Arctic Sense


Stavanger, SVALBARD, JAN MAYEN, London

JUNE-October 2021

Arctic Sense will explore the polar Atlantic ecosystem, assess its current health and highlight its vulnerability to climate change and pollution. Combining research with storytelling, and whales as our flagship species, we will reveal its beauty and fragility to the public.

Map North Atlantic

A 3000 nautical mile investigative journey from the North Sea to the high Arctic, departing from Stavanger, Norway arriving in London, UK

ARctic sense objectives

Objective 1

Reach the high arctic, and execute a comprehensive research program while documenting the journey with high quality storytelling. 

Objective 2

Positively identify blue whales encountered in Iceland in 2019, and track down illusive bowhead whales amongst a number of whale species in the polar region. 

Objective 3

Reach a minimum of 200 000 school children with educational content from our journey, in cooperation with our partnering scientific institutions. 


The Arctic Sense journey is divided into 4 separate chapters, each mutually supportive for the storytelling and our partners. 

Sperm wale Andenes Norway. By Tord Karlsen
Sperm wale Andenes Norway. By Tord Karlsen

Chapter 1 - June - the Norwegian coast

Departing from Stavanger June 1st, we will do a reasonably rapid transit from southern Norway to Tromsø in Northern Norway. On the way we will stop to capture elements building up the story, while we get the crew and vessel fine tuned for the journey ahead. More specifically, we plan on making a stop in Andenes to document sperm whales, while testing our hydrophones in a familiar environment for later use along the Arctic Sense journey. This will be the 11th time we transit the Norwegian coast, and the 5th time we document whales in Andenes. 

Chapter 2 - July-August - Svalbard

Svalbard is the land of polar bears, walrus and numerous whale species. We plan on spending a total of about 6 weeks in Svalbard. The first 3 weeks will be spent with Longyearbyen as a base of operations for shorter sorties for relevant field work. The following 3 weeks we plan on circumnavigating the Archipelago.  

Svalbard walrus

Chapter 3 - August-september - Jan Mayen

We sail south from Svalbard for the longest ocean passage of the journey, which brings us to the little known volcanic island of Jan Mayen. We plan on doing detours to collect whale data for the Whale Wise team. Hugh Francis Anderson will lead the onshore work at the island, which has a whaling past, in waters where we now can witness a recovering whale population first hand. Barba was last at the island in 2012, which was more of a scouting mission. This time we come prepared with a scientific survey plan, a professional photographer and a journalist. 

CHAPTER 4 - Jan Mayen - London

We conclude the mission by bringing home the stories from the arctic to London, and the global press. On the way, we hope to stop in the Faroe Islands, and Shetland islands. We expect to have a story or two to tell by the time of our arrival. After the mission is completed, we will make our way home to Stavanger, Norway at a comfortable pace, hopefully encountering some more whales on the journey. 


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