Oslo, NorwayArrive independently where you will be met on arrival and assisted with baggage to your hotel for overnight stay. Overnight at the Hotel Radisson SAS, subject to change.
Oslo / Longyerbyen, Spitsbergen
This morning following breakfast, you will transfer to the airport and check in for charter flight to Longyearbyen.
Spitsbergen is the largest island of Svalbard, the sovereign Arctic archipelago of the kingdom of Norway. It is one of the most remote archipelagos on the globe. Nearly two-thirds of the islands land is covered in spectacular glaciers.
Longyearbyen is a tiny town founded in 1906 by and American, John Munroe Longyear, who opened a coal mine which later sold to a Norwegian syndicate. Upon arrival, enjoy a tour of the town including the local museum with lunch at a local restaurant before transferring to the dock where the Le Boreal awaits. (B,L,D)
The Le Boreal serves as your maritime passport to adventure in these remote Arctic Islands that very few people in the world will ever have the opportunity to view. The Captain and Expedition team are on the lookout for the day’s best expeditionary options. Visits may include:
· Magdalenefjoren is a stunning fjord with rugged rock walls surmounting blue hued glaciers criss-crossed by crevasses, with birds perching in the high cliffs. The “glacier coast” to the south provides magnificent views of slow moving glaciers that travel toward the sea.
· Ny Alesund has a history stretching back to the early Arctic explorers. Today, a polar research station occupies the site where a Norwegian coal mind once operated. Here Scientists study meteorology, seismology, atmospheric sciences and marine biology. Conditions permitting, you go ashore to visit the small community, including the northernmost post office in the world and the small museum and art gallery.
· Smeerenburg is home to a 17th century Dutch whaling station on Amsterdam Island. Stroll through the High Arctic tundra viewing the remnants of this once vibrant industry.
· Danskoya to visit Virgohamna the site of the unsuccessful attempts in the late 19th century to reach the North Pole by hot-air balloon. Due to it’s relative close proximity to the North Pole (less than 700 miles, this island was selected by a team of Swedish and American adventurer’s as the launch site for this expedition. Stand alongside the remains of the launch site which proved to be two of the Arctic’s most heroic, yet tragic adventure stories.
· Liefdefjorden (Loves Bay) located in far Northern Svalbard and noted as excellent area for viewing Polar Bears and other Arctic wildlife.
Throughout your landings and days of cruising in Spitsbergen, your primarily objective will be to view the Polar Bears that reside in this remote Arctic wilderness. Each landing is under the close supervision of your Bear Guardians, and your time at sea will be primarily in search of ice, which is where you will have the optimal chance to find the Ice Bears in their natural habitat. (B,L,D)
Cruising the Ice EdgeAs you leave Svalbard, Le Boreal will cruise along the Arctic Ice edge to Greenland. As you sail, south and west, the lecturers recap their presentations on the wildlife, history and geology of the Svalbard and prepare you for the world’s largest Island, Greenland. Spend time on board with newfound friends, and the expedition staff ever on the lookout for wildlife. (B,L,D)
Scoresby Sound / East Greenland
The next three days will be spent exploring the seldom visited East coast of Greenland and Scoresby Sound. Disembark in the village of Ittoqqortoormiit, where the sea is frozen over for around nine months of the year. The ice conditions permitting, the Zodiacs will take you to this small settlement which was only founded in 1925 and continues to be one of the most isolated villages in Greenland to the present day. Conditions permitting, the next few days are spent cruising the intricate fjord Network here, always with the intent of spotting wildlife and birds. Take to your Zodiacs for further exploration on the look-out for Musk Ox and Reindeer which are common here.
You also may have an opportunity to visit Uunartoq (the “warming island”) which previous to 2005 was believed to be a point on the mainland of Greenland, however was discovered to be an island off the coast. Yet another example of how Climate change is re-drawing maps and geography. Conditions permitting you may have the opportunity to take a dip in the hot-springs on the island. This afternoon, cruise the shores of East Greenland. (B,L,D)
Cruising the Denmark StraitEnjoy a relaxing day at sea, with time for lectures and recaps about your adventures in Greenland. As the Le Boreal heads northward, be out on deck to view seabirds and whales that are frequent in these nutrient rich waters of the Denmark Strait. (B,L,D)
Isafjardardjup & Vigur Islands / West Fjords of IcelandThe Glacier-carved terrain of the West Fjords of Iceland provides a rugged and scenic landscape. Today, visit Drangajokull Glacier with its sparkling waterfalls and icebergs. Visit the small island of Vigur home to colonies of puffins and eiders. In Isajfordur, visit the Maritime Museum which boasts of this regions hardy fishing heritage. (B,L,D)
Breidafjordur / West Fjords of IcelandAs you round the Sneaefellsnes Peninsula, cruise past Latrabjag, the western most point in Europe. Visit the scenic Breidafjordur, which provides a habitat for an astounding number of seabirds. You will also will see the extinct volcano of Snaefellsjokull, site of the Jules Vern’s fictional Journey to the Center of the Earth. (B,L,D)
Reykjavik / DisembarkThis morning, disembark Le Boreal in Reykjavik as you transfer to the airport for your independent return flights. (B)