New Destination for Firebird

New to the itinerary for Firebird in 2019, is the addition of Svalbard for May and June. Often referred to as the final frontier before the north pole; this vast wilderness, with more Polar Bears than people, offers something for everyone. 

As there are only 40km of roads on Svalbard the best way to explore the wilderness is by skidoo, dog sledding or skiing. Svalbard is one of the most spectacular and well preserved natural areas to visit. In the mountains around the main town, Longyearbyen, you can hike up glaciers, explore ice caves or book onto local wildlife expeditions. 

One of the greatest advantages of experiencing this location by boat means you can truly immerse yourself in remote areas that are not accessible via skidoo. You will have a better opportunity to see the sea life and other wildlife up close. In addition to the whales, seals and walruses to be found venturing in the fjords, you can get closer to the protected seabirds nesting in the cliffs. Exploring by boat also gives you a higher chance of spotting Arctic Foxes and Polar Bears that often hunt on the secluded coastline.  

This new destination, comes of course with it’s challenges. Whilst you might expect the cold to be a challenge, by the time Firebird sails up to Svalbard in May/June, the fjords will have thawed as the summer season starts and the temperatures will be between a more comfortable -7 to 3ºC. These kinds of temperatures are comparable to winter in Tromso, providing optimal skiing conditions.

Provisioning in particular will be an interesting challenge as there is only one supermarket in the main settlement of Longyearbyen, so we expect to see an exciting new menu developed by on board chef Mel for this location. 

Mel is looking forward to the adventure and commented that:

“Svalbard is one of the few locations left in the world that is largely untouched. This is truly one of the most raw wilderness experiences, with the benefit of a floating luxury chalet to come back to after a day spent exploring. Svalbard envelopes you in nature and the rare commodity of true peace and quiet.”

Navigating through this breathtaking archipelago will be interesting for the crew, as while the frozen fjords will have thawed the Captain will have to assess the conditions for ice carefully and will be dependent on the weather reports and local knowledge. The testing conditions for the crew doesn’t stop there. As explained by Ollie, the Captain: 

“To operate in this area, myself and Mountain Guide require a gun license for protection of the boat and guests from polar bears - slightly outside the box for your average yacht charter!”

Of course, the boat will have a mountain guide on board, with years of knowledge guiding in the area, to ensure your time in the wilderness is as enriching and safe as possible.

So whether it’s to enhance your landscape photography skills, ski untouched slopes, or have the chance to see the elusive Polar bear in its natural habitat, find your blend of bespoke adventure on Firebird. 





Svalbard has more Polar Bears than people

Svalbard snowmobile.jpg

Snowmobile is the best way to get around Svalbard


Barentsburg, cole mine settlement on Svalbard