LongyearbyenArrive in Longyearbyen, 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, while in the surrounding area of Longyearbyen, more than 100 species of plants have been recorded. In the early evening the ship will sail out of Isfjorden.
RaudjordVisit Sallyhamna in Holmiabukta where in the last two years a fin whale carcass has attracted polar bears. Later sail to 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.
Andøya / LiefdefjordenDepending on the weather, you may now 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 more rare 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 favorite feeding spot for thousands of kittiwakes and on previous voyages polar bears have been seen on the glacier, providing wonderful opportunities for photography.
HinlopenstraitSail into Hinlopen Strait, home to bearded seals, ringed seals, polar bears, and ivory gulls. Navigate the ice floes of Lomfjordshalvøya in your zodiacs and explore the bird cliffs of Alkefjellet with thousands of Brünnich’s guillemots. On the east side of Hinlopenstrait, we’ll attempt a landing at Palanderbukta on Nordaustlandet, home to reindeer, pink-footed geese, breeding ivory gulls, and walruses.
PhippsøyaIn the morning try to land at Laagoya, a haul-out place for walruses. Later reach your 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, before turning west again.
At SeaRetracing your route westwards, sail through and along the pack-ice, on the watch for polar bears and the elusive Greenland whale (bowhead).
Prins Karls ForlandLand 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 we see harbor 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. At nighttime arrive in Longyearbyen.
Disembark / LongyearbyenDisembark in Longyearbyen, the administrative centre of Spitsbergen, for the flights south to Oslo and onward home.