Embark the expedition cruise vessel, Akademik Sergey Vavilov, in Longyearbyen and sail out of Adventfjorden and into Isfjorden during the early evening. On board, meet for an introductory briefing and then adjourn to the dining room for your first meal aboard.
The shores of Krossfjorden are home to numerous bird colonies and species. Anchor off one small harbor and cruise the bird cliffs near the 14th of July Glacier. As you cruise these waters keep alert for bearded and ringed seals, known to frequent this fjord. During the afternoon cross Kongsfjord from Krossfjorden to the town site of Ny Alesund, a former mining village and currently the world’s most northern community. Founded by the Kings Bay Kull Company A/S in 1916, Ny Alesund operated as a coal mine sporadically until coal mining was ended in 1962. Since then, the community has become the site of numerous international polar science institutes. Ny Alesund earned its place in aviation pioneering history as a jumping off place for North Pole aviation exploration. Notable pioneer aviators such as Zeppelin, Amundsen, Ellsworth, Byrd and Nobile all used Ny Alesund and the airship anchor pylon for Amundsen and Nobile is still in place today.
Tucked into the northwestern tip of Spitsbergen, Ruadfjord offers an excellent place to hike, zodiac cruise and kayak. Whilst here search for reindeer ashore and ringed and bearded seals adrift. For those interested in tundra vegetation and especially wildflowers, there are select spots along the shoreline of this fjord offering excellent hiking and interpretation.
Dividing the eastern side of the Svalbard archipelago from the western side, Hinlopen Strait is full of wildlife. The water that flushes through this strait each day is rich in phyto- and zooplankton, nourishing the thick-billed murre colony at Aklefjellet on the western shore of Hinlopen Strait. More than 120,000 pairs of murres nest on these cliffs each summer. The water moving through Hinlopen Strait each day also brings the sea ice and our access into the area is dictated by the ice conditions of the day. Exploring the sea ice generally brings much closer contact with polar bears and your captain will work with your expedition team to maximize the viewing potential.
Your expedition cruise fulfills its title today as you work your way into the ice edge. Senior officers on your capable vessel are experiences ice navigators who examine the ice edge and, when conditions allow, move the ship into the lice in search of wildlife. A day or even two days spent on the ice requires all hands on deck. Warm jackets, binoculars, and spotting scopes are standard and all eyes are engaged in looking for wildlife. Expect to see perhaps a herd of harp seals splashing through the leads between ice flows, a solitary bearded seal soaking up the sun, walrus and - of course - the mighty polar bear. Reach your northernmost point at around 80 degrees north latitude. Be sure to get up to the bridge and take a picture of the GPS that shows your remarkable reaches - or better yet, take your own GPS and mark this waypoint.
No trip along the north coast of Spitsbergen would be complete without a visit to Monacobreen (Monaco Glacier). A wide glacier face at the head of the fjord makes for spectacular kayaking and zodiac cruising. The coastal plain near the mouth of Liefdefjorden offers superb hiking and is often a great place to spot polar bears.
As your zodiac approaches the shore of Fuglesangenoya, it becomes apparent that there are thousands of birds nesting on this island. Home to a large dovekie colony, the formation of the island allows for excellent viewing without impacting upon the perimeter of the colony.
Just a few miles from Fuglesangen is the former whaling station of Smeerenburg, literally translated as Blubber Town. Hike the shoreline of this former whaling station, learning about the importance of whaling in the discovery and exploration of the Svalbard archipelago. A harsh industry in an equally harsh environment and as a testament to this whaling site all that is left is the blubber ovens.
Alkehornet, or "The Horn," is an incredible horn-shaped mountain close to the entrance of Isfjorden (Ice Fjord). Home to a massive colony of Brunnich's guillemots and black legged kittiwakes, and host to reindeer and Arctic fox, this is an incredible summary of your Arctic visit. A lush tundra slope below the bird cliffs is rich in Arctic flora and tot op it all off, this site has a rich history that unfolds as you hike around the headland.
Come alongside in the morning and prepare to disembark following breakfast onboard your vessel.