PLEASE NOTE: N.B. The chances that we can complete a full Spitsbergen Circumnavigation (based on our experiences from 1992 until 2012) are about, 30 % in the first half of July, 60 % in the second half of July, 90% in the first half of August, 95% in the second half of August. In case we cannot complete a full circumnavigation we will mostly resort to a program in Northeast or Southeast Spitsbergen This itinerary is for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on local ice and weather conditions and in order to take advantage of opportunities to see wildlife. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises. Willingness to compromise on comfort is a basic requirement on board of an historic traditional sailing vessel. Important information about the sailing program: the boat is equipped with sails and these will be used in good conditions (open sea, water depth, appropriate wind conditions, time availability). This is not guaranteed. The captain decides whether to use the sails or the engine. There is no claim to one or other propulsion method. If sails are used, they are operated by the crew. Guests follow the safety instructions of the team.
Day 1: We will embark our vessel in Longyeabyen, in the late afternoon
After arriving in Longyearbyen, the ‘capital’ (actually the administrative centre) 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. In the evening we sail, setting course for Trygghamna where we will see the remains of a 17th century English whaling station and an 18th century Pomor hunting station, which we will visit the next morning
Day 2: We make a nice walk from Tryghamna to a large seabird cliff, Alkhornet
From Trygghamna we walk to Alkhornet a large seabird cliff. Below the cliffs is a den of Arctic Fox which scavenge off fallen eggs and chicks. Reindeer graze on the lush vegetation. In Forlandsundet we visit a haul out place of Walrus.
Day 3: We visit a 17th centurey whaling settlement on Smeerenburg
Today we visit the remains of Smeerenburg, the largest 17th century whaling settlement on Spitsbergen. We also land on Ytre Norskøya where there are many graves dating from whaling days.
Day 4 - 15: We see Walrus, take excursions and see whale skeletons
Today we start by sailing either to Sorgfjord or to Murchison Bay, on the north side of which there is an extensive dry tundra, home to many reindeer. There is also is a Swedish research station here. The next days we continue through Hinlopen Strait were we are surrounded by icecaps. We will land in Lomfjord, a beautiful fjord surrounded by high mountains. Augustabukta is a lovely open bay close to a glacier which is crevasse-free, allowing us to walk without difficulties. On a nearby cliff the rare and beautiful Ivory Gull nests, together with Black Guillemot. Reindeer, Polar Bear and Walrus are usually seen in this area. We next sail towards the impressive Bråsvell glacier. We may take an excursion on Svartknausflya, a desolate polar desert almost devoid of vegetation, or visit Wilhelmøya, which has raised beaches littered with sub fossilised whale skeletons, and where encounters with Polar Bear are likely. Sailing through the narrow Heleysundet between Spitsbergen and Barentsøya can only be done against the current, a very spectacular journey. As an alternative, if conditions do not favour us, we will sail through Freemansundet. At Kapp Lee, we walk in beautiful Rosenbergdalen to see reindeer. In Diskobukta we visit a large colony of Kittiwake which nest in a canyon. Arctic Fox and Polar Bear with young, often roam through the canyon, scavenging on young, flightless birds which fall from the ledges. On the raised beaches there are many sub fossilised whale skeletons. Continuing our exploration of southern Spitsbergen, we sail into the labyrinth of side fjords in Hornsund. At Brepollen, a large glacial deposit at the head of the fjord, we will sail along a beautiful glacier front with good chances of seeing Bearded Seal and Polar Bear. The geological formations in this area are very spectacular and colourful. We will also pay a visit to the Polish research station at Isbjørnhamna, where the friendly crew will discuss their scientific programs. On our way to Longyearbyen we sail into Bell Sund to reach Ahlstrandhalvøya, with its interesting geological formations and the remains of the 20th century Beluga hunting. It is still a good area for observing Beluga. If time allows we will pay a visit to Barentsburg, the only inhabited Russian settlement in Spitsbergen, or to Colesbukta, an abandoned Russian coal mining settlement.
Day 16: Our final morning, we will disembark the ship in the morning in Longyearbyen
Departure by scheduled flight from Longyearbyen to Oslo.
Highlights you might experience
s/v Noorderlicht is well suited for sailing among small islands and offers good open-deck viewing areas, also when under sail. Full ship info >>