Svalbard (Spitsbergen) is incredibly beautiful, with its rugged mountains, sweeping tundra, ice caps and glaciers. Lying only 600 miles from the North Pole, it is a true wilderness, difficult to reach and hostile to explore. Spitsbergen is amongst the most interesting and exciting of all Arctic destinations, and with little or no hunting remains home to abundant wildlife including between 2,000-3,000 Polar Bears as well as whales, seals, walruses, reindeer, Arctic fox, huge seabird colonies and spectacular floral displays.
Aqua-Firma Arctic Expertise
The Aqua-Firma team have been exploring Spitsbergen and the High-Arctic for over a decade: guiding, delivering inspiring onboard lectures and introducing guests to the magnificent but fragile beauty of this archipelago. It is this in-depth, on location knowledge and expertise which can guide your choice of voyage to best match your timing, interest and budget.
The archipelago changes its character throughout it short summer period of activity. The Arctic Spring sees plentiful sea ice and migrating wildlife, eager to feed, nest and breed. As the ice retreats, 24 hrs daylight completes the seasonal melt and by July and August access is often afforded to the north and east of Spitsbergen, inviting circumnavigation to explore very contrasting environments. Towards the season's end, late Summer voyages bring spectacular sunsets and plentiful wildlife until at last Winter approaches and the frozen lands are once more illuminated by the magical Northern Lights (Aurora borealis).
Aqua-Firma's professional experience means that adventures such as Polar Sea Kayaking, Snow Shoe Walking, hiking and polar sailing can form an integral part of certain expeditions, or be added in as day trip extensions either side of your voyage. Photographic opportunities abound throughout the year, but on certain voyages we offer specialist onboard Photography Workshops. On others, our Birdwatching guide, Robert Brown, OBE, brings with him the experience of 12 years a Director of RSPB (Northern Ireland).
For the experienced dry suit diver we have an exciting programme of Polar Diving. Speak to one of our professional divers or marine scientists for more information on upcoming arctic diving expeditions.
Small ship voyages
We provide the opportunity to explore this remote wilderness by your choice of small ice strengthened expedition cruise ship or classic tall ship. Vessels which carry small groups of between 20 - 189 guests, in stimulating and intimate atmosphere of like minded people. Each vessel however delivers a different experience:
The ice strengthened motor ships are bold and powerful, hosting excellent viewing from the bridge, bow and decks throughout its length. One can watch in awe as the strongest vessels deftly move aside an ice mass equal in size to itself, whilst carving a path through the floes. These voyages may offer spacious en suite cabins and excellent cuisine, but still maintain the objective of daily landings and exploration in the company of experts.
Classic tallships; handsome, comfortable and undoubtedly suited to the challenges of the Arctic, evoke a romance and an expeditionary sense of adventure which comes with moving as one with the nature rather than against it.
All Arctic experiences are enriched by interaction through lectures and discussions with expert naturalists, historians and sailors onboard. Every opportunity is made to take zodiac landings to explore on foot the glaciers, icebergs and fjords of this frozen expanse, observe wildlife and visit historic sites.
Our Commitment to the Climate
Aqua-Firma is committed to the conservation of the places it visits. This is why we have calculated the average CO2 emissions of our Arctic and Antarctic Voyages and will automatically offset each client’s share of emissions via our Rainforest4Climate Fund. Aqua-Firma will also automatically offset the carbon emissions of flights booked through us for polar voyages.
Polar Travel with Aqua-Firma
An Arctic expedition is a major travel undertaking for most travellers, which is why we provide detailed information throughout the booking and preparation process. Aqua-Firma is an ATOL protected travel company and can assist in booking flights and accommodation before and after your voyage. We can also provide comprehensive information about transportation, accommodation and what to do in Oslo and Longyearbyen. With years of on location experience in the High Arctic, we are on hand to answer any questions you may have prior to departure and give you the assurance of 24 hour support whilst away.
When you pick up the phone or email Aqua-Firma, you will be able to speak directly with one of our polar experts or guides. Whether your interest is a particular location, a desire for a specific experience, or a specialist interest such as sailing, photography, sea kayaking or polar diving, we will be able to provide the information you are looking for at a price difficult to match.