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The Waterhole - Blog for the latest news about Wildlife & Wilderness around the globe.

Posts Tagged ‘Arctic’

The best safaris for Polar Bears and Arctic wildlife holidays

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

Shortly we hope to launch Arctic safari holidays for general wildlife enthusiasts. However, professional wildlife phototgrapher, Andy Rouse, has just completed the first of 3 trips this summer with Wildlife & Wilderness leading small groups in search of polar bears and other Arctic wildlife around Spitsbergen and the Svalbard archipelago in the high Arctic. On board a small ice-strengthened vessel that can reach locations no other ship can get to ensured the group got some spectacular wildlife encounters both with polar bears, walrus and other wildlife. None of more usual larger ships offer this type of initmate experience but unfortunately all of Andy’s trips for this summer are fully booked, not suprising given that these are probably the best Arctic safari holidays you can find. Some of his initial stunning images can be seen at www.andyrouse.co.uk/blog.

More Polar experiences

Friday, September 19th, 2008

The Arctic ice cap is starting to grow again now after a season which did not quite shrink to the size of last year. In Svalbard it was certainly an “ice” year with continuous north winds ensuring that the pack ice did not let go of its grip on the islands. This meant for incredible images and bodes well for next year when this ice will act as a base for the new ice. In the meantime the Polar nights are encroaching and with so much talk recently about the Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights, it is worth considering Spitsbergen as a destination. Here in Longyearbyen from October onwards the northern lights can be seen day or night so long as there is clear weather and auroral activity. With snowmobiling and dog sledding opportunities underneath this spellbinding phenomenon it makes sense to consider a short break to see the northern lights from one of the world’s most northernmost communities. We are currently preparing a programme for northern lights holidays in Spitsbergen, please ask for further details.

Polar bear and cubs on the pack ice

Arctic Wildlife & Wilderness

Monday, September 15th, 2008

Svalbard is a truly stunning wildlife holiday destination. The wilderness feels immense and I suppose as you sit among the pack ice that stretches 800km to the north pole and beyond, it is immense. In this awe inspiring group of islands there is a wealth of Arctic wildlife. On a 10 day reconnaissance cruise we saw polar bears, including a mother with two cubs curled up on an ice floe, walrus which were just incredible to be among. Weighing in at around 600kg they are huge members of the seal family and are rather inquisitive. Reindeer and Arctic fox made up the other mammals whilst bird watching was also splendid with the rare ivory gull, Brunnich’s guillemots by the thousands, puffins, little auks and Arctic terns among others. However, it is the small flowers such as saxifrages among highly dramatic mountain scenery and lonesome polar bears out on the ice that give a scale to the islands and their fragility. Besides the charters that we are running next year with wildlife photographer Andy Rouse, we shall be bringing a selection of the highest quality polar trips to you shortly so that you to can experience the a Spitsbergen wildlife holiday from a small ship.

The dancing Northern Lights explained

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008
The Northern Lights can be seen on our winter holidays in Finland

    The Northern Lights can be    

    seen on our winter holidays    

    in Finland.    

The mythical and certainly magical Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis form curtains of light across the night skies of the northern (and southern) polar regions. It is often thought that these veils of colour can come close to Earth but until just a few days ago there was only speculation about how they moved across the sky and at times burst into colours.

A year or so ago NASA launched 5 satellites called THEMIS to study aspects of the magnetosphere. They now believe that the movement or dancing of the Northern Lights known as substorms, are formed initially in the Earth’s magnetic field around 1/3 of the way to the Moon. Here these magnetic field lines are interupted by the Sun’s solar winds and when they snap back into place, just as poles of two magnets would, this sends charged particles back towards Earth. These reconnections thus cause an increase in intensity and expansion of the Northern Lights and ultimately the re-distribution of the electrical currents flowing in space around our planet. To understand more about this fascinating and beautiful phenomenon you can enjoy a talk by a scientist from the Geophysical Institute in Sodankyla in northern Finland on our ‘Searching for the Northern Lights’ holiday short breaks.


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