Incredible Arctic Experiences: 20 pictures of Ice, Wildlife, Birdlife and Historical Sites.

Faksevagen, Svalbard, Arctic

Standing on top of Faksevagen Hill on Svalbard in the Arctic with the Silver Explorer docked

As the ship slowed to nudge through vast sheets of frozen sea ice, a crackling noise rose around me. It was the sound of breaking ice as the strengthened hull of Silversea’s Silver Explorer ship eased closer to the edge of the solid polar ice cap. Over 500 miles of solid ice now stood between us and the North Pole. This was as close as a ship like ours could get. We were surrounded by small icebergs and slabs of ice that the occasional Bearded Seal could be seen lolling about on.

Excitement rose as the Expedition Leader quietly announced that a Polar Bear was lying several hundred metres away. The Captain gently turned the ship and tried to navigate closer to him. The ice soon became too thick for even our specially designed ship, so we came to rest and waited. Hoping the bear would grow curious and come towards us. He did.

Every day of my ten-day Silversea Arctic cruise was filled with memorable sights and activities like this. I relished that I was undertaking something unique and different to anything I have ever done. Making this the trip of my lifetime. It is hard to see what will beat this.

The cruise supplied four amazing experiences that made a massive impact on me: Arctic Ice, Arctic Wildlife, Arctic Bird life and Arctic Historical Sites  The best way to bring these to life is through twenty photographs I have chosen from all of those I took as, in this case, pictures really will tell more than words ever can.

Arctic Ice:


Ice cruising. Edging our way through vast sheets at the Polar Ice cap edge.Ice Cruising in the Arctic

Burgerbukta Glacier on Svalbard. A gorgeous sight, made special as we saw our first polar bear here. A rather grubby looking chap!
Burgerbukta Glacier, Svalbad, ArcticPolar Bear at Burgerbukta Glacier, Svalbad, ArcticMonacobreen Glacier on Svalbard. Discovered and named by Prince Albert I of Monaco. We watched it calving which was a very special experience.Monacobreen Glacier, Svalbard, ArcticMonacobreen Glacier Calving, Svalbard, ArcticHamiltonBukta Glacier on Svalbard. Thick ice-filled bay that we picked our way through on our zodiacs to explore.Hamiltonbukta Glacier, Svalbard, Arctic14 July Glacier named by the French after Bastille Day. We hiked up and walked on it. 14 July Glacier, Svalbard, Arctic


Arctic Wildlife:


Polar Bear on the floating sea ice north of Svalbard. They live here in the summer hunting seals.Polar Bear seen Ice Cruising in the Arctic


Bearded Seal at Hamiltonbukta Glacier, Svalbard – keeping a careful eye on us! Bearded Seal at Hamiltonbukta Glacier, Svalbard, ArcticWalrus at Poolepynten, Svalbard. They lay about like a group of grumpy old men.Walrus at Poolepynten, Svalbard, ArcticArctic Reindeer and Arctic Fox at Alkhornet, Svalbard. Arctic Fox in Alkhornet, Svalbad, ArcticArctic Reindeer, Alkhornet, Svalbad, Arctic


Arctic Birdlife:


Puffins at Bear Island on our way to Svalbard. Puffins on Bear Island Svalbad ArcticGuillemots on Bear Island. They look like penguins but are not related.Guillemots on Bear Island Svalbard ArcticKittiwake Chicks on Bear Island, Svalbard. Kittiwake Chicks on Bear Island Svalbard ArcticGlaucous Gull landing on ice near Monacobreen Glacier, Svalbard. Monacobreen Glacier, Svalbard, Arctic


Arctic Historical Sites:


Gnalodden, where the female hunter (Wanny Woldstad) used this hunter’s hut in the 1930s to hunt polar bears and arctic foxes during winter, challenging the all-male hunting history.Gnalodden, Svalbad, ArcticYtre Norskoya on Svalbard, where Dutch whalers looked out for whales, hunted and boiled down the blubber. 138 are buried here. Ytre Norskoya, Svalbard, ArcticNy Alesund. Coal mine until 1960s, where Amundsen launched the airship to be first man to go over the North Pole and now a Research Centre with between 30 Winter and 150 Summer residents. Ny Alesund Polar Bear sign, Svalbard, Arctic


Cruising from Tromso to Bear Island and around Svalbard was a truly amazing adventure. On board the Silver Explorer we were pampered before being led out each day by the 11-person Expedition Team of experts to stroll, climb, cruise or just stare and watch the Arctic magnificence. I have been to many places in the world, but this was definitely the most memorable and thrilling I have done. Add it to your bucket list if it is not already on there.

To see all the photographs from my trip visit Tips For Travellers Silver Explorer Arctic Album

Disclaimer: I travelled as a guest of Silversea Cruises on the 10-night Arctic cruise from Tromso to Longyearbyen.

Gary Bembridge

I grew up in Zimbabwe, but I have been based in London since 1987. My travel life spans more than three decades and that includes more than 95 cruises. In 2005, I launched Tips for Travellers to make it easy and fun for people to discover, plan and enjoy incredible cruise vacations. And the rest, as they say, is history. I have the largest cruise vlogger channel currently on YouTube, with more than 3 million video views per month.

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1 Response

  1. All my favourite things wrapped up in one amazing adventure! Wildlife, snow and ice and nature at it’s most awesome. Fabulous photos too!

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