic fjords is Magdalenafjorden, where walrus often inhabit in the small bays.
Kongsfjorden: Known as the Kings Fjord, any visitor will soon know why. At the end the mighty Kings Glacier stands peaks known as the tree crowns (Svea, Nora and Dana), considered by many as some of the most beautiful of mountain peaks. Kongs Fjord offers beautiful hiking in lush terrain where we might come across reindeer, ptarmigan, or the Arctic fox.
Isfjorden: Explore some of Isfjordens many side fjords. This region is a fjord delta, home to great wildlife, despite being the closest to human civilization in Svalbard. The warm waters of the Gulf stream make the vegetation lush. We will spend the day Zodiac cruising the glacier fronts and perhaps hiking the hills that are old ocean floors, known to be one of the densest dinosaur fossil grounds in the world.
DAY 11: LONGYEARBYEN
Enjoy a final breakfast together as we arrive to Longyearbyen, our final destination where we bid you farewell for disembarkation.
Expedition activities (Zodiac cruises, shore landings, hikes)
Professional guides with lectures and hands-on, in-field tutorials
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner (welcome day is dinner only; final day is breakfast only)
Welcome cocktail; wine with the farewell dinner
Daily cabin housekeeping and turn-down service
Travel to and from starting point in Longyearbyen, Svalbard
Taxes, levies, insurance, VISA fee, immigration duties or other travel services (where applicable)
Personal items such as expedition clothing
Solo Traveller? Just add a note under "Message or Special Request" or email [email protected] and we will assist you.
(Our single supplement rate is x 1.8).
9 September 2024
Valid days for arrival:
Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun