Land of the Ice Bears: An In-Depth Exploration of Arctic Svalbard
11 Days, June 12 – 22, 2024
From $12,350 from Oslo, Norway
The most accessible place on earth to find polar bears at home in the wild is Norway’s High Arctic. A mere 600 miles from the North Pole, Svalbard is true wilderness, a pristine blue-white land of towering glaciers, spectacular fjords, teeming bird colonies, pods of walrus sunning on pebbled beaches, and reindeer grazing on tundra ablaze with wildflowers.
Here also is the realm of the great polar bears, aloof and majestic on the sea ice, where they maintain their native habitat untroubled by human encroachment. During our voyage in the Arctic ice, we’ll hope to observe all manner of polar bear behaviors, from hunting for seals amid the floes to frolicking with their cubs. The entire spectacle is viewable from the proximity and safety of the ship’s deck rail.
We’ll explore Svalbard and its wonders in comfort aboard the ice-strengthened expedition ship National Geographic Resolution. Assisting us will be the best ice team in the world. With a range of innovative tools for exploring, including a fleet of Zodiacs and kayaks for up-close wildlife viewing and personal adventures, the Resolution is the perfect mobile platform for discovering the Arctic’s wondrous panorama. A veteran captain and crew together with a team of onboard naturalists have been exploring this wilderness for years and have found the best spots to look for polar bears or search offshore for some of the largest whales on earth. In addition, an undersea specialist and a photo instructor will help you explore and capture every facet of your journey.
Geology professor Chris Connors will be W&L’s host and study leader. Join Chris and like-minded travelers during the season of the summer solstice for an unforgettable exploration in the High Arctic.
Traveling With You
Chris Connors is the William E. Pritchard III '80 Professor of Geology at Washington & Lee University where he has been a professor for 24 years, and for 6 of those years served as department head. He holds a BS from Penn State University, an MS from the University of Pittsburgh and an MA and PhD from Princeton University.
Chris has conducted geologic research for the past 30-plus years in several of the world’s ocean basins and on every continent but Antarctica. He has coauthored 25 peer-reviewed publications, and works closely with the United States Geological Survey on the tectonics of Alaska and the broader Arctic region. His research interests are in structural geology and geophysics, particularly in the interpretation of seismic reflection data in complexly deformed areas. At W&L Chris teaches structural geology, geophysics, petroleum geology, planetary geology, and geologic mapping, and has supervised 30 undergraduate W&L theses.