This 10-day voyage is dedicated to science and research, with a group of scientists on the ship. The goal is to follow-up on the investigations which Dutch researchers began on Edgeøya in the 20th century. Passengers will be given the opportunity to share the experiences of the scientists, but will also have the opportunity to join some rather extended walks to special places of interest.
Stroll around the former mining town of Longyearbyen
Visits Stellingfjellet the biggest colony of Brünnichs Guillmots
Observe a herd of Walrusses near an old trapper station
You touch down in Longyearbyen, the administrative center of Spitsbergen, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago. Enjoy strolling around this former mining town, whose parish church and Svalbard Museum make for fascinating attractions. Though the countryside appears stark, more than a hundred species of plant have been recorded in it. In the early evening the ship sails out of Isfjorden, where you might spot the first minke whale of your voyage.
Cruise north to Diskobukta on the west side of Edgeøya. After a Zodiac cruise through the shallow bay, land at Blankodden on a beach littered with whale bones and tree trunks, which have drifted here from Siberia. You can also climb to the rim of a narrow gully which is inhabited by thousands of Kittiwake, together with Black Guillemot and piratical Glaucous Gull. During the breeding season, the base of the cliffs is patrolled by Arctic Fox and Polar Bear, searching for young birds that have fallen from the nesting ledges. From there walk to Kapp Lee.
At the east side of West Spitsbergen (west side of Storfjorden) walk to some breeding places of Ivory Gulls in Agardhfjellet at about 400 m high. The valley leading to the outcrops with the nests is littered with fossils of Belemnites and Ammonites.
In Freemansundet, plan to land at Sundneset on the island of Barentsøya to visit an old trapper's hut and then take a brisk walk across the tundra in search of Spitsbergen Reindeer and Barnacle Goose. You can also participate in a zodiac cruise near the Freeman glacier and visit again a Kittiwake colony in a canyon.
At Diskobukta, make a long inland excursion into the braided rivers, which are easily crossed this late in the season. At Caltex fjellet, search for breeding places of Ivory Gulls and proceed into Smelledalen with some Pingo’s. Alternatively, land at Plurdalen, an area where 40 years ago extensive explorations for oil were carried out.
At Habenichtbukta Russian Pomors built their hunting station in which they lived during quite some periods in the 18th and 19th centuries. Land in the area and make also an inland excursion in an area with pond and lakes, populated by divers, ducks and geese.
At Andrétangen we have a good opportunity to observe a herd of Walrusses near an old trapper station. Some way inland near a lifted shore in a surf zone from thousands of year ago you'll find the skeletons of stranded whales from that time. In the afternoon, land at Kong Ludvigøyane or Tiholmane with again remains of the Pomor period.
Start the day quietly cruising the side fjords of the spectacular Hornsund area of southern Spitsbergen, enjoying the scenery of towering mountain peaks.
Hornsundtind rises to 1,431m, while Bautaen shows why early Dutch explorers gave the name ‘Spitsbergen’ - pointed mountains - to the island. There are also 14 magnificent glaciers in the area and very good chances of encounters with seals and Polar Bear.
You may visit the Polish research station where the friendly staff will give you an insight into their research projects. Behind the station, the mountains are home to thousands of pairs of nesting Little Auk.
Day 10: Longyearbyen | Disembark
Every adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. You disembark in Longyearbyen, taking home memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.
1 suite with 2 windows (minimum), 1 double bed, 1 single (sofa) bed, Private shower & toilet, Desk & chair, Flatscreen TV, Telephone & WiFi (supplemented), Refrigerator, Coffee & tea maker, Hairdryer, ample storage space.
Included in this voyage
Voyage aboard the indicated vessel as indicated in the itinerary
All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea.
All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac.
Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff.
Free use of rubber boots and snowshoes.
Transfers and baggage handling between the airport, hotels and ship only for those passengers on the group flights to and from Longyearbyen.
All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the programme.
AECO fees and governmental taxes.
Comprehensive pre-departure material.
Excluded from this voyage
Any airfare, whether on scheduled or charter flights
Pre- and post- land arrangements.
Transfers to / from the vessel outside Spitsbergen.
Passport and visa expenses.
Government arrival and departure taxes.
Baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (which is mandatory).
Excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar, beverage charges and telecommunication charges.
The customary gratuity at the end of the voyages for stewards and other service personnel aboard (guidelines will be provided).
PLEASE NOTE: N.B. This is a voyage, with a group of scientists on the ship, who will follow-up on the investigations which Dutch researchers began on Edgeøya in the 20th century. The passengers will be given the opportunity to share the experiences of the scientists, but will also have the opportunity to join some rather extended walks to special places of interest. All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on ice, weather, and wildlife conditions. The onboard expedition leader determines the final itinerary. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises. The average cruising speed for m/v Ortelius is 10.5 knots.
The trip might have been the absolute best of our lifetime (thus far). We particularly want to commend our guide Peter in the Guilin area-he was so incredibly attentive, energetic, enthusiastic-and absolutely dedicated to ensuring that our meals were 100% vegetarian.