Without a doubt one of the most eagerly sought-after wildlife experiences in the world is the chance to see a polar bear in the wild.
Unfortunately, global warming is dramatically affecting the polar regions of our planet – which means the long-term future for the world's largest land carnivore looks grim.
Aurora Expeditions has led the way in environmentally sensitive voyages to the High Arctic for more than a decade and in 2009 will operate six expeditions to the High Arctic that will seek to enter the realm of the ice bear.
The company has also launched a new voyage departing from Alaska to Bering Strait and Wrangel Island, renowned as home to the world's largest population of breeding polar bears.
Departing in June and July 2009, three 11-day Circumnavigation of Spitsbergen journeys will venture deep into the domain of the polar bear. A 14-day Jewels of the Arctic voyage will explore the icy landscapes of Spitsbergen, East Greenland and Iceland. Two 20-day Arctic Dreams voyages combine all the classic highlights of the region as well as the rarely visited Bear Island and the Norwegian coastline.
Prices for the 11-day voyages start at A$5,790 per person triple share for a main deck cabin. Prices for the 13-day Bering Strait and Wrangel Island voyage start at US$5,490 for a quad share cabin.
Included in the price for all voyages are shipboard accommodation, all meals on board, guided shore excursions and lectures with expert naturalists.
Aurora's voyages are designed with flexible itineraries to make the most of every opportunity to seek out these charismatic creatures and spend as much time as possible viewing them. Sea kayaking options on some voyages also offer an opportunity to get up close and personal with the myriad wildlife.
One thing is for sure – if you have often dreamed of seeing one of these magnificent creatures in its natural environment, the time to go is now, for like their populations, our chances of seeing them in the wild are fast disappearing.
For more details or to obtain a copy of the new High Arctic or Russian Far East 2009 brochures contact Aurora Expeditions on 1800 637 688 or visit www.auroraexpeditions.com.au