On this extended exploration of the Svalbard archipelago, there is ample time to enjoy the best of this magical region, a world of near-endless daylight, where polar bear sightings quicken your pulse, guillemot cries echo from towering cliffs, and beluga whales rise from the sea. With extra time for exploration, we hope to show you some of our favourite places in Svalbard, and perhaps discover some new ones. Unpredictable conditions are expected in wild and remote places such as Svalbard, and with extra time, we can slow the pace of the voyage, linger longer in quiet bays to enjoy wildlife encounters and return to a place that was previously not possible. Explore tundra adorned with wildflowers, keep watch for arctic fox, and discover historical camps of explorers and hunters. Push through pack ice to find walrus and bearded seals, and delight in the breathtakingly beautiful fjords. We don’t want you to miss out on anything!
In true expedition style we encourage exploration and adventure, offering flexibility in challenging environments in a way that puts you among the action to see and do as much as possible. This itinerary is only a guide and subject to change due to ice and weather conditions.
Having made your way to Longyearbyen, you will be met by a representative of Aurora Expeditions and transferred to our group hotel. Upon arrival at your included hotel, please visit the Aurora Expeditions hospitality desk to collect your luggage cabin tags and to speak with our ground operations team, who may have information to share with you about pre-embarkation or to provide you with information about where to dine, withdraw cash or purchase last minute items from a local pharmacy or supermarket.
The remainder of your time is at leisure. All meals today are at your own expense.
Accommodation: Radisson Blu Polar Hotel
This morning is at leisure prior to meeting your guide at our hotel in the early afternoon.
Our locally guided journey begins with a drive to the outskirts of Longyearbyen. The stark landscape plays host to a vault unlike any other worldwide. Although not open to the public, the unique design of its entrance affords us an insight into the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, home to a seed bank of over 4000 plant species. We continue to Camp Barentz, located in the Advent Valley, where we enjoy a presentation in the large ‘lavvo’ - a traditional building common in northern Norway. Here your host shares tales of living in the remote Arctic. You'll learn about Longyearbyen’s fascinating history, its early explorers and Svalbard's most famous inhabitants - the polar bear, before we meet the camp's friendly huskies or perhaps pick up some souvenirs. A visit to the eclectic Svalbard Museum is included back in town before embarking the vessel in the late afternoon.
After embarkation, settle into your cabin before attending mandatory safety briefings and enjoy the thrill of departure as we ‘throw the lines’ and set sail. Sail out of the beautiful Isfjorden, escorted by gliding fulmars and perhaps the occasional puffin. Find a spot in one of the observation areas to watch seabirds, including graceful ivory gulls, kittiwakes and guillemots. They rise and fall skilfully, using the air currents created by the ship to gain momentum.
This evening, get to know your fellow expeditioners and your friendly expedition team and crew at the Captain’s Welcome Dinner to celebrate the start of a thrilling adventure.
NOTE: Sometimes our ship is unable to dock in Longyearbyen port due to space and capacity. In these instances, we reach the ship by Zodiac. Please ensure that you keep your wet-weather gear in your hand luggage to use in the Zodiacs, if the situation arises. Please ensure your cabin luggage tag is completed clearly showing your cabin number and name. Our crew will deliver your luggage directly to your cabin.
Svalbard offers Arctic wilderness at its best. Our experienced expedition team will use their expertise to tailor our day-to-day itinerary, choosing the best options, based on the prevailing weather, sea-ice conditions and the possibility of encounters with wildlife. Above the Arctic Circle during the boreal summer, the sun does not drop below the horizon until late August, so we enjoy 24 hours of daylight, and more time to explore this breathtaking part of the planet.
Svalbard's phenomenal fjords, magnificent mountain ranges and polar desert are rich in fossils, perfectly setting the stage for heroic tales of early exploration. We may encounter walrus hauled-out on sea ice or wallowing on beaches. We may seek out towering cliffs noisy with nesting guillemots and listen to the busy chanting of little auk colonies protected amongst the scree slopes.
With more time than on our classic Svalbard voyages we plan to reach further afield, we will attempt to explore the two largest islands in the archipelago; Spitsbergen and Nordauslandet. We may enjoy the delights around Barentsoya and Edgeoya that are located in the Hinlopen Strait, a known polar bear migration route. We plan to visit the remains of old whaling settlements, old pomor sites, and enjoy early morning Zodiac cruises. We will encounter glittering glaciers, keep watch for beluga whales and watch for ivory gulls.
Weather and ice permitting we may sail along the most northerly point of the Svalbard archipelago, a favoured spot to a large colony of walruses. We may encounter the mighty polar bear in its element, in the pack ice. Your expedition team is just as keen as you are to find them – we will be on constant watch to spot these magnificent creatures.
If you are participating in an optional activity such as kayaking, you will have opportunity to experience the Arctic whenever conditions allow. For those who are enthusiastic to participate in a polar plunge, when conditions are perfect, you will hear the announcement to prepare for an exhilarating dip – a memory to savour for years to come.
Early morning we cruise back into Longyearbyen for disembarkation. Farewell your crew and expedition team and enjoy some free time before transferring to the airport to continue your journey.
Note: We do not recommend booking flights that depart prior to 12.00 pm on the day of disembarkation, as we may experience delays at the conclusion of the voyage.
Whale and mammal spotting
Lectures on wildlife, our environment, history and destinations
Sea Kayaking One of the most exhilarating ways to experience Antarctica, the Arctic and beyond. Sea kayaking holidays in the …
Sea kayaking holidays in the humbling wilderness of Antarctica, the Arctic, and some of the world’s most biodiverse regions, are guaranteed to stir your soul. Paddle between brash ice and icebergs of all shapes and sizes, absorbing the majestic scenery as it unfolds before you.
In Antarctica, keep your camera on-hand for unforgettable encounters with penguins, seals and whales, and occasionally leopard seals or orcas. In the Arctic, prepare to paddle under nesting bird colonies, past massive glaciers and around large iceberg.
Led by experienced guides, you and your small group of like-minded adventurers will paddle between ice floes, brash ice and icebergs of all shapes and sizes. Paddling is one of the best ways to access and intimately explore the beautiful coastlines we visit and therefore make the most of your time in the wild and remote destinations we visit.
‘Getting out amongst it’ is our philosophy, and that is exactly what we do. Weather permitting, the sea kayaking activity is normally available anytime the other expeditioners go out. Rather than travelling large distances, our aim is to ensure you see as much as possible. We paddle between 5 to 15 kilometres (2 to 4 hours) per outing, often taking a snack and a flask of hot chocolate to enjoy on our excursion.
Each small group of kayakers (up to 10 per guide) will have their own intimate exploration of the small hidden bays and coasts that are inaccessible to Zodiacs. Of course, we also make time for your own shore excursions and wildlife encounters.
The elements play an important role in our sea kayaking program. It is important that you have an adventurous attitude and understand that the weather can impact our kayaking time.
For all of our trips, you must be active in the outdoors and have an adventurous spirit. The level of experience differs slightly depending on the region you are visiting.
For most temperate and polar you should be an intermediate paddler. In South Georgia however, conditions can be more varied and you require solid paddling experience in ocean swell and wind.
For our tropical trips some prior paddling experience is needed. We may encounter wind on these trips, however the water is fairly protected.
You do not need to be an expert or know how to roll. However, you must be able to swim and you should have experience in a wet exit and assisted re-entry. You should also be proficient at putting on a spray skirt by yourself and be comfortable paddling on seas with up to half a metre swell. It is also important that you gain some practice getting into a kayak from a pier, wharf, or deep shoreline where you can’t step into the kayak from standing position. You can easily practice all of this at home, plus paddling in a variety of weather conditions, before your trip.
Our guides do not offer instructional classes for beginners. Therefore, the sea kayaking option is unsuitable for complete novices. However, there is often ample time to gain the required experience before you depart. We may be able to recommend a reputable sea kayak operator in your area for some tuition prior to the trip.
Your guide will assess your ability on the initial paddle, and if you have insufficient experience, he or she reserves the right to restrict your participation in rougher conditions.
You should be fit enough to paddle for up to three hours and climb between moving Zodiacs on the water. Regular exercise is recommended, because the fitter you are the more you will enjoy the experience. The more paddles you can do before the trip, the better. We recommend at least three outings prior to your voyage.
During summer the air temperature in the Antarctic Peninsula, Greenland and Spitsbergen are generally above freezing but can range from -4°C to +5°C / 24.8°F to 41°F. The water temperature in the polar regions is close to freezing and winds sweep off the glaciers, making paddling a chilling experience. In South Georgia, there are stronger winds and swells than in Antarctica. Scotland, Iceland, Norwegian coasts are warmer with water temperatures of around 12 °C/ 53.6°F.
The northern waters are warmer than the polar regions but water temperatures of around 12 °C/ 53.6°F mean you may opt to wear your paddle jacket on a warm, sunny day or our dry suits on a cool day. Surf landings are not likely, but you must be capable of paddling in a small swell or wind chop, with winds up to 20 knots. With that being said, we will not paddle if wind conditions are too strong and there is no sheltered area for paddling.
In Costa Rica and Panama, April is the end of the dry season. The shoulder season begins in May, bringing increased humidity. Afternoon rain showers are possible in May with temperatures ranging from 26-36 °C (80- 96 °F). Winds are generally light at this time of year. The water temperature ranges from 27 -29 °C. Surf landings are not likely, but be prepared to paddle in a small swell or wind chop, with winds up to 15 knots. Again, we will not paddle if wind conditions are too strong and there is no sheltered area for paddling.
The Sea Kayaking activity is available for an additional surcharge and includes guided excursions and kayaking equipment. Fares for this activity start from US$900, AU$1,250, £460 or €550.
Prices are indicative only and are variable. They are calculated based on the days of voyage, ability to carry out the activity and exchange rates.
Kayaking is one of the best ways to spot rare wildlife, from penguins to puffins.
Access intimate bays and coves that bigger crafts can't reach.
Our experienced sea kayak guides will help bring your chosen destination to life.
Hone your kayaking skills and gain a hobby for life!
Become lifelong friends with your small group of like-minded adventurers.
Being active every day on your holiday means you don't have to feel guilty about being spoilt by our expert chefs!
Add another layer to your once-in-a-lifetime holiday and make the most out of your time in some of the most remote places on earth.
Have the time of your life exploring some of the wildest places on earth from the water.
Our guide to paddler ratio is 1:10 and we provide an accompanying safety Zodiac. There are 26 places available in Antarctica and tropical voyages, 20 in temperate regions, South Georgia and all Arctic trips except in Franz Josef Land where the maximum is 16 kayakers.
Kayakers must be 14 or over.
Sea kayaking is offered in place of regular shore excursions. We aim to paddle as often as possible. Depending on the voyage, we generally aim to paddle twice per day.
We will give you a drybag for extra clothing, binoculars and anything that needs to be kept dry. You should also carry a water bottle. We recommend bringing a waterproof camera or phone, or ensuring you have a good quality waterproof case.
If the weather changes during our outing we will head back to the ship and perhaps join a shore excursion. The ship’s captain, expedition leader and kayak guide always maintain close contact to ensure a safe paddling experience. We do not attempt to paddle too far away from the ship. The emphasis is on experiencing the destination rather than travelling long distances.
The kayaks are made with a hard plastic and are easily paddled in swell and conducting shore landings, and through small patches of brash ice. We manoeuvre around the larger ice chunks and floes.
Kayaking in the poles offers a unique wildlife viewing experience. In Antarctica, we have many opportunities to encounter penguins, seals and whales, and occasionally we may even spot leopard seals or orcas. In the Arctic, we’ll paddle under nesting bird colonies, past massive glaciers and around large icebergs, however we maintain a safe distance from polar bears and walruses. Our guides carry rifles and flare guns in the Arctic to ensure your safety against polar bears.
Kayakers in wild temperate regions will have a unique wildlife experience, with possible encounters with seals and basking sharks. You will have the opportunity to view some of the largest sea bird colonies in the northern hemisphere.
The superb wildlife-viewing opportunities are endless in the astonishingly biodiverse nature reserves we visit. Kayaks offer a unique opportunity to view marine and land mammals, coral reefs, tropical fish, sea birds and an astonishing range of rainforest birds. We will bring our snorkelling gear with us during our paddles and take advantage of any opportunities to view marine life up close.
In the unlikely event of a capsize, your experienced guide will assist by righting the kayak, stabilising it then pumping it out. Paddlers will re-enter with the guide’s help, or with a support Zodiac. With drysuits and warm clothing underneath you will be comfortable in cold water for up to half an hour. Note that the kayaks have separate compartments with bulkheads, which means they will float after a capsize.
No. Each kayaking place is for one person only. Passengers are unable to share a kayaking place as we customise the kayaks and dry suits for each individual kayaker at the beginning of each voyage.
Want to book flights and accommodation with us or simply want some additional information? Click the button below and fill out the form, our expedition experts are more than happy to help.
*Terms & Conditions apply. Valid on select ship voyages only. Offer is valid on new bookings only aboard the Greg Mortimer or Sylvia Earle which must be booked and deposited by February 28, 2023. Promotion is subject to availability at the time of booking and capacity controlled. The promotion is only available in conjunction with the back to back voyage discount or the loyalty program offer, and not available with any other offer. The promotion can be withdrawn at any time and is not redeemable for cash. Normal booking terms and conditions apply. To confirm your booking, a completed booking form and non-refundable deposit of $2,500 pp in the booking currency is required within 7 days of reserved berth/s. Additional terms and conditions may apply. Please see full terms and conditions.
^Terms & Conditions apply. Additional 5% discount valid on both voyages but two voyages must connect back to back in terms of dates to be eligible. Offer is valid on new bookings only aboard the Greg Mortimer or Sylvia Earle. Promotions are subject to availability at the time of booking and capacity controlled. The promotion is only available in conjunction with early bird voyage discount or the loyalty program offer, and not available with any other offer. The offer can be withdrawn at any time and are not redeemable for cash. Normal booking terms and conditions apply. Please see full terms and conditions.