HDSXX23, trip log, North Spitsbergen - Kvitoya - Farthest North

by Oceanwide Expeditions


Day 1: Longyearbyen - Embarkation Day

Longyearbyen - Embarkation Day
Fecha: 19.08.2023
Posición: 78°13.7’N / 015°36.0’E
Viento: W 2
Clima: Partly cloudy
Temperatura del Aire: +8

Finally the day had arrived, the start of our Arctic expedition. Over the previous 48 hours, we had all congregated in the charming little town of Longyearbyen. We’d explored the settlement, checking out the restaurants, the museum, and the multitude of weird and wonderful shops, ranging from boutique hand-crafted woolen garments to large sports shops, and the world’s most northerly department store.

Through the course of the day we had noticed the smart white and navy ship sat in the bay, our home for the next eight days, the expedition ship Hondius. We began to make our way down to the harbour for 16:00 and were greeted at the pier by the Expedition Team, who supplied us with lifejackets and helped us into the waiting Zodiacs, ready to shuttle us the the ship. The weather was glorius, the lightest of breezes ruffled the surface of Adventfjord, and the strong summer sun shone brightly through the loose clouds above us. After just a few moments, we were welcomed in through the shell doors in the side of the ship and made our way upstairs to Reception.

The Hotel team, headed by William and Albert, were on hand to check us in and show us to our rooms. This was also an opportunity to explore the ship; we wandered on the many outside decks, found the Lounge and the Lecture Room, and then began to unpack our things in our lovely cabins.

Marcel, our Expedition Leader, welcomed us on board, and invited us all to come to the Lounge for a safety briefing before the ship set sail. We learned about Hondius, our safety gear, and what will happen in an emergency, and then followed this up with a practice of the abandon ship procedures. As we gathered on the outside decks we were greeted by our first wildlife spectacle; hundreds of crisp white beluga whales streamed past the stern of the ship, heading deeper into Adventfjord. A few came so close that their brief exhales were audible, along with the splashing of their flukes as they dipped beneath the surface again. As the afternoon gave way to early evening, Hondius lifted her anchor and set off westwards, out through Isfjord, and into the dipping sun. Days of intrigue and adventure await us all, set in the most spectacular Arctic wilderness.  

Day 2: At Sea and Eolusneset, Sorgfjorden

At Sea and Eolusneset, Sorgfjorden
Fecha: 20.08.2023
Posición: 80°00.9’N / 016°49.6’E
Viento: W 4
Clima: Overcast
Temperatura del Aire: +3

We woke up after our first night on board with anticipation about what our first full day would bring. We went to breakfast, and then gathered in the lounge to watch the mandatory briefings which included how to board and disembark Zodiacs, the AECO guide video, and some important points about polar bear safety.

Shortly after the briefings we heard an exciting call from Assistant Expedition Leader Pippa to say there were whales outside. We were treated to beautiful views of several different whale species. Minke whales, humpback whales, fin whales, and even a sei whale, were seen from multiple points around the ship. Many whale species visit the Arctic in the summer to take advantage of the rich feeding grounds and we had perfectly calm seas to spot them in.

We then collected our muck boots before heading to lunch. Whilst we were starting to get ready for our planned Zodiac cruise and landing at Crozierpynten, Expedition Guide Sasha spotted something white and fluffy on the shore. It was the magnificent king of the Arctic, the species we had all been hoping for, the polar bear. We were excited to begin a Zodiac cruise to admire this magnificent bear, but shortly after it was seen it began swimming in the water. Bears are not to be approached whilst they are swimming, so we had to watch and wait to see where it went and how it was behaving.

Whilst waiting for the bear to return from its swim, Expedition Guide Jess gave a lecture about the whale and dolphin species we could see on our voyage, and talked about the species we had already encountered within less than 48 hours on board.

After learning about the whales we heard an announcement from Marcel to tell us to get dressed and ready to Zodiac cruise as the bear had made its way to the shore again.

We set off in the Zodiacs to what was to be a very magical encounter. A beautiful polar bear was standing in a river that ran into the sea. It was stood very still watching the water, sometimes glancing over to us and looking up and down the water. We formed a chain with our Zodiacs and began cruising along the shore in turn to enjoy the view. The bear suddenly splashed through the river and we realised it was trying to catch fish; a behaviour that has only been observed once in in Svalbard before! Normally the polar bears that live here eat seals, although they also sometimes eat beluga whales, as well as scavenging on other carcasses they find on the shorelines, so this was a very unique behaviour and moment to witness.

We returned to the ship to study our photographs and reflect on our first Arctic experiences. At our evening recap we heard a series of photography tips from Misha, John taught us about the Swedish and Russian Arc of Meridian expedition which took place at Crozierpynten, and Bill told us how to ‘Look, see, think, and do…’

Dinner was spectacular, as we’ve come to expect, and a few of us retired to the bar afterwards to enjoy a drink whilst watching the serene Arctic Ocean pass by.

Day 3: Wahlbergøya and Alkefjellet, Hinlopenstretet

Wahlbergøya and Alkefjellet, Hinlopenstretet
Fecha: 21.08.2023
Posición: 79°21.0’N / 019°35.6’E
Viento: S 2
Clima: Overcast
Temperatura del Aire: +3

We woke to a fine morning; mild and with good visibility at Wahlbergøya, a small island in Hinlopen Strait, between east and west Svalbard. The news of the morning was that there were five polar bears in front of the ship.

We were entertained, pre-breakfast, by three bears in the water just off of the beach and another bear on the ridge above. There was one final bear a lot further distant on the hills behind the beach, visible only as a small cream speck in the landscape. The three bears in the water were a mum and her two cubs, what a treat, watching the cubs playing and interacting in the water as mum watched on. We had to drag ourselves away from the show and went in for another excellent breakfast.

After breakfast we all got ready for a Zodiac cruise to see the bears. We boarded the boats and made our way slowly to shore to find an amazing, and very unusual sight. Four polar bears feeding on the same carcass, the carcass of an unfortunate minke whale that had long since died.

Everyone had fantastic views as we passed the bears feeding intently on the abundance of food. We could even hear the grunts and growls as one bear got, perhaps, a bit too close to another. The bears were relaxed and very focussed on their meal, not seemingly noticing the line of Zodiacs passing by.

After a few passes we left the bears to relax after their big meal. We travelled a little further along the coastline to see a large group of walrus hauled out on the beach. Some of the animals were also in the water and seemed curious occasionally surfacing near the Zodiacs to check us out. Another great wildlife sighting.

We returned to the ship for another wonderful lunch and just enough time to relax before our afternoon activity, a Zodiac cruise at Alkefjellet; an imposing cliff absolutely full of seabirds.

We were amazed by the sheer numbers of birds on the water, on the cliffs, and in the air. The vast majority of the birds were Brünnichs guillemots, breeding seabirds with many, many chicks on the water. One of the other birds we saw in reasonable numbers was the glaucus gull, we watched with mixed feelings as two gulls took guillemot chicks from the cliffs and watched a third, immature, gull try to snatch a chick from the sea. We watched with relief as the gull dropped the chick and it was reunited with its parent, real nature, in the raw, happening right in front of our eyes!

We learnt that where there are concentrations of seabirds you often find Arctic foxes and this was no exception.

Apart from the huge bird cliffs there were also spectacular waterfalls and a very scenic glacier to finish the cruise with. On the way back to Hondius we had to be careful to avoid the huge rafts of birds on the water, once back on board it was time to warm-up with a hot drink and cake.

At 18:15 it was time for our daily recap; Marcel gave us the plans for tomorrow and we were then informed about dead whales by Jess, ivory gulls by Andrew, and Brünnich's guillemots by Martin.

We drifted down to the restaurant for a relaxing dinner while chatting to friends and family about the days wonderful events.

However, the day was not yet over, at 11 pm we reached Bråsvellbreen; a huge ice cliff which loomed out of the mist, we were encouraged out to see this spectacular sight bathed in late evening sunshine, what a fantastic end to a wonderful day in Svalbard.

Day 4: Austfonna and Norvargodden, Storøya

Austfonna and Norvargodden, Storøya
Fecha: 22.08.2023
Posición: 80°07.2’N / 028°45.6’E
Viento: SSW 3
Clima: Partly cloudy
Temperatura del Aire: +3

The plans for the day were grand! Each of us, drawing back the curtains and lifting the covers of the portholes, preparing to welcome the bright rays of sunlight into the depths of Hondius, anticipated a joyful day, brimming with adventures. Yet, the scene that met our eyes stirred a sense of bewilderment, for it was truly peculiar: a dense, grey mist enveloped everything around us with a thick shroud, looming over Hondius and robbing us of any sense of spatial orientation. Where are we? Where in the devil are we?

It was as if the Arctic, having second thoughts about how much it allowed us to experience, feel, and see over the past two days, decided to take compensatory measures to balance the course of our journey.

According to the readings from the radar and satellite navigation instruments, Hondius was moving slowly but steadily forward, skirting the southern coast of Nordaustlandet. The fog at times thickened so much that we had to peer closely to distinguish the flag of Oceanwide Expeditions fluttering on the bow. At other times, it slightly dispersed, revealing icebergs slowly bobbing on the waves. These icebergs had broken away from the massive ice dome of Austfonna, which covers a large part of Nordaustlandet. The wind was almost absent. The aforementioned flag occasionally came to life, as if to remind us of its presence, fluttering purposefully, and then it would hang limply, incapable of even the slightest movement.

The waters washing the southern shores of Nordaustlandet were no longer just fjords but an open ocean, and all oceans are known for their swaying motion. The ocean seemed to sleep, wrapped in a blanket of fog, breathing slowly. Inhale-exhale, inhale-exhale... Hondius crawled along its massive body like a lost and hapless ant. On each inhale, Hondius would rise, and on each exhale, it would lower itself, slicing through the water's surface with a sound as its bow moved forward.

During breakfast, still filled with hope, we repeatedly diverted our gazes from our omelettes and yogurts to the outside, wondering if the fog was starting to dissipate. Yet, the fog only seemed to thicken around our ship. The planned morning Zodiac cruise in the area of Isispynten had to be postponed to a later time. The weary Arctic sun reluctantly climbed higher. The fog, as if fearing its tired yet stern gaze, clung even tighter to the ocean's surface, refusing to disperse despite the sun's rays. Above us, the blue expanse of the celestial dome was now distinctly visible, but on the sides, as before, milk-like clouds of tiny water droplets spread out. After waiting a bit longer, the leadership of our expedition made the disappointing decision to cancel the Zodiac cruise. Even if we went, we wouldn't have seen any glaciers, icebergs, walruses, or - oh, the horror! - polar bears. And with that circumstance, there's no room for jests. Well, failures do happen. No big deal, we'll get through it!

Strangely enough, the time before lunch flew by quickly. We listened to lectures delivered by our guides, stepped out onto the open decks to breathe in the fresh Arctic air, and to cast our gaze upon any icebergs that crossed our path.

After lunch, patches of fog began alternating with areas of good visibility. Our ship was headed towards Storøya. It's one of the easternmost islands in the archipelago. Most of it is covered by an ice dome, but there's also space to land and take a stroll. In today's itinerary, this activity was scheduled for the afternoon.

Suddenly, Hondius slowed down, and then came to a complete halt. The sound of the anchor chain echoed. Could it be that we had arrived? Determining this was impossible because the fog concealed from us anything beyond a couple of hundred meters from the ship. It was decided to wait for a while. The wind picked up, so there was a good chance it might scatter the fog, revealing the expanses of the Arctic before our eyes.

And this assumption turned out to be correct! We stood on the captain's bridge, on the decks, and at the ship's bow, gazing into the distance, and suddenly, the fog started thinning right before our eyes, and unbelievably so, for a moment, a stretch of land appeared before us! The fog, refusing to surrender without a fight, charged back and swallowed the strip of land along with the rest of the world. Yet, this was short-lived. The fresh wind easily reclaimed all its lost territory in a matter of minutes. Now, not only the narrow strip of ice-free land was visible, but also the ice dome of Storøya. But that wasn't all! Soon, the strait between Storøya and Nordaustlandet opened up before us, and in the distance, the ice dome of Austfonna revealed itself. A few more minutes passed, and there was nothing left of the fog but a white streak over the sea far to the south. It was now unmistakably clear: disembarkation on the shore was destined to happen!

The Zodiacs were lowered into the water. The guides set out for reconnaissance – were there any polar bears hiding among the rocks? In the mean time we hurriedly dressed. The ship anchored quite a distance from the shore, not because it was shallow closer to the coast, but because this stretch of seafloor had not yet been explored and charted, as ships so rarely venture here!

And there we were, on the shore. Finally, we could examine everything in detail. We began to walk back and forth, exploring this uninhabited island. How wonderful it was, after a pause of several days, to stretch our legs and feel solid ground beneath our feet!

Small, sporadically moss-covered hollows, the flowers of drooping saxifrage, and round boulders adorned with black lichen. A typical Arctic desert. Here and there, we stumbled upon whale bones. Apparently, a few centuries ago, brave whalers harvested this rare creature in these waters and used this barren shore to render the whale oil. Vertebrae, jawbones, ribs—those were all that remained of the marine giants. Scattered amidst them were walrus bones as well. It's possible that fearless Russian Pomors also stopped on Storøya to hunt for walrus.

However, the shore wasn't only scattered with bones. Enormous mounds of plastic awaited us: floats from fishing nets, the nets themselves, buoys, bottles, buckets—there was no shortage of items! This is the price we pay for progress and the comfortable life of humanity. It was unpleasant to look at all of this, and to the best of our abilities, we tried to clean up at least a little. We dragged all the plastic we could gather to the spot of our landing, after which the guides packed it into two huge bags and took them back to the ship.

Some tiny islets very close to our shore were occupied by walrus. Huge, fat beasts claimed every square meter, sleeping in unison, only occasionally waking up and casting a glance around. Among them were walrus calves too. Like all children in the world, they obviously didn't want to sleep, they wanted to play. Rolling around, they crawled on the bodies of their sleeping parents, making various amusing sounds. Taking advantage of the opportunity, we took photographs. But then something happened: as if on command, all the walrus woke up, and one by one, they dove into the water. In a matter of mere seconds, the islet emptied, and the walrus, now alert and swaying on the waves, showcased their tusks, loudly snorting gazing around.

The time had come to leave Storøya. One by one, the Zodiacs ferried us back to the ship. It was time for dinner and rest, as tomorrow promised to be no less exciting!

Day 5: Kræmerpynten and Andréeneset, Kvitøya

Kræmerpynten and Andréeneset, Kvitøya
Fecha: 23.08.2023
Posición: 80°10.4’N / 033°39.4’E
Viento: S 2
Clima: Fog
Temperatura del Aire: +1

Our expedition is North Spitsbergen – Kvitøya and Farthest North, and today is Kvitøya Day! Kvitøya is Norwegian for White Island (øya is Norwegian for island). This name is appropriate because 99% of the island is covered by an ice cap. Only 2 small rocky bits of land are not ice covered – Kræmerpynten, in the northeast, and Andréeneset, in the southwest. In between the ice reaches depths of 300 meters and forms a continuous ice cliff at the coastline.

Our morning activity was at Kræmerpynten. We could see on arrival the small spits of land and watched as the scouting party went to investigate. We knew that landings are rare on Kvitøya but hoped for the best. Alas, the ice was too thick along the shore to allow access to the beach. However, conditions were perfect for a Zodiac cruise, so away we went.

The sea was nearly flat with almost no wind. This gave great reflections of the blue sculptures made from the scattered sea ice and glacial ice around the shore. It also allowed for easy, fast travel so we ventured very far from Hondius. With a number of Zodiacs on the water, and radio communication, all of us were able to get to the highlights as they were found.

We visited several small groups of walrus cows with calves – both on the ice and in the water. When they were feeding, they re-surfaced very near to us. We sat quietly and enjoyed watching them in their home. Many of the ice floes were covered in black-legged kittiwakes. We approached them slowly, but inevitably one took flight, prompting a beautiful flurry of wings as the sky filled with birds. We cruised closer to the ice cap and the glacier fronts where it meets the sea. These tall dramatic cliffs were carved with deep crevasses and we heard the rumble of calvings. We knew that we were far north, and that the sea ice had only recently moved away from this area. Still, it was a bit startling to see the patches of slushy ice on the surface where formation of the winter sea ice layer had already started. Marcel and the Hotel Team must have known that we would be cold because a Zodiac with the Oceanwide flag arrived to serve us freshly baked banana bread and hot apple cider.

As Hondius repositioned to Andréeneset we had lunch and learned the history of this place from John in his talk on The Quest for the North Pole. One of the expeditions he described was led by Salomon Andrée. They attempted to reach the pole by balloon but failed, and eventually perished here on the barren, rocky coast of Kvitøya.

The fog outside began to close in during the journey and never cleared. We were denied even a glimpse of the site where the remains of Andrée and his companions were discovered more than 30 years after launching. The conditions prevented even a Zodiac cruise, making us more thankful for the glorious morning.

One consolation was that our education continued with a talk from Hazel on polar bears titled ‘Icon of the North’. Her pictures and stories made it clear that we have been lucky with bear sightings so far, but also whet our appetites for tomorrow’s visit to the ice.

Speaking of appetites, Kvitøya day turned into barbecue evening. The Captain took us out of the thick fog and into pleasant evening light in an area of drift ice for a meal on the back decks. After dinner we learned that Oceanwide has a tradition that barbecue evening is followed by dancing into the night. The tables and benches were cleared to transform the decks into a dance floor - with fog bows and near sunset light instead of disco balls! The various DJs got busy with favorite tunes played for all generations. Shake that thing!

This expedition seems to always find a way to turn a disappointment in Plan A into a triumph in Plan B!

Day 6: The Arctic Pack Ice

The Arctic Pack Ice
Fecha: 24.08.2023
Posición: 81°46.7’N / 021°37.5’E
Viento: WSW 4
Clima: Fog
Temperatura del Aire: +1

The day started slowly, as passengers with throbbing heads and aching limbs emerged from their cabins after a superb barbecue and dance party on the aft deck the night before… to be confronted by poor visibility.

However, as promised in the wake-up call at 08:00, Hondius emerged from the mist shortly after breakfast, engine throbbing, and cruised across the calm sea towards the ice on the horizon.

The serious competition now began as passengers lined the rails and bridge; scanning with their binoculars to see who would be the first to spot a polar bear. Just after 10 in the morning we hit the edge of the ice field and we were given a visual and audio illustration of the enormous power of the vessel as it’s strengthened hull shuddered with a deep metallic booming as it pushed and scraped relentlessly through the thick ice floes of the Arctic Ocean. Within a few moments the vessel was ensconced in another world, one of relentlessly shifting morass of ice and a completely unique perspective – there is something stark, almost brutal, about the endless pack ice, but it is also incredibly beautiful.

Eyes continued to strain, glued to binoculars, passengers and guides alike scanned the fuzzy horizon eager to find wildlife. However, the ice remained relatively empty. The only signs of life were the odd lonely seal bobbing curiously on the surface as Hondius crunched past in the ice. Our guide lecture programme continued throughout the morning with Mikhail delivering a detailed introduction to the exciting research into the fascinating world of ‘Marine Mammal Acoustics’ followed appropriately by Andrew who focussed on ‘Citizen Science’ in wildlife photography and encouraged everyone to send their wildlife photographs in to research and identification organisations such as Happy Whale. These organistations allow you to track the animals we have encountered; it’s possible to get reports of their location when they are seen in the future.

By late morning the mist had closed in and visibility was suddenly very poor. Some of us pondered on the hardships and desolation generations of whalers and adventurers must have experienced navigating through this disorientating, frozen seascape. Perhaps also pausing to think that this shifting world of chaotic ice is the true home of the polar bear and it is supremely adapted to thrive in this pitiless place.

After lunch, eager for education, we attended the next lecture as photography expert Koen gave us his ‘Top 10 Wildlife Photography Tips’. His absolutely beautiful images gave us inspiration and aspiration to reach a high standard with our own photography.

Bill followed a little later in the afternoon with a talk ‘Whaling and Sealing’… a tale of death and destruction in the Arctic. This was timed brilliantly as we cruised through the white expanse, [looking, seeing, thinking!] and were able ‘engage brain’ and visualise how difficult it must have been for businesses to operate and to explore in these polar waters.

Late in the afternoon, Marcel invited us to join the Expedition Team on the bow, we were just about to cross the fabled 82 degrees north. William and Albert welcomed us onto the bow with hot chocolate, rum, chocolate cakes, and chocolate-dipped bananas courtesy of Head Chef Ralf. As the ship crossed over the line Captain Ernesto blew the ships horn and a ragged cheer emerged from the passengers and staff alike.

Later in the afternoon, Bill produced a special (and humorous) ’82 degrees’ certificate signed by himself, Marcel, and the captain to commemorate the furthest North Hondius has been this Arctic season, and the furthest north she will venture this year. Sasha completed the educational programme of a relaxing day by providing evening entertainment with a witty and enlightening account of his time as a lonely resident in the abandoned Russian mining settlement of Pyramiden.

Day 7: At Sea and Ny Ålesund

At Sea and Ny Ålesund
Fecha: 25.08.2023
Posición: 79°34.4’N / 010°19.9’E
Viento: ESE 3
Clima: Partly cloudy
Temperatura del Aire: +3

When we awoke in the morning, it seemed like the world was moving. Did we drink too much in the lounge the evening before? No, Hondius was battling against strong winds and rough seas. We were lucky to be in such a strong vessel.

Those of us that still were in for breakfast went into the Dining Room and on the way saw that our original plans had been changed. The thick belts of ice last night, and strong winds and swell this morning had delayed our progress. After breakfast we had a series of wonderful short lectures, headed by Marcel who talked about the science community of Ny Ålesund, which we intend to visit this afternoon, Martin elaborated about the incredible flight abilities and migration patterns of the Arctic tern, and Pippa explained everything you want to know about our cute furry friend the Arctic fox. As we were still battling against strong winds to reach Ny Ålesund, Tom gave a lecture about his 21 years of visiting the Arctic, explaining what it’s like doing geological fieldwork and the research questions geologists try to answer by examining rocks.

After another fabulous lunch we finally managed to reach Kongsfjord and headed towards Ny Ålesund. Here we were free to wander around this small town. We visited the old train, the post-office, the shop, explored all the sights sounds and smells of the most northern outpost on Svalbard. It’s a strange place, a town made almost entirely of scientists, but a place of cooperation and progress; we saw stations from many countries including The Netherlands, Germany, South Korea, China, Norway, The United Kingdom, among many others. It was great to stretch our legs, to wander freely, and to enjoy the incredible views of Kongsbreen and Kronebreen – this town is set in the most spectacular landscape imaginable.

John was standing out by the airship mast where he told the incredible story of Nobile and his adventures over the North Pole. Along the way we passed a row of our guides; guarding the route out to the mast and back, Martin was amongst them with his spotting scope and was able to show us the reindeer, eider ducks, and harbour seals, all visible from the open tundra here.

When we were back at the ship, Captain Ernesto moved Hondius further into Kongsfjorden to give us a fantastic view of the glaciers Kongsbreen and Kronebreen. We congregated on the bow to view these incredible rivers of ice. The blue of the freshly calved ice was particularly beautiful, especially against the red rocks of the surrounding peaks.

After dinner we gathered in the Lounge for happy hour and a pub quiz given by Pippa and Hazel. A raucous evening developed, and competition was especially fierce near the front of the room! The baby photos from the staff and crew were really difficult to guess, with the exception of Sacha’s – even as an eight year old, his strong looks shone through.

Day 8: St. Jonsfjorden and Barentsburg

St. Jonsfjorden and Barentsburg
Fecha: 26.08.2023
Posición: 78°31.3’N / 012°24.7’E
Viento: SW 3
Clima: Fog
Temperatura del Aire: +6

As we went down to breakfast this morning, we sailed into St Jonsfjord, to our target landing site of Gjertsenodden. We headed out in the Zodiacs in our chosen hiking groups; the long hikers went first for a strong, fast, three-hour trek, followed by the main group of people looking to tackle the medium effort walk. Finally, the remaining guests landed for the leisurely walk. After a safety briefing from our guides we set out onto the tundra to follow our various routes; it felt good to stretch our legs properly. Along our path we were able to observe many of the interesting geological features, including patterned ground, frost-shattered rocks, and the nearby glacier of Gaffelbreen. We also saw reindeer and Arctic akua. Perhaps the highlight was a completely white Arctic fox running across the slopes, which many of us were lucky see. Back at the landing site we were able to visit the trapper’s hut, still in use but no longer for trapping, before stepping out (bravely or foolishly?) into the icy sea for the legendary polar plunge (insert screams and hollering here!!).

Over lunch we transitioned to Poolepynten, only to find blustery winds, fog, and no walrus at home at their usual haul-out. However, as we sailed past we still spotted a humpback whale doing some impressive lunge-feeding right next to the shoreline and three white-beaked dolphins. It was decided that off-ship activities would be impossible for the afternoon, so a lecture series was quickly scheduled. John led off with his history of arctic whaling, followed by Bill on ‘Paintings of the Sea” – an historical journey of seascape art – and Rose, on the universal problem of marine plastic.

In the evening we all gathered together in the Lounge for the final time to join Captain Ernesto in raising a glass to mark the end of our fabulous expedition. This was also the chance to thank Marcel and his amazing team who had looked after our safety and helped us share experiences that will remain with us forever. As a way to enhance those memories, Misha put together a stunning slide show of our trip, which we able to watch and then take home with us. Finally, it was down to our gala dinner which included the opportunity to thank many of the other staff who had looked after us so well and made us so welcome on our Arctic adventure.

Day 9: Longyearbyen - Disembarkation Day

Longyearbyen - Disembarkation Day
Fecha: 27.08.2023
Posición: 78°14.6’N / 015°32.6’E
Viento: W 1
Clima: Overcast
Temperatura del Aire: +8

In the early hours of the morning, after eight days of almost continuous motion, Hondius gently came to a rest alongside the pier in Longyearbyen. Our voyage is over, and we sleep peacefully in a quiet cabin, the gentle hum of the main engine stilled. Perhaps, as we slumber, we are processing the sights, sounds, smells, and emotions we have experienced throughout this magnificent trip, encompassing most of Svalbard, and stretching to the absolute northernmost limit of where it is possible to go with even an ice-strengthened ship.

We were woken gently by Marcels voice for the last time, some of us headed out in the early hours of the morning, but for the rest of us, it’s time for our final breakfast, and fond goodbyes to the wonderful hotel and restaurant crew who have helped make our voyage unforgettable.

As the buses arrive on the pier, it’s time to disembark. We step off onto dry land and back into the real world once more. We give our farewells to the expedition team, the entire crew, and Hondius. Goodbye, or perhaps, just au revoir.


Código del viaje: HDSXX23
Fechas: 19 ago. - 27 ago., 2023
Duración: 8 noches
Barco: El Hondius
Embarque: Longyearbyen
Desembarque: Longyearbyen

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Aboard El Hondius

El Hondius es el primer barco de clase polar 6 registrado en el mundo y fue construido desde cero para cruceros de expedición.

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