Mark Tolcher – Svalbard Arctic Wildlife (June 2019)

As wildlife specialists, we are well placed to find the right trip with the right tour operator for our clients and were excited for Mark when we were in the planning stages of his bucket list trip!  Mark has a fabulous photography website – click here to read his full blog and see full portfolio of stunning photos!  Here is the introduction, and below the final day! …

“At the end of June 2019, I flew out to the town of Longyearbyen which is on Spitsbergen Island, in Norway’s Svalbard archipelago – The Arctic. This was an expedition that had been nearly 2 years in the planning and something that had been top of my bucket list for as long as I can remember.

Travelling with a friend who I’ve done many trips with before; we looked long and hard to make sure we selected the right trip for us. Via Travel with Jules (our agents who are specialists in bespoke travel) we chose to book with Naturetrek Wildlife Holidays based on personal recommendation from Jules (she used to work for them, so understands their tours well!).

They chartered the MS Quest from Polar Quest. Its one of the smallest Ice Strengthened ships covering the area which meant less passengers, more opportunities and that we were able to go places the bigger ships couldn’t. The ship had just 50 passengers and around 20 staff in total.

I can’t even begin to try to put into words and share everything we saw, did and experienced on this 10-day expedition however this post gives an insight into some of the highlights for me personally. At our first briefing from the expedition leader it was made very clear that we were on Expedition and this was not going to be a holiday; especially with the ‘challenging’ weather forecast that lay ahead of us for our voyage!”








On the penultimate night the crew threw a BBQ up on deck with a disco which was such a surreal experience being moored up in a beautiful bay surrounded by mountains with music playing and dancing – we could have been in the Caribbean had we not been in our warm coats. The final day saw the sun again and a very small number of guests (myself included) and a couple of the expedition staff did the polar plunge. A great way to cap off what had been a truly inspiring and amazing trip.”