This 14-day voyage starts in Longyearbyen (Spitsbergen), sailing along the Northeast coast of Greenland and ending in Akureyri (Iceland). Approaching Greenland attempt to sail through the sea ice into Foster Bugt, making your first landing at Myggebugten. Beyond the old hunters’ hut (in the first half of last century Norwegian trappers hunted here for polar bear and Arctic fox) there is an extensive tundra populated by musk oxen.
View one of the great attractions in the Arctic: the Northern Lights
See Ittoqqortoormiit, one of the most remote inhabited places in the world
Keep watch for whales, and also for migrating seabirds
Marvel at cathedral-like icebergs in Greenlandic waters
Arrive in Longyearbyen, on Spitsbergen, the administrative capital of the Spitsbergen archipelago of which West Spitsbergen is the largest island. Before embarking there is an opportunity to visit this former mining village. The Parish Church and the Polar Museum are well worth visiting. In the early evening the ship sails out of Isfjorden.
Sail into Raudfjord on the north coast of West Spitsbergen, a beautiful fjord with spectacular glaciers. It is home to ringed and bearded seals, seabird colonies, and surprisingly rich vegetation. You have good chances to see polar bears, for instance near Hamilton Glacier, or more near the head of the fjord. From there continue to Moffen Island on which walruses haul out.
At sea, on our way to Greenland, along with the impressive East Greenland Ice. Keep watch for Fin Whales, Humpback Whales and Minke Whales, and also for migrating seabirds, especially the Brünnich’s Guillemots, which swim with their small young from Spitsbergen, along the sea ice to South Greenland.
Approaching Greenland sail through the sea ice into Foster Bugt, making your first landing at Myggebugten. Beyond the old hunters’ hut (in the first half of last century Norwegian trappers hunted here for polar bears and arctic foxes) there is an extensive tundra populated by musk oxen. The small lakes are home to geese. Sail through Kaiser Franz Joseph Fjord, a magnificent fjord with towering mountains on both sides, its inner reaches choked with huge icebergs. An alternative is Sofia Sund, which is much narrower, and where you can see musk oxen from the ship.
Land at Blomster Bugt to view the beautiful geological formations. Arctic hares are usually seen here, and there is a lake with great northern divers and their young. In the afternoon sail along Teufelschloss and Ella Ø and perhaps land at a beautiful spot in the early evening.
In the morning enter Segelsällskapets Fjord with the beautiful Berzelius Mountains on the north side. Land on the south side of the fjord in an astounding place where the ancient sedimentary geology is literally at your feet. A hike takes you near a small lake with good chances to see musk oxen, arctic hare, and ptarmigan. In the afternoon the ship ventures into Alpe Fjord, which is as spectacular as the name implies. You may embark on a long Zodiac cruise around the Gully Glacier which once blocked the access to the interior of the fjord and ventures deep inside to the very end. Adventure at its finest!
Spend the first half of the day in Antarcticahavn, a wide and extensive valley where you also could see groups of musk oxen. At this time of year the autumnal colors of the sparse vegetation make the landscapes even more beautiful.
Today reach the Scoresby Sund and sail in the morning along with the ragged and glaciated Volquart Boons. Here enjoy zodiac cruises along with one of the glacier fronts of this coast, and have your first landing near Maane Glacier.
Later land on Danmark Ø where you find the remains of an Inuit settlement abandoned around 200 years ago. The circular ‘tent rings’ of stones indicate the summer houses, while the winter houses can be seen closer to a small cape. The sites are excellently preserved, allowing entrances and even bear-proof meat caches to be identified. There are also gravesites. In the evening continue sailing through the beautiful fjords to the west, choked with icebergs.
Go ashore at Cape Hofmann Halvø, a reliable spot for viewing musk oxen. You may also spot rock ptarmigans and great northern divers at sea. The landscape here is particularly beautiful, especially during autumn when the dwarf willow and dwarf birch change color. Arctic blueberry and crowberry add their own colorful touch - the berries are tasty too! In the evening sail through the fjord towards Scoresby Land, enjoying the contrast between the warm autumnal colors of the vegetation on shore, backed by huge dark mountains, and the cold blue of the icebergs.
In Northwest fjord in Scoresby Land, encounter huge icebergs, some over 100m high and more than a kilometer in length. Most of the bergs are grounded as the fjord is only about 400m deep here. Land near Sydkap to view the remains of the Thule culture winter houses. As many as 20 people lived in these tiny houses, hunting Greenland whales and using their vertebrae to build the houses. You may also land at Gurreholm on Jameson Land. The landscape here is gently undulating.
Today you make a tundra landing on Liverpool Land, in Hurry Inlet. The afternoon stop is Ittoqqortoormiit, the largest settlement in Scoresbysund at about five hundred inhabitants. At the post office, you can buy stamps for your postcards or just stroll around to see the sled dogs and drying skins of seals and musk oxen. In the afternoon you sail south, passing the picturesque landscapes of the Blosseville Coast.
Spend the whole day at sea and have splendid opportunities to see large whales and seabird migration and, in the night, the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights).
Day 14: Akureyri | Disembark | Reykjavik, Iceland
Every adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. You disembark in Akureyri, where on request you can transfer by chartered bus (a six-hour drive that you must book in advance) to the Reykjavik city hall, taking home memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.
Everything was amazing! The planning with Adventure Life went smoothly. The actual trip was fantastic! One of the best trips I have experienced. The cruise staff members were knowledgeable and attentive. I will be writing more about this on the blog!