PLEASE NOTE: The autumn Spitsbergen voyages, at the onset of winter, are ideal for observing the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights). All itineraries are 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 a 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 afternoon we sail, setting course for Alkhornet, a high cliff. Below the cliffs we often see Arctic Fox and reindeer. We continue to Trygghamna to visit the remains of a 17th century English whaling station and an 18th century Russian Pomor station.
Day 2 - 5: We set sail to the fjord system of Bell Sund
We leave Trygghamna early in the morning and sail to the north side of Bellsund. Bellsund is a fjord system with two major branches (Van Mijenfjord, Van Keulenfjord) and one smaller side bay (Recherchefjord). The geology is fascinating and has created amazing landscapes, such as the long, narrow island of Akseløya that blocks Van Mijenfjord almost completely. In Fridtjovhamna, the calving glacier Fridtjovbreen is surrounded by picturesque mountains. The rich wildlife of the area has attracted hunters throughout several centuries - we will walk in their footsteps and see remains of their huts - for example, at Ahlstrandhalvøya. Recherchefjord is one of the places in Spitsbergen with the highest concentration of historical sites, dating back to 17th century whalers and the mining period of the early 20th century. The glacier Recherchebreen ends at a lagoon, likely to be frozen in October, with many smaller icebergs. Polar Bear are likely to be present anywhere in the Bellsund area, and we will keep a keen watch to find them. We have also seen Beluga (white whales) in this area.
Day 6: We will visit an inhabitated Russian settlement in Barentsburg
We will pay a visit to Barentsburg, the only inhabited Russian settlement in Spitsbergen, or to Colesbukta, an abandoned Russian coal mining settlement.
Day 7: We will sail into the Isfjord system
We sail into the inner reaches of the Isfjord system, where during nights with open sky we will experience temperatures of minus 10 degrees C, and new ice will be forming on the heads of the fjords.
Day 8: 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 >>