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Arctic
 

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A journey in the Arctic is not one you merely take to reach your destination, but one to savour in itself, giving time and space to remove urban cobwebs and revitalise the mind. The coastal landscapes are both rich and expansive, where one may marvel at the spectacle of dolphin acrobatics at the bow, view tail flukes of whales on the horizon or witness polar bears cruising by on the ice.

The Arctic's vast and remote expanse is ideal for exploration from the sea. Your vessel is no longer only a means of transport, but your base camp; sustaining and protecting you, whilst at the same time taking you deeper into one of the wildest and most hostile places on the planet. The Arctic instills a strong sense of detachment from the routine of modern scheduled life.

Ice Strengthened Sailing & Motor Ships

Aqua-Firma provides the opportunity to explore this remote wilderness by your choice of ice-strengthened motor ships, or by sailing yachts and tallships. These vessels carry small groups of between 20 - 112 travellers, providing an intimate and stimulating atmosphere of like minded people. Each vessel however delivers a different experience: The ice-stengthened vessels are bold and powerful, hosting excellent viewing from the bridge, bow and decks throughout its length. One can watch in awe as the vessel deftly moves aside an ice mass equal in size to its own, whilst carving a path through the floes in its way.

The tallships on the other hand are handsome, comfortable and undoubtedly suited to the challenges of the Arctic, evoking a romance and an expeditionary sense of adventure which comes with moving as one with the Nature rather than against it.

Aqua-Firma's specialist knowledge and experience means that optional adventures such as Polar Sea Kayaking,
Snow Shoe Walking, hiking and polar sailing can form an integral part of certain expeditions, or added in as day trip extensions either side of your voyage. Photographic opportunities abound throughout the year, but on certain voyages we offer Photography Workshops, hosted by an Aqua-Firma or Leica Akademie professional. On others, our lead Birdwatching guide, Robert Brown, OBE, brings with him the experience of 12 years a Director of RSPB (Northern Ireland).

For the experienced dry suit diver we have an exciting programme of Polar Diving onboard some of our special marine life and wildlife departures. Such expeditions are often supported by underwater photographers and cameramen who bring back from their dives images of the underwater world: enriching the experience of those onboard who do not dive but wish to learn more about the incredible environment below the icy Arctic waters.

During all our natural history voyages we spend significant periods of time ashore in the company of some of the best natural history guides in the Arctic. Rigid inflatable boats launched from the motor ships carry small groups to impressive glacier fronts and majestic icebergs, providing close up observations of the incredible wildlife of the polar seas. Lectures, workshops and entertaining discussions are led by professionals including former British Antarctic Survey staff, marine scientists, wildlife experts, polar historians and geologists.
                                          
To experience the High Arctic outside the summer months, wecan take you deep into the heart of Spitsbergen by dog sled and snowmobile (skidoo), staying in a remote explorer's wood cabin. This adventure takes you across frozen lands and sea ice, past mountains and glaciers with opportunities to take in the breath taking Northern Lights (Aurora borealis).

Spitsbergen (Svalbard)

Spitsbergen with its rugged mountains, sweeping tundra, ice caps and glaciers, is a High Arctic archipelago just 600 miles from the North Pole. It is a true wilderness: difficult to reach and hostile to explore. Spitsbergen is amongst the most interesting and exciting of all Arctic destinations, and is home to around 2,000 polar bears as well as walruses, reindeer, Arctic fox and huge Arctic seabird colonies.....MORE


 
Greenland

Greenland is huge, isolated and difficult to imagine. It is the World's largest island, magnificent, dramatic and unspoilt by modern human trappings. Home to the largest National Park in the World, the North-East hosts majestic fjord scenery, enormous ice sheets, sweeping glaciers, mountainous icebergs and wildlife which includes musk oxen. In Eastern Greenland, our early summer tallship voyages go in search of Greenland Bowhead Whales. As Humpback Whales join them and migrate northwards, we too push north along the coast. As we head south in late summer, we find that East Greenland is often an excellent place for early season viewings of the Northern Lights....MORE

Norway's Lofoten Islands

The Lofoten Islands form a sweeping arc protruding out from the mainland of north western Norway. The sea here is deep, clear and warmed by the Gulf Stream. The Lofoten Islands emerge high and steep out from sea providing some of Norway's most dramatic coastal scenery. We explore this region of islands, fjords and coastal mountains by means of a 20 passenger tallship … MORE

Polar Travel with Aqua-Firma

An Arctic expedition is a major travel undertaking for most travellers, which is why we provide detailed information throughout the booking and preparation process. Aqua-Firma is an ATOL protected travel company and can assist in booking flights and accommodation before and after your voyage. We can also provide comprehensive information about transportation, accommodation and what to do in Oslo and Longyearbyen; and for those travelling to Greenland, we can provide a huge range of tailor made travel options in Iceland. With years of on location experience in the High Arctic, we are on hand to answer any questions you may have prior to departure and give you the assurance of 24 hour support whilst away.

When you pick up the phone or email Aqua-Firma, you will be able to speak directly with one of our polar experts or guides. Whether your interest is a particular location, a desire for a specific experience, or a specialist interest such as sailing, photography, sea kayaking or polar diving, we will be able to provide the information you are looking for at a price difficult to match.

Our Commitment to the Climate

Aqua-Firma is committed to the conservation of the places it visits. This is why we have calculated the average CO2 emissions of our Arctic and Antarctic Voyages and will automatically offset each client’s share of emissions via Rainforest4Climate - a programme we have developed in partnership with the charity Rainforest Concern. Aqua-Firma will also automatically offset the carbon emissions of flights booked through us for polar voyages.

 

Resources

Wildlife Guide

Geology of Spitsbergen

Arctic Explorers

Photographs kindly provided by Troels Jacobsen, Jan Belgers, Tiu Simila, Rolf Stange, Taliesin Coombes, Sally Attree, Josh Harrison, Doug Howes, David Slater Pedro Vieyra and Charlotte Caffrey