Kayaking Adventures in Spitsbergen

Thursday, 30th March 2017

Liz Lunnon

arctic spitsbergen kayaking excursion ae

Head of Worldwide Product, Liz, took a journey Around Spitsbergen on a voyage on board the MS Expedition. Here she recounts her experience of paddling through ice at 80 degrees north…

At the end of another fantastic day here in the Arctic, I think it’s fair to say we’re on top of the world in every sense.

Today started early with a 1am sighting of a blue whale – just enough time to grab a camera & chuck on some warm layers over our PJ’s before heading out onto deck to see the world’s largest creature. Quite a sight to behold, even from a distance, and well worth getting out of bed for! After a few short hours we awoke again to find ourselves cruising northeast of Spitsbergen, approaching the edge of the Arctic pack ice.

As our ice-strengthened ship weaved its way through the sea ice, all eyes were peeled for wildlife – birdwatchers were thrilled to see little auks and ivory gulls, whilst the appearance of the occasional harp seal provided some distraction in the water.

arctic spitsbergen ms expedition polar voyage ship

After lunch, it was time for a closer look, with the chance to take a kayak excursion through the ice. With fairly foggy conditions it wasn’t long before we were out of sight of the ship and the other passengers who were cruising in Zodiacs. Just our three kayaks were left, gliding silently through the Arctic Ocean at 80 degrees north, exploring icebergs and floes of different shapes and sizes, and trying to grasp the fact that now nothing but ice lay between us and the North Pole.

I’ve never kayaked anywhere so remote, or on such deep open water, and the sensation of paddling through brash ice for the first time was just indescribable. What an incredible privilege to experience the Arctic from this perspective. And just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, an inquisitive walrus popped up to join us! Paddling back to the ship we stopped to clamber out onto the floating ice, pausing to take stock of our surroundings and feeling, quite literally, on top of the world.

The day ended as it had begun, with everyone on deck to enjoy another visit from a whale, this time a humpback close to the ship. And then to bed, wondering what new adventures tomorrow will bring?


Start planning your Spitsbergen cruise

Browse our full collection of voyages in Spitsbergen and beyond including optional kayaking excursions. If you would like to discuss the best option for you, contact our Polar Specialists on 01737 887 433 or send us an enquiry online.

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