An Explorers Arctic Base Camp
Pricing is based on group size and seasonality, please check with us to secure the best pricing.
• Camp under the icy Arctic stars.
• Kayak across the deep green waters of the Arctic Ocean.
• Hike, snowshoe, or even climb across the tundra under expert guidance.
• Dive under the frigid waters around North Spitsbergen.
Base Camp Plancius is not your usual expedition. This is a chance for you to walk (or ski or climb or paddle) in the footsteps of some of the world’s greatest explorers. Onboard the MV Plancius, is a small ice-strengthened vessel, you will cruise to North Spitsbergen where the ship will anchor and serve as a base camp for a variety of activities in the harsh and beautiful Arctic landscape.
All our shore activities will be lead by our guides, an international team of polar experts and field guides. Our staff is versatile, fully trained, and certified in the activities they they lead: mountain climbing, diving, kayaking, Zodiac driving, guarding against polar bears, and as first responders in emergencies. Also, expedition guides lead our shore excursions in different languages.
From Base Camp Plancius, you can choose one of the following activities:
Imagine camping at the top of the world. We offer 2-4 nights of Arctic camping on our Base Camp Plancius trips. No previous experience is required, so everyone can participate. We will limit the number of campers to 30 people per night, and you will eat your dinners and breakfasts on the ship. We will happily provide all of the special gear and field equipment you might need: tents, wind and waterproof bivouac bags, mattresses, and polar sleeping bags that will keep you cozy warm through the long Arctic nights. The only things you need to bring are your own personal warm and protective clothes. Our skilled and experienced expedition guides will conduct the activity ashore.
You can’t get much closer to the Arctic Ocean than one of our kayaking excursions. (Actually, you can get a little closer. See the diving excursions, below!) We will offer 3-4 full days of kayak excursions, lead by one of our experienced kayakers. This is not for everyone – you need to have basic kayak experience, appropriate outdoor clothing, and be physically fit. To enhance the experience, we limit the number to just 14 kayaks per trip. We will provide the special gear: single and double seat kayaks, neoprene wet suits, and life vests. You only need to bring your own personal warm and protective clothes. One of our expert guides will lead the excursions and you’ll be accompanied by a safety Zodiac.
If you want to get really intimate with the Arctic waters – and you are an expert diver – we invite you on one of our diving excursions. You must be an advanced diver and have experience in dry-suit and cold-water diving. We will provide the equipment: scuba tanks, compressors, weights, Zodiac diving floors, and other diving essentials. You will need to bring you own personal gear: regulator, dry suit, flippers, etc. Expedition dive masters and dive guides will be responsible for safety during operation.
We also offer a series of hikes and snowshoe walks. Because these are non-technical activities, everyone can participate. We will offer a variety of walks, ranging from easy to demanding, including several full day walks that include a packed lunch. We will provide rubber hiking boots or snowshoes, if appropriate, but we recommend that you bring a proper pair of hiking boots and gaiters. Our experienced guides will lead these excursions.
If you long for higher ground and better vantage points, consider one of our mountaineering excursions. Mountaineers walk in rope parties under the leadership of a certified mountain guide across the glaciated environment. Depending on the landing site, glacier walks can vary from half day to full day outings. Mountaineering knowledge is preferable, but not required. However, physical fitness is essential. We will provide the special equipment: ropes and carabiners, harnesses, helmets, ice axes, and crampons. You need to bring just your personal protective outdoor clothes, and mountaineering boots (leather or plastic) suitable for using crampons. A qualified mountain guide and assistant will supervise.
Zodiac Cruising, shore program and workshops:
If you would prefer to make your cruise a little less strenuous, we offer guided shore excursions, walks, wildlife tours, and Zodiac cruises. We put our emphasis on active wildlife and nature experience. We also offer photo workshops.
• We are a full member of IAATO (International Association of Antarctica Tour operators), which advocates, promotes, and practices safe and environmentally responsible travel to the Antarctic.
• We are also a full member of AECO (Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators), which is dedicated to managing respectful, responsible, environmentally friendly, and safe expeditions in the Arctic.
• We never dump any of our ship’s waste in the water – we divide it and dispose of it responsibly in Spitsbergen.
• We also play an active role in Arctic environmental programs. We have initiated and actively participate in the “Clean-Up Svalbard” project in Spitsbergen.
• Our passengers and expedition staff help clean up defined coastal stretches from waste that comes from shipping, especially from the fishing fleet in the Barents Sea and the waters around Svalbard. That means you get a chance to offer real, hands-on assistance to this fragile ecosystem.