Charter brokers and polar-voyage specialists will both tell you that there is strong interest in seeing Polar Regions. One of the challenges, though, is having access to properly outfitted vessels. Nansen Polar Expeditions is stepping in with a solution. Its founders are new to private charter but well experienced in managing logistics in ice-laden waters. Plus, they have their own vessel, available for not just charter but also filmmaking and scientific voyages.
Co-founder Martin Enckell and his partners have more than 30 years’ experience in guiding expeditions, arranging wildlife photo trips, and assisting with biological research. In fact, the staff served in advisory roles for the nature documentaries The Penguin King, Blue Planet II, and Frozen Planet II.
The vessel, M/S Villa (above), is a 138-footer (42-meter) recently refitted for luxury travel. She originally launched in 1975 for the Norwegian Coastal Administration. Later on, she serviced lighthouses and buoys in Norway. With a 33-foot (10-meter) beam, Villa accommodates 12 people and has abundant dry deck stowage for filmmaking gear and other needs. Classed for operating in icy conditions, she additionally has a heavy-duty, 10-ton crane and Zodiacs, the latter for unforgettable explorations of frozen shores and wildlife watching.
The team’s experience as well as Villa’s ruggedness are what Enckell, who is additionally an expedition leader, says sets Nansen Polar Expeditions apart. The company name reflects the difference, too. “Nansen” in “Nansen Polar Expeditions” is in honor of Fridtjof Nansen, a Norwegian explorer and scientist. There’s even a Nansen stateroom—as well as an Arnesen stateroom and an Amundsen stateroom. Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that Nicolai Nansen, Fridtjof Nansen’s great-grandchild, cut the ribbon at the recent formal opening ceremony.
Nansen Polar Expeditions has a voyage to the Norwegian archipelago Svalbard in the works for this September. Inquiries are additionally coming in from ocean-research teams as well as filmmakers.
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