Svalbard- East & North
Guarded by pack ice, explore the little-visited North
Information about Svalbard- East & North
If you can venture this far north and east, you're very much in the high arctic. Closed to exploration for parts of the season due to the density of the pack ice, that often lingers here, the northern and north east areas of the Svalbard archipelago are some of the least visited.
Here the terrain gives way to the so-called "polar desert" - permanent ice caps cover much of the land, and where it does melt, very little vegetation grows on a landscape that has been hewn by ice over millions of years.
Despite the lack of cover, this part of Svalbard is well-worth exploring if you can, as there is plenty of remarkable wildlife. Arctic ducks and geese nest here, and some of the biggest concentrations of walrus in the arctic gather on the shores. Polar bears and ringed seals are also common sights, as are minke and beluga whales.
The group of islands known as Sjuøyane are the most northerly in Svalbard and always a good location for Polar Bears.
Later in the season ships often head up to the pack ice edge from the north coast of Spitsbergen.
Interesting facts about Svalbard- East & North
Our expert guide says: "One of the reasons we always hope the Hinlopen Strait will open up early is that it gives us access to one of the most spectacular bird cliffs in the arctic, Alkefjellet. As well as stunning geology, they are home to thousands upon thousands of guillemots, little auks and kittiwakes. Often people's highlight of a Svalbard cruise, taking a Zodiac ride below them is a must-do!"
Remotest of all is the bleak island of Kvitoya, far to the NE.