After arriving in Longyearbyen, the ‘capital’ (actually the administrative center) of Spitsbergen, you may wish to visit the Svalbard Museum, which has an interesting collection on the history of Spitsbergen, the mining industry, and polar exploration. Sail in the afternoon, setting course for Alkhornet, a seabird cliff with a large colony of kittiwakes. Below the cliffs is a den with Arctic foxes which scavenge off fallen eggs and chicks. Continue to Tryghamna to visit the remains of a 17th century English whaling station and an 18th century Russian Pomor station.
Leave Tryghamna early in the morning and sail through Forlandsundet, the sea passage that divides the island of Prins Karls Forland from the mainland. Weather permitting, go ashore at Fuglehuken, where the expedition of Willem Barentsz landed on Spitsbergen and in doing so became the first Europeans to set foot on the islands. Here see the graves of whalers and observe impressive colonies of common guillemots, Brünnich´s guillemots, little auks and kittiwakes. Nearby, harbor seals and walruses often haul out and prove popular subjects for photography.
Today visit Ny Ålesund, the northernmost permanent settlement in the world, a center for polar research and a former starting point for many North Pole expeditions, including those of Amundsen and Nobile. The local bird life has adapted itself to human presence and is exceptionally tame. Barnacle geese, pink-footed geese, common eiders, Arctic terns and several species of wader can be observed and photographed at close quarters. Reindeer can also be seen in the vicinity - they are smaller than their mainland relatives and do not form large herds.
In the morning sail from Ny Ålesund to the 14th July Glacier where you will take to the Zodiacs for a spectacular cruise along its front. Not far from the glacier visit an accessible breeding site for Brünnich's guillemots, little auks, and puffins. The guano of these bird colonies, the southward exposure, and the sheltered situation give rise to a relatively rich vegetation with many species of flowering plants.
Sailing northwards visit Magdalenafjord, one of the most beautiful places on Spitsbergen, with many impressive glacier fronts. During a shore visit view the remains of 17th century English whaling activities. Birdwatchers will not be disappointed as there are substantial seabird colonies here, particularly noted for their little auks.
Today a visit to Ytre Norskøya will be attempted, a small island which was used for many years as a lookout point for Dutch whalers. There you can still follow their tracks to the summit of the island, passing excellent bird cliffs on the way. On shore the remains of 17th century blubber ovens can be found, while Arctic skuas and common eiders breed among the graves of 200 Dutch whalers.
Raudfjord on the north coast of Spitsbergen is a beautiful fjord with spectacular glaciers. It is also a favorite with ringed and bearded seals, has good seabird colonies, and offers good chances for spotting polar bear and belugas. Jermaktangen, at the fjord’s eastern entrance, is a geography lesson in the erosion of the land by the sea.
If sea-ice conditions allow, you may land on the northern-side of Reindyrfla, the largest tundra area of Spitsbergen. The vast undulating plain is a good grazing area for reindeer and several species of waders also breed here. The area’s lakes offer good chances of spotting red-throated divers and king eiders.
Today visit the remains of Smeerenburg, the largest 17th century whaling settlement on Spitsbergen, and, if permission is obtained, Danskøya, where many historical remains are to be found of the 19th century expedition by the Swedish explorer Andree, who tried to reach the North Pole in a balloon.
On your way south, try to make a landing on the coast of Forlandsundet at Engelsbukta or Sarstangen, where walruses are often hauled out. From there head straight for Longyearbyen, but if time allows your ship could call at Colesbukta, from where fit walkers can walk to Longyearbyen in around six hours, joining the rest of the party when the ship arrives later in the day.
Depart by scheduled flight from Longyearbyen to Oslo.