This is a collection of images from a visit to the Svalbard Archipelago, inside the Arctic Circle, in the summer of 2018. We traveled on board the M/S Malmo, a Swedish-flagged ice-strengthened expedition ship that is well suited to photography in the arctic region. The Malmo was built in 1943 (and refurbished in 2014). It's a relatively small ship (we were a group of twelve photographers) that was originally a pilot ship and research vessel for the Swedish Maritime Administration.
Svalbard itself is a collection of islands in the Arctic Ocean that lies midway between continental Norway and the North Pole. Svalbard has been a territory of Norway since 1925, but it is separately administered and subject to the Svalbard Treaty of 1920. The largest settlement is the town of Longyearbyen, historically a coal mining town and one of the northern-most settlements in the world with a population of about 2,500 (and at least double that number of snowmobiles).
During a 10 day period, we sailed through the fjords around Spitsbergen, Norway. But most of our time was spent north of Svalbard itself, in the Arctic Ocean approaching the North Pole. It's a rugged, remote land of glaciers and frozen tundra. In summer, as the waters warm, the ice caps and glaciers begin to melt and break apart and we were therefore able to cruise in the waters further north -- until we hit solid ice. In fact, our expedition leader, who had led trips in the Arctic for 25 years, had never been as far north as on this journey -- we reached 83.32 degrees north before turning around to return to Spietsbergen. This region is also home to diverse wildlife -- polar bears, but also seals, walrus, reindeer, arctic fox, and a huge variety of birds. See the collection Polar Wildlife for images of wildlife from the Svalbard expedition.