Longyearbyen / EmbarkArrive in Longyearbyen via your indepedent flight or your group charter flight from Brussels, Belgium. Longyearbyen is the administrative capital of the Spitsbergen archipelago of which West Spitsbergen is the largest island. Before embarking there is an opportunity to stroll around this former mining town, whose parish church and Polar Museum are well worth visiting. In the early evening the ship will sail out of Isfjorden.
Glaciers and Wildlife on the Western Coast
Heading north along the west coast, arrive by morning in Krossfjorden, where you take to the Zodiacs for an exhilarating cruise along the sculpted front of the 14th of July Glacier. On the surprisingly green slopes near the glacier, a colorful variety of flowers bloom, while large numbers of Kittiwakes and Brünnich’s Guillemots nest on the nearby cliffs. There is also a good chance of spotting opportunistic Arctic Foxes, who patrol the base of the cliffs in case a hapless chick falls from its nest, and Bearded Seals, who cruise this scenic fjord.
In the afternoon sail to Ny Ålesund, the world’s most northerly settlement. Once a mining village - served by the world’s most northerly railway, which can still be seen - Ny Ålesund is now a research center. Close to the village is a breeding ground for Barnacle Geese, Pink-footed Geese and Arctic Terns. Visitors interested in the history of Arctic exploration will want to walk to the anchoring mast used by Amundsen and Nobile in the airship Norge in 1926 and Nobile in the airship Italia in 1928 before their flights to the North Pole.
Ytre Norskøya / Overnight camping
On the offshore island of Ytre Norskøya, visit a 17th century Dutch whaling site, whose large graveyard is a reminder of the hardships and dangers of life here at the time. The island’s bird life is prolific, with colonies of Little Auks, Black Guillemots, Brünnich’s Guillemots, Puffins and Arctic Skuas accessible to visitors. Eastwards, visit Raudfjord on the north coast of West Spitsbergen, a beautiful fjord dominated by spectacular glaciers and favored by Ringed and Bearded Seals. The cliffs and shoreline of the fjord also support thriving seabird colonies and a surprisingly rich vegetation, which flourishes in sheltered spots.
In the evening the campers can go ashore for one night.
Have a whole day in the Raudfjord system, with ample opportunities for kayaking, snow-shoe walking, and long walks (easy, moderate and challenging hikes are on offer). The trekking group will set off for its three days expedition to the east, to be picked up at the east side of Reindyrflya.
Please note: Trekking is a supplemented activity and only available on request.
Andøya / SnowshoeingDepending on the weather sail to the mouth of Liefdefjorden and go ashore for a walk on the tundra island of Andøya. Many Common Eiders and Pink-footed Geese nest here, and the rarer King Eider may also be seen. Hope to sail into Liefdefjorden, cruising near the 5km long face of the impressive Monaco Glacier. The waters of the glacier front are a favourite feeding spot for thousands of Kittiwakes and on previous voyages Polar Bears have been seen on the glacier, providing wonderful opportunities for photography. The whole day will have good opportunities for kayaking, short (easy), longer (moderate to challenging) hikes (with or without snow-shoes).
Bockfjord / MüllernesetAt Bockfjord there are warm water springs with colorful sediments, close to the shore and about 10 km inland. There is a volcano which some thousands of years ago has erupted, and which you can climb. This is about the warmest area of Spitsbergen with stands of Cassiope and Dryas vegetation. The shores of Woodfjord are littered with hundreds of large timber logs from Siberia. Another day full of Basecamp activities: Kayaking and hiking! In late evening continue your voyage in order to pick up the trekking group in Liefdefjorden after three days.
Hinlopen StraitToday sail into Hinlopen Strait, home to Bearded Seals, Ringed Seals, Polar Bears, and Ivory Gulls. Navigate the ice floes of Lomfjordshalvøya in our zodiacs and explore the bird cliffs of Alkefjellet with thousands of Brünnich’s guillemots. On the east side of Hinlopenstrait, attempt a landing at Palanderbukta on Nordaustlandet, home to Reindeer, Pink-footed Geese, breeding Ivory Gulls, and Walruses.
Today reach our northernmost point at Phippsøya, in the Seven Islands north of Nordaustlandet. Here you will be at 81 degrees north, just 540 miles from the geographic North Pole. Polar Bears inhabit this region, along with Ivory Gulls.
sit for several hours in the pack ice, taking in our spectacular surroundings and seeing a Ross Gull, before turning south again.
SpitsbergenLand at the northern tip of Prins Karls Forland near Fuglehuken, where Barentsz probably set foot on Spitsbergen for the first time. Seabirds nest on the cliffs and along the coast see Harbour Seals, the only population found in Spitsbergen. Further, observe the remains of the Polar Bear hunting era, with demolished set guns and bear traps. At the opposite site of Forlandsundet at Sarstangen is a haul out place for Walruses. Alternatively sail into St. Johns Fjord or south to the mouth of Isfjorden and land at Alkhornet. Seabirds nest on its cliffs and Arctic Foxes search the cliff base for fallen eggs and chicks, while Spitsbergen Reindeer graze the relatively luxuriant vegetation. The reindeer may seem unbothered by human presence, but this is not really the case. The animals must survive the harsh winter, when temperatures plummet and food is hard to find, so they preserve what energy they can, fleeing only when it is absolutely necessary. In the afternoon cruise through beautiful Borebukta, following a glacier front before continuing to Longyearbyen.
Longyearbyen / DisembarkReturn to Longyearbyen and disembark for the transfer to the airport for your flights home or your group charter flight to Brussels, Belgium.