SVALBARD AND SPITSBERGEN CLOSE TO 80° NORTH , Svalbard rises out of the Arctic Ocean. It is our home, and also the home of 2,000 to 3,000 polar bears. Svalbard consists of hundreds of islands, of which Spitsbergen is the biggest. Here, only 700 miles south of the North Pole, rugged mountains, glaciers, and magnificent landscapes make up one of the most unique and harsh regions on the planet. Sixty percent of the land area is covered by glaciers. This was uncharted territory up until June 17, 1596, when Dutch navigator and explorer Willem Barentsz discovered Spitsbergen. It is one of the latest additions to the world map, and the archipelago now belongs to Norway. These northerly latitudes are a world of contrasts in constant transformation. The seasons, the ever-changing light, the weather, the sea ice, the air - everything is in transition. Even the landscapes change as the glaciers move and sculpt the land beneath. In the High Arctic, winters and summers are literally like night and day. On Svalbard, polar night reigns from November to February, when the sun remains under the horizon and the only sources of light are the moon, the stars, and the colorful auroras. Although far from visible, the sun still colors the sky dark blue, and some days it can make the sky red and purple for moments of magic by shining its light on ice crystals in the atmosphere. From April to August on the other hand, the sun never sets. In the midst of midnight sun, the sun remains high in the sky even at midnight. Every month is unique. We choose the dates for all our expeditions carefully. We want the perfect conditions when it comes to light, ice and wildlife. And it is the time of year when the sun is low that we love the most. In March and April the days become longer and the winter night slowly turns to permanent day. The rising sun brings forward color reflections in the sky, snow, and ice, shifting from blue, pink, and violet to red and orange. In May, the early days of the midnight sun, the sun is low at night, giving us a warm, beautiful light.
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