See Polar Bears from an Arctic ice-breaker

Giant blue icebergs, pristine polar bears, walruses, whales, and the midnight sun—Ben Brown’s amazing photographic and video skills show us just how beautiful the Arctic is. To find out more about legendary Youtuber “Mr Ben Brown”, visit the bio page of travel vlogger and photographer, Ben Brown.

Ben Brown shows us an Arctic Ice-breaker experience…

Ben, in this 18 day Arctic trip aboard the Russian icebreaker Kapitan Khlebnikov, travelled with famous Canadian Astronaut, Chris Hadfield, and a diverse group of scientists, photographers, writers, musicians, and videographers as part of the “Generator Arctic” initiative to show the many ways people view and express the identical experience. Here’s two of Ben’s videos: his Visual Vibes summary of the trip and his polar bear encounter.

Should you visit the Arctic or Antarctic?

Well, this depends on what you want to see. In the Antarctic, you get much closer to the wildlife and will experience plenty of penguins, seals and whales at close quarters. In the Arctic you can get to see polar bears and walruses, but sometimes not as close. Both have impressive icebergs (eg. 35 billion tonnes of icebergs calve off and pass out of the fjord every year at Jakobshavn Glacier in western Greenland!) Culturally speaking the Arctic is much better (west Greenland especially), as many of the Inuit people (indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic regions of Greenland, Canada and Alaska) to this day still live like they did hundreds of years ago—using dugout kayaks, dog-sledding, eating fermented shark and puffin meat. If you want to just see polar bears, then Churchill in Canada should be on your radar.

The Arctic

There’s a plethora of options to take a cruise into the Arctic: from small research ships, through the ice-breakers, up to big cruises. Trips around Spitsbergen island in the Svalbard archipelago north of Norway are the probably the most famous and popular of the Arctic trips due to the relative abundance of wildlife, especially polar bears in early northern summer.

Tips: Go to the Arctic in May/June if you want to increase your chances of seeing polar bears as the sea ice is still prevalent (they’re easier to spot on polar ice)

Go in September if you want to increase your chances of seeing the Aurora Borealis/northern lights.

When: Arctic expeditions/cruises operate in the northern summer—May to September—when it warmer and the daylight lasts longer. (Remember it can be 24hrs darkness the Arctic circle in winter) In May, temperatures average around 30 Fahrenheit/-1 Celsius in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen, and Nuuk, Greenland. July and August are the warmest months, with temperatures around 45 Fahrenheit/7 Celsius.


Spitsbergen and the Svalbard archipelago. Plus often the option of Eastern Greenland.

Norway (including Spitsbergen), Iceland and the Faroe Islands.

Canadian High Arctic and Western Greenland.

The Northeast Passage, across the top of Russia.


Ben’s trip was in the northern waters of Canada and along the western edge of Greenland, but many Arctic Cruise go north around the top of Spitsbergen and the Svalbard archipelago: