Travelling to Svalbard is an unforgettable experience. Due to its inaccessibility, nature is still very much untouched and the fauna unique. And this is exactly why Svalbard is so particularly attractive to us. Many explorers’ stories ended in this barren landscape. Luckily it is easier now and you can admire Svalbard in a safe and modern way!
The best way to discover Svalbard
Many dream of embarking on Svalbard. Only a few will have the opportunity of travelling to this exclusive destination (providing you don’t get bitten by that annoying arctic bug and become addicted to its ice and polar bears …).
That is why we see it as our ultimate responsibility of making this trip an unforgettable experience which meets all your expectations and even surpasses them. One thing is sure; as a nature photographer there is no better way to discover Svalbard than with STARLING!
Unique experience on board MS Freya
MS Freya was the most obvious choice as we want to approach Svalbard’s vulnerable nature in as discreet a way as possible without causing too much disruption. We also want to get as close to the animals as we can. Not an easy feat for large ships. Moreover we think that you as a photographer should not have to fight for the best spot should a Polar Bear make an appearance. That is why we limit the participants! Here under you will find the highlights of this exclusive tour:
- Small group of 12 photographers
- Wonderful summer landscapes
- High adventure
- Unique destination
- Exclusively nature photography tailored program
- Guided by professional photographer and experienced expedition team
- We decide where to go and how long
- Very ambitious and flexible program
- Wonderful boat MS Freya
Photographic guidance is provided by professional nature photographer Yves Adams. He has travelled to the north of Svalbard several times in the past and has gathered extensive knowledge of the Arctic world as well as hidden locations in fjords, glaciers and islands. Yves sets high standards for good locations with the best light. He knows where to look and ensures you have the necessary baggage to look yourself and photograph. Even the advanced photographer will be amazed.
The captain and the expedition team regularly set sail with nature photographers on board and know what we expect from them. The combination of this strong team ensures that everything goes smoothly down to the last detail. So be sure to bring enough memory cards!
We will keep you posted
31 May 2019
Accommodation and transport
Our biggest trump card is also our smallest one! We will take to the seas on MS Freya, a small but very cosy ice reinforced passenger goat, of which we have the exclusive use. This means there will only be 12 photographers on this trip and we decide where we want to go and for how long. We do not share the ship with third parties or other charters. We also do not have a daily programme which obliges us to travel on each dy. The prices are per person!
Hiking and nature study
The excursions on land are easy to moderate. A basic condition will suffice for this trip. We make the most of nature experience during this trip. This means we will not only look for pack ice species but also for typical seabirds and various other marine mammals.
Climate and clothing
The arctic experiences a range of weather conditions. Good quality and very warm waterproof clothing is necessary for the comfort of this trip. We travel as far as 80° North and maybe even to 81°, which is very close to the North Pole. Yet thanks to the ‘warm’ gulf stream it is remarkably warmer than in other places on Earth at this latitude. You can compare the temperature in the summer in Svalbard with an average warm winter’s day in our region, from about 5 or 10 degrees above zero. Despite the midnight sun, temperatures may drop during the last rays of sun or when it is cloudy. We travel there during early summer, so we can expect a lot of snow. Close to the glaciers (and on the pack ice) it is rather chilly as the century old ice radiates cold. Rain is rare in this ‘Arctic desert’.
Leaving for a cold destination in the summer can be misleading, so be prepared. Hat, gloves and a scarf are indispensible and are best brought along in multiples, in case they get wet on the zodiac, for instance. Most people need a (think) down coat. You best bring lots of layers, starting with thermal underwear, a warm soft shell (fleece jumper or the likes) and on top of that a windstopper and hardshell coat or even a winter coat. A non-insulating ski suit (dungarees), in order to withstand the spray (zodiac!) or to crawl onto the wet permafrost or snow works wonders.
Photography and objectives
We opt for a small ship, for various reasons. First of all we want to travel as discreetly as possible in Svalbard’s vulnerable nature without causing too much disruption while getting as close as possible to the animals.
We want to experience nature and we are photographers and we want to have our own little space onboard. Or rather not have to elbow our way to the best spot when a polar bear appears. Can you imagine the frantic situation of 50 photographers or more trying to get the best spot with their lenses and tripods, even though the ship is large enough. But also on land we want our freedom. And we can achieve this in a small group. This also gives us sufficient opportunities to approach the animals, which we could not do with larger groups.
We travel on a cosy ship, with all comforts. The captain is used to nature explorers and knows what we expect. Only a handful of operators manage to charter this popular ship at this time of year and we are very lucky to be able to offer this trip to you!