Polar Bear Quest on Svalbard with Polar Quest

POLAR BEAR QUEST WITH M/S QUEST
Itinerary:

We visit Svalbard early in the season, when the midnight sun reigns supreme. The bird colonies are teeming with life and the peaks of the dramatic mountain ranges are snow-covered. The ice still keeps the islands in its grip and we can Polar Bear Quest on Svalbard with Polar Questadmire the ever-changing ice formations while searching for walrus, whales, foxes and polar bears.

Day 1: Longyearbyen
We arrive in Longyearbyen and transfer to our hotel.

Day 2 - 8: Svalbard
We start our adventure in Svalbard by exploring the High Arctic capital of Longyearbyen. In the afternoon we embark our expedition ship and sail out through the spectacular Ice Fjord. We are now in a part of the world where we are totally dependent on the ice and weather conditions.

Our exact itinerary depends on these factors and on the wildlife we encounter. Our ambition is to make landings or cruises every day with our rigid Zodiacs. Here are some examples of places we may visit:

Prins Karls Forland
This narrow strip of land is covered by a magnificent and snow-covered mountain chain. The island is also home to many seabirds and harbour seals.

Northwest Svalbard
On the islands of Danskøya, Amsterdamøya and Ytre Norskøya there are still visible remnants from the bustling activity during the 17th century’s whaling period. Two of the most courageous attempts to reach the North Pole started on Danskøya. Swedish balloonist Andrée made an attempt with a hydrogen balloon and American journalist Wellman started with an airship.

There are still interesting remnants from these expeditions left on this site. Fantastic fjords Svalbard offers the visitor countless spectacular fjords. During our journey we will explore a few of them such as:

Liefdefjorden, meaning “the fjord of love”, is lined with snow-covered mountain peaks and here we hope to cruise along the face of the spectacular Monaco Glacier. Many common eiders and pinkfooted geese nest in the area and if lucky we can see the rare king eider. In Krossfjorden we revel in the beautifully sculptured front of the 14th of July Glacier to the raucous greeting of the large numbers of kittiwakes and Brünnich’s guillemots nesting on the nearby cliffs. Raudfjorden is an area of immense natural beauty – dominated by beautiful glaciers it is also a favourite spot for seals and the bird cliffs are bursting with activity.

North Spitsbergen and Hinlopen
North of Spitsbergen we might meet the edge of the pack ice. Not many ships venture here and we can marvel at the silence and grandeur of this icy landscape. Chances of meeting polar bears increase as we sail along the ice floes. If the ice allows we may enter Hinlopen Strait.

Here lies Alkefjellet, a sheer, basaltic cliff, which is the home to an estimated 200 000 Brünnich’s guillemots.

Day 9: Longyearbyen
We reach Longyearbyen in the early morning and begin our journey home.

Please note:
Our exact route will depend on ice, weather conditions and wildlife. The places mentioned above are just examples of some of the many sites Svalbard has to offer. We always strive to maximise your experience. Please remember that flexibility is the key to a successful expedition!
Polar Bear Quest on Svalbard with Polar Quest


Svalbard

(Norwegian pronunciation: [ˈsʋɑ(ː)lbɑːɾ][citation needed]; formerly known by its Dutch name Spitsbergen) is a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean. Situated north of mainland Europe, it is about midway between continental Norway and the Svalbard - Flag and coat of armsNorth Pole. The islands of the group range from 74° to 81° north latitude, and from 10° to 35° east longitude. The largest island is Spitsbergen, followed by Nordaustlandet and Edgeøya.

Administratively, the archipelago is not part of any Norwegian county, but rather forms an unincorporated area administered by a state-appointed governor. Since 2002, Svalbard's main settlement, Longyearbyen, has had an elected local government, somewhat similar to mainland municipalities.

Other settlements include the Russian mining community of Barentsburg, the research station of Ny-Ålesund, and the mining outpost of Sveagruva. Svalbard is the northernmost settlement in the world with a permanent civilian population. Other settlements are farther north, but are populated only by rotating groups of researchers; e.g. Alert, Nunavut—the northernmost year-round community.

The islands were first taken into use as a whaling base in the 17th and 18th centuries, after which they were abandoned. Coal mining started at the beginning of the 20th century, and several permanent communities were established. The Svalbard - Flag and coat of armsSvalbard Treaty of 1920 recognizes Norwegian sovereignty, and the 1925 Svalbard Act made Svalbard a full part of the Kingdom of Norway. They also established Svalbard as a free economic zone and a demilitarized zone.

The Norwegian Store Norske and the Russian Arktikugol remain the only mining companies in place. Research and tourism have become important supplementary industries, with the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS) and the Svalbard Global Seed Vault playing critical roles. No roads connect the settlements; instead snowmobiles, aircraft and boats serve inter-community transport. Svalbard Airport, Longyear serves as the main gateway.

The archipelago features an Arctic climate, although with significantly higher temperatures than other areas at the same latitude. The flora take advantage of the long period of midnight sun to compensate for the polar night. Svalbard is a breeding ground for many seabirds, and also features polar bears, reindeer, the Arctic fox, and certain marine mammals. Seven national parks and twenty-three nature reserves cover two-thirds of the archipelago, protecting the largely untouched, yet fragile, natural environment. Approximately 60% of the archipelago is covered with glaciers, and the islands feature many mountains and fjords.

Svalbard and Jan Mayen are collectively assigned the ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country code "SJ". Both areas are administered by Norway, though they are separated by a distance of over 500 nautical miles (approximately 600 miles or 950 kilometers) and have very different administrative structures.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



Date
Flight
Departure from:
Arrival to:
Time
21 June '15 SK1468
Copenhagen
Oslo
16:55 -- 18:10
21 June '15 SK4496
Oslo
Longyearbyen
20:50 -- 23:40

Sunday 21st of June 2015 and they woke me up at 8 o'clock, no because I'm in a hurry. There are Yet another Smiley on www.aladdin.stplenty time to catch the flight. But I have yet another plan, and this plan will turn me in to a foocking human anti aircraft balloon. Breakfast at the hotel, early. Then I can have a “snack” at SAS lounge at Kastrup International Airport.

The best food you can get in any lounge, and yes, there are many excellent lounges. But I doubt it that you can find any better food than at Turkish Airlines Elite Hotel Marina Plazalounge in Istanbul. Hell, I doubt that you can find any better lounge.

But the food at the Scandinavian Airlines lounge in Copenhagen, well, maybe not much. But the bread must be some of the best bread I have ever had, including “Edwards jävla kavring” at Kalle på Spången. I was approaching the breakfast very carefully

I only had one (half full) plate of sausages from Skåne. 2 cups of tea, I asked the staff and they arranged beer mugs for me. 3 slices of black bread with liver pate and Skånsk pickled cucumbers. Well, this is how to do it, Elite Hotel Marina Plazaavoid eating until it doesn't taste good any more. Yeah, the third plate of smoked Yet another Smiley on www.aladdin.stsalmon and new potato yesterday didn't taste as good as the first plate.

So I didn't spend much time at the breakfast and I felt like a million when I returned to my room to pack up my things

ÖresundstågI stopped at the reception to interrogate the staff about the trains to Kastrup. I found out that the trains leave every hour and I will leave around 12. One hour to the airport and I will be there in good time. No need to stress and sweat running around with my wheeled “Polar” adventure pack. There will Yet another Smiley on www.aladdin.st hopefully also be some time to update my web page before we take off for Svalbard via Oslo.

Interrogation

I checked out at 11 thirty and I was at the train station 1 minute later, just next door from Elite Hotel Marina Plaza. I told the hotel staff that I would be back on the 29th of June. And by then Kitchen & TableI hope Österns Pärla is open. And who knows, I might “POP” by Kitchen & Table for more of the smoked salmon and new potatoes.

So what about Sillen & Makrillen and Roy's Mat & Bar, well, Yet another Smiley on www.aladdin.st hmm, I think I give it a skip. Well, anyway, I was at Knutpunkten 1 minute after checking out. Knutpunkten is the train station/ ferry terminal in Helsingborg. It is quite convenient, at least when you live at Elite Hotel Marina Plaza. And Österns Pärla is just located across the street.

Knutpunkten in Helsingborg
Knutpunkten

Knutpunkten in Helsingborg
Knutpunkten - To the ferries

Knutpunkten in Helsingborg
Knutpunkten

Knutpunkten in Helsingborg

Knutpunkten in Helsingborg
Train waiting to depart

Knutpunkten in Helsingborg
Train waiting to depart

Knutpunkten in Helsingborg
Train to Go:teborg

Time was passing pretty quickly while I was standing on the platform waiting for the train to Kastrup, Copenhagen international. Nice to look in to passing trains and all the passengers. People On board the Öresundstågare reading, talking with each others, playing games and even drinking beer.

It is like a new picture with every different window Yet another Smiley on www.aladdin.stpassing in front of you.

And it is easy to understand that you have to do this at a station, don't try it on a train passing in 200, you won't see very much and the picture by picture effect is equal to ZERO. But standing at a platform when a train is passing slowly in front of you is quite nice to watch.

The train to Go:teborg left and the train to the airport was waiting behind. As soon as the track Train station at Kastrup International Airportwas clear the “airport express” moved in and I got on board. The train was empty. Joy

For 5 minutes, then it was full, very full. It was crowded, not to the extent you thought it was a Indian train, but close. I had a seat, a folded seat in the luggage department and it was OK. Close to the door, good when it is time to get off the train.

It was OK to be on the train even though it was very crowded and I was really grateful that I had a seat. It would for sure Kastrup International Airportnot have been very nice to stand up in the crowd.

One thing good with the crowd, it was very nice to get off the train. And straight up to a new crowd.

Kastrup was full and I expected it to take a long time to check-in. But I was very pleasantly surprised, I was checked-in in a jiff. Most likely thanks to my Star Alliance gold card. Otherwise I would most likely still have been Kastrup International Airportin the check-in area trying to get a boarding pass. Security, well, it was kind of OK. So all in all it was kind of a good experience.

But there are the self service everywhere, just like United have in Honolulu and I was glad I didn't had to use one of those things.

Again, then I would most likely still have been out there trying to check-in to my flight. Kastrup is for sure not one of my favourite airports, but days like this Kastrup makes it quite high on my list of “good” airports. Well, when can we expect English signs at the train station?

Kastrup International Airport

I'm walking to SAS's lounge and when I'm taking a picture there is a guy standing next to a Kastrup International Airportsport car. He ask if I want to win a sport car.
- No, but a taxi ride

I check-in to the lounge and all the seats at the desks are occupied so I have to sit in a sofa. I had some salad and bread drinking soda water. Every now and then I went to check out the desk area to see if there was a desk for me.

I was lucky after some 30 minutes and I moved. I killed time up-dating my web page until 4 o'clock when I moved to gate B10 to board SAS flight SK 1468 to Oslo. I will have to wait SAS/ Star Alliance lounge at Kastrup International Airportfor a few hours in Oslo, free dinner at the SAS lounge, first time for me at their lounge in Oslo so this will be exciting. And I really hope they don't disappoint.

Can turn out to be a cheap holiday as I can eat free where ever I go.

Yet another Smiley on www.aladdin.st Here is money to save! That's the way to go. I think all meals are included during the while stay up here in the North. Well, not while staying in Helsingborg and I will stay 2 more times in Helsingborg before going back home. Time turned quick in the lounge and it was soon time to leave for gate B10. Of course, didn't take long to discover that the “B” gates was at the other end of the airport. So it was more trotting.

SAS/ Star Alliance lounge at Kastrup International Airport

SAS/ Star Alliance lounge at Kastrup International Airport

Gate B10 was almost the last gate, next gate was at the end with windows overlooking the tarmac Scandinavian Airlines System - SASand the runways. I went to check it out and what was that. Looked like a Scandinavian Airlines Systemplane with SAS old colours.

Yes it was and I stopped to take a few pictures, the gate bridge covered half of the air craft. This was a huge disappointment, but half the aircraft is better than nothing. Reminding of a time when SAS was the world leading airline.

First one to fly over the North Pole. The ones inventing the business class. Yes, before it was tourist class and first class. They served TOO GOOD food and they were not allowed to fly to France because there was nothing called business class and the food was too good for tourist class.

When they changed uniforms in SAS it was in the world news and at arrival to New York the reporters were lining up to get the “first” sight of the new uniforms. Where do you think the expression “Beautiful like a Swedish air hostess” comes from?

The booking system and the alliances, all coming from SAS and what are they today? Pretty much shit? My last long haul flight and they dumped a bag in my knee in the morning.
- Breakfast!
Yeah, way to go if you want to be a world leader. Now they are only world leader in self service.

SAS/ Star Alliance lounge at Kastrup International Airport

SAS/ Star Alliance lounge at Kastrup International Airport

SAS/ Star Alliance lounge at Kastrup International Airport

SAS/ Star Alliance lounge at Kastrup International Airport
Old SAS and new SAS

I was just turning around to go back to gate B8 when they removed the gate and the retro SAS plane was departure. I had a few pictures before going back to my gate where they had started SAS flight SK 1468 to Osloboarding. Looked to be a full flight, but it is only about 50 minutes to Oslo from Copenhagen and I have a seat in the aisle.

But it must have been something of the most uncomfortable I have been sitting in on board a plane.

And landing in Oslo, I shat my pants. And by the sound of it, half of the other passengers shat their pants as well. It was more like they shot us down than that we landed.

And I could feel it before we landed, I thought we were flying very fast and I expected us to be Gardermoen International Airport in Osloin the mid air. I looked out the window and we were just about to touch down, BANG!!!

There was a lot of information on the PA system, nothing of which could be heard or understood. OK, I understood that we would have to go by bus from the domestic to the international Gardermoen International Airport in Osloterminal due to some construction work. Well, and something about the luggage and transfer. So I had to ask one of the security guys when we got of the bus. I needed to know what to do, do I need to get my luggage through custom? Or is my luggage going to Svalbard?

Gardermoen International Airport in Oslo
Of course we have to take the bus
I don't want to miss my luggage running around looking for Polar bears in shorts. There was a SAS/ Star Alliance lounge at Gardermoen International Airport in Oslocouple asking the same questions and it turned out that we were on Polar Bear Questthe same Polar Bear Quest.

I was soon finding my way to the SAS/ Star Alliance lounge where I expect them to have Salmon. Well, there was nothing even reminding about salmon.

And honestly, the whole experience was quite disappointing. OK, they had soda water and that was what I drank. But time was quick and it was soon time to leave for gate 58A and SAS flight SK 4496 to Longyearbyen on Svalbard. Gate 58A, sounds like a gate at the end of something far away, trotting again?

SAS/ Star Alliance lounge at Gardermoen International Airport in Oslo
SAS/ Star Alliance lounge at Gardermoen International Airport in Oslo

Can't wait to arrive to Longyearbyen and Radisson Hotel. We will board the boat M/S Quest tomorrow after a tour around Longyearbyen. But before arriving to Longyearbyen and Radisson Gardermoen International Airport in OsloBLU, Polar hotel Spitsbergen we have a 3 hour flight. And of course, trotting to gate 58A.

Gardermoen is a very nice airport and it was not to bad with the trotting. I arrived to the gate and there were many passengers waiting. They told me that the flight was full when I asked about a seat change at the lounge.

The flight was delayed due to late arrival and the plane rolled up at the gate by the time we should start boarding. Now we had to wait for the passengers to disembark and for them to clean the plane. And I was among the first ones to board a few minutes before 9 o'clock. Departure time 9 Gardermoen International Airport in Osloo'clock so we will for sure be delayed.

I was sitting in the aisle seat and there was a guy coming to take the window seat. They plane started to get very full.

People were coming on board like there was no tomorrow and the plane was full. All seats occupied, except the seat next to me.

I was nervous, well, maybe not because I was for sure not expecting the seat next to me to be empty. Suddenly a PA message “BOARDING COMPLETED” and I could not believe my luck.

SAS flight SK 4496 from Oslo to Longyearbyen
We have boarded but we're not allowed to get on board

SAS flight SK 4496 from Oslo to Longyearbyen
We can go on board

SAS flight SK 4496 from Oslo to Longyearbyen
The plane is almost empty when I take my seat

SAS flight SK 4496 from Oslo to Longyearbyen
The plane is full and we're on the way to Svalbard

SAS flight SK 4496 from Oslo to Longyearbyen
The Air Hostess want me to take their pictures when they see my camera

SAS flight SK 4496 from Oslo to Longyearbyen
The Air Hostess want me to take their pictures when they see my camera

SAS flight SK 4496 from Oslo to Longyearbyen
Flying with SAS and they charge me almost 10 US for 2 cans of soda water
OK, it was Ramlösa, the best soda water in the world

On the air plane, the first hour is OK. I call it the “try the luggage” effect. You lift your bag to SAS flight SK 4496 from Oslo to Longyearbyencheck that it is OK and not to heavy. You're surprised, your bag is light like a feather. And you are happy!

But by the time you're out the door it is like your bag weights a ton. So after an hour, well, I spent the first hour talking with the guy next to me and he had interesting stuff to tell me about Svalbard so the time was passing very quickly.

I bought two cans of Ramlösa and they charging me a whopping 50 Norwegian Scooby Doo dollars for that. Jeeze, this is the first time I fly with an air line that charge money for the drinks and food.

I always say no thanks to the food on board flights. OK, on long haul flights you need to eat, and when flying business it is OK. But here was no food offered, and it is a 3 hour flight. They charged money if you wanted a snack and SAS complaining that they don't have any passengers.

The last two hours was not very fun and I was very happy when I could see the mountain tops on Svalbard sticking up through the clouds. That means that we're about to arrive.

SAS flight SK 4496 from Oslo to Longyearbyen
We can see the mountains through the clouds

SAS flight SK 4496 from Oslo to Longyearbyen
We can see the mountains through the clouds

SAS flight SK 4496 from Oslo to Longyearbyen
Approaching Longyearbyen

SAS flight SK 4496 from Oslo to Longyearbyen
Approaching Longyearbyen

SAS flight SK 4496 from Oslo to Longyearbyen
Approaching Longyearbyen

SAS flight SK 4496 from Oslo to Longyearbyen
Flying over Longyearbyen

SAS flight SK 4496 from Oslo to Longyearbyen
Flying over Longyearbyen
Midnight and it is day light

So it is time to land in Longyearbyen and it will be past midnight when we touch down. From the air plane it looked to be a dramatic landscape and I'm really looking forward to this adventure. And you? You just have to click HERE to find yourself in the middle of this adventure.

I can already sense that there will be a few pictures even though I have promised myself not to take so many pictures. Well, anyway, let's split this adventure in to a few pages to save us some down loading time.

Monday 22nd of June 2015: A day in Longyearbyen and joining m/s Quest

Tuesday 23rd of June 2015: Hamilton Bay - Zodiac safari

Tuesday 23rd of June 2015 - Part 2 Raudfjorden and Moffin Island

Wednesday 24th of June 2015 Hinlopen Strait/ Alkefjellet

Wednesday 24th of June 2015 - Part 2 Brageneset

Thursday 25th of June 2015 At the ice edge

Tursday 25th of June 2015 - Part 2 Polar Bears and Ivory Gulls

Friday 26th of June 2015 Liefdefjorden

Saturday 27th of June 2015 Fuglesongen Island

Saturday 27th of June 2015 Virgohamna and Smeerenburg

Sunday 28th of June 2015 Last day - Visit to Ny-Ålesund

Monday 29th of June 2015 Flying to Iceland via Helsingborg


Aladdin's Polar Bear Quest on Svalbard


                  

OK, it has come to my knowledge that we have senior citizens visiting my web page. How hard can it be? So it's not very easy for them to see the blue coloured links to the next page.
Jiffy (also jiff)

noun [in SING.] informal a moment: we'll be back in a jiffy.

ORIGIN late 18th cent.: of unknown origin.

So as you understand, in a jiff pretty much depends on your internet.
So I put a “Next” button here and I hope that there isn't any problem to understand how to use that one. So just CLICK the “Next” button on your left hand side and you will be on the next page in a jiff!

Marunong ka mag-tagalog? Walang problema! Magpunta sa kabilang pahina pindutin ang “NEXT” button sa itaas

Faites vous parlez le français? Pas de problème! Pour arriver à la page suivante faites s'il vous plaît un déclic le bouton “Next” ci-dessus!

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E ni Svenskar och inte förstår Engelska så ska ni skämmas. J och Björn, med det menar jag inte att alla mina stavfel ska ältas varje gång vi träffas.

Flag of Skåne / Skånska flaggan Well, the flag of Skåne, just a BONUS flag.


                  

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