The COVID pandemic made its mark on the Arctic tourist season again this year. While some tour operators cancelled their tours to the realm of polar bear and walrus completely, other ship operators waited to see how the situation would develop in the individual regions. This strategy has now brought Poseidon Expeditions good fortune: it is the only company this year to be able to offer a voyage to the North Pole.
According to the company in a press release, the Russian nuclear icebreaker 50 Years of Victory will make a voyage with passengers, chartered by the long-time and experienced polar voyage operator. From July 21 – August 2, guests will have the opportunity to sail to the northernmost point in the world and experience the Arctic world in between. “We are excited to bring our coveted North Pole expedition back to German (and Swiss, editor’s note) explorers as early as July 2021,” Poseidon managing director Elena Termer says in the letter. “Russia has opened its borders to German citizens.” Swiss citizens can also book this trip, as travel between Switzerland and Russia is possible directly and only requires a negative PCR test in Russian or English, no more than 72 hours old, in addition to the obligatory visa. The latter is relatively easy to obtain via the consular service.
From Murmansk, the 50 Years of Victory will make her way north, first sailing to the geographic North Pole. On the way back a detour with landings on Franz-Jose-Land, if weather conditions permit, can be made. In between, the vastness of the Arctic Ocean and the Arctic pack ice are the only structures to be seen. With luck and open eyes, the inhabitants of this world can be seen on and above the ice: birds, walruses and other seals, and through them perhaps polar bears. In between, members of the expedition team will share their knowledge with lectures on all kinds of aspects of the Arctic. The July 21 date is the only German-language departure this year and only a few spots are still available, Poseidon explains.
Besides the “normal” program of Poseidon, which consists of lectures, excursions with helicopters and zodicas (if possible) and an experienced expedition team, this year something extraordinary will be offered: A pick-up on the ice. Poseidon Expeditions will drop off the adventurer, artist, clergyman and explorer Fyodor Konyukhov, who is very well known in Russia, at the geographic North Pole ten days before. There he will set up a research station, in cooperation with the Shirshov Institute of Oceanography in Moscow. The goal: to drift with the ice floe while making climatic observations and measurements and also documenting any contamination (especially plastic). In addition, he will certainly share one or more experiences with the guests, a unique opportunity to hear first-hand experiences. All other information about the trip is available on the Poseidon Expeditions website including the phone number.
Dr Michael Wenger, PolarJournal
More on the subject: