Embarkation Day - LongyearbyenEmbark 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.
Krossfjorden and Ny AlesundThe shores of Krossfjorden are home to numerous bird colonies and species. Anchor off one small harbour 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.
RaudfjordenTucked 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.
Hinlopenstretet and Alkefjelletapp LeeDividing 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 our expedition team to maximise the viewing potential.
Phippsoya – northernmost pointAt 81 degrees north latitude, Phippsoya is only 540 nautical miles from the North Pole. Because of its proximity to the pack ice, Phippsoya offers the potential for great polar bear viewing. Be sure to get up to the bridge and take a picture of the GPS showing your latitude or, better yet, take your own handheld GPS with you and mark in the waypoint.
Liefdefjorden and MonacobreenNo 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.
Fuglesangen and Smeergenburg
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.
Poole Pynten, Prins Karls ForlandThere is something about the sight and sound of a walrus haul out that spells Arctic like no other site can. Visit this well-known haul out on Prince Charles Island and hope to see the walrus ashore. Approaching from downwind can often confirm that the walrus are ashore as the odour of a haul out is without equal.
Disembark in LongyearbyenCome alongside in the morning and prepare to disembark following breakfast onboard your vessel.