Hiking and kayaking in Spitsbergen
Spitsbergen is a polar land in the territory of Svalbard located about 1500km north of Norway and 1500km east of Greenland. Mainly populated by scientists in winter, the island sees its population increase considerably in summer with the influx of tourists in search of sensations. Challenging climate, icebergs, glaciers and pack ice are on the menu for any expedition, whether aboard sailboats, kayaks or on foot and ski. Without forgetting of course the polar bear for whom Spitsbergen is a bit like the kingdom. It is even said that there are more polar bears than humans on the island. Urban legend ?
Camp among the bears of Spitsbergen
We camped a few hundred meters from the Svea glacier, the average temperature was 5 ° C and the day was permanent! The wind, very present, gave a much lower temperature felt but our equipment made it possible to resist. Our days were divided between hiking, sea kayaking and discovering biodiversity.
What temperature during the stay?
Our stay in Spitsbergen took place in difficult weather and climate conditions but it made the trip even more memorable.
The main inhabitant of Spitsbergen is polar bear, we had the chance to see one ... but difficult to take a picture ,especially since we were in a kayak!
The challenges of a trip to the Arctic
Traveling to Spitsbergen, polar land, means first of all accepting the harshness of the climate, the demands of life in autarky in an unusual environment, the risks associated with the presence of polar bear...
But a trip to Spitsbergen is above all the discovery of magnificent landscapes, the possibility of moving by kayak in the middle of impressive icebergs, to hike on glaciers, to discover the rich fauna and flora, to rub shoulders with the polar bear.
A hike in Spitsbergen is the change of scenery, the clean air, the silence, the polar atmosphere, the permanent day (in summer), in short, so many elements motivating to dare to challenge this arctic land.
A look towards Antarctica
Following this trip, I was seized with an irrepressible desire to relive these special sensations, so much so that I later undertook a trip to the other side of the planet, where I had the chance to kayak in Antarctica, no longer with polar bears because there are none there, but with humpback whales. It's less dangerous but totally impressive!
And recently, it was in Iceland that I did a touring ski tour with pulka, in conditions just as extreme but so intoxicating.
I believe I have the virus of extreme stay in cold and hostile regions
Photos and travelogue
The Arctic, and therefore Spitsbergen, offers captivating polar landscapes in extreme conditions for which you have to be prepared to appreciate them. I offer you some photos that you can look at warm and which, perhaps, will make you want to discover the territory of Svalbard.
Most of the people I announced to be going to Spitsbergen for a dozen days wondered what the hell I was going to be able to do all day in such hostile territory. This page therefore presents, coarse grain, daily activities, constraints, difficulties and favorites during this kayak raid in Spitsbergen.
About the stay in Spitsbergen
This polar raid in Spitsbergen is not the first sporting trip that I have made, however, it is the first time that a stay has taken place in such an extreme environment.
It was a test because I wanted to know if I could adapt to the difficult conditions and in particular camping in temperatures blooming with 0 degrees (and less felt because of the wind).
The fact is that I loved this trip and that Spitsbergen has been revealing since, after having visited the Arctic, I went to Antarctica!
What I particularly remember from the stay in Spitsbergen:
- The performance of living in total autonomy for 10 days in a tent close to a glacier.
- The joy of kayaking among the icebergs and small ice cubes floating in search of seals and polar bears.
- The beauty of the landscapes and the silence, especially during the guard tours where I was alone awake, observing the surroundings through binoculars or with the naked eye to anticipate a possible arrival of polar bears.
- The permanent daylight which illuminates the landscapes of Spitsbergen with such a special light.
- Difficulty getting out of the down in the morning to put on your clothes (and ditto in the opposite direction when going to bed).
Best time to travel to Spitsbergen
Sports trips to Spitsbergen are only possible when it is daylight. It sounds silly to write that but when you learn that for 6 months the day never rises, it makes perfect sense. From March to June it is still very cold too, it is better to wait for the two summer months, July and August, the most favorable to discovering the hostile and wild territory of Spitsbergen, especially if you want to kayak (you can try before but on the frozen sea you risk not advancing.