I had such an amazing experience last year that i had decided to sign in for another trip to the northern archipelago. Same ship (Origo), same tour leader (Ole Juergen Lloden, http://www.naturfokus.com), same period of the year (end of July) but different conditions : the ice sheet had dispersed much earlier and the whole archipelago was free of ice, allowing for sailing all around the North-east Island of Nordaustlandet, a promising journey to an area where polar bear population is possibly the densest in the world. Alas weather was not on our side. Persistent fog, followed by a spell of gale winds forcing us to take refuge in a sheltered fjord, made the overall number of bear sightings a meager single digit figure (the “bear count” from the previous expedition just before ours was set at 39!). But we enjoyed those few sightings all the more, especially when those bears allowed us unusually prolonged and close views. And anyway Svalbard is not only about bears : Walruses, seals (we saw 5 different species including the rare Hooded Seal), whales (several meetings with groups of Humpbacks) and all the birds set in a unique landscape under the ever changing arctic light already provide for an amazing experience.