Sailing Around Spitsbergen

Number of days

16

Start Location

Arctic

Group Size

1-20

Operated by

World Expeditions

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Explore the magnificent scenery as we attempt to circumnavigate Spitsbergen

Operated by:

World Expeditions

World Expeditions is an adventure travel and ecotourism company that offers guided small group trekking and adventure holidays.

Itinerary

Join Longyearbyen

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.

Walk from Tryghamna to the 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.

Fuglefjorden

You sail into Fuglefjorden amid views of Svitjodbreen and Birgerbukta, both breeding areas for great skuas as well as likely spots to see a polar bear. On Birgerbukta you can see 17th-century Basque ovens once used for cooking whale blubber. The aim next is to visit Ytre Norskøya, a small island that served for many years as a Dutch whaling lookout. Here you can still follow the whalers’ tracks to the summit of the island, passing popular bird cliffs on the way. On shore are the remains of more 17th-century blubber ovens, while Arctic skuas and common eiders breed among the graves of some two hundred Dutch whalers.

Flexible itinerary exploring Spitsbergen Archipelago

Today you start by sailing either to Sorgfjord or Murchison Bay, on the north side of which lies an extensive polar desert that is home to numerous reindeer as well as a Swedish research station. You then continue through Hinlopen Strait, surrounded by lofty ice caps. Over the following days, you may visit the following sites: Lomfjord – This is a beautiful fjord fringed by towering mountains offering a great opportunities for a hike. Wilhelmøya – A tundra landscape in which polar bears can possibly be seen, Wilhelmøya is also a good area for shoreline, inland, and altitude-gaining hikes. Svartknausflya – You may take an excursion to this stark polar desert, which is almost devoid of vegetation but rich with invertebrate fossils and whale skeletons along its raised beaches. Heleysundet – A narrow but picturesque waterway between Spitsbergen and Barents withthis route can only be made against the current. Freemansundet – Depending on conditions, you may also sail through this waterway. A walk at Kapp Lee may introduce you to a few new reindeer and walruses, and you might also visit a large colony of kittiwakes nesting in a canyon in Diskobukta. Arctic foxes and polar bears with their young often roam this canyon, scavenging for birds that fall from the ledges. Sub-fossilized whale bones are scattered across the raised beaches. Hornsund – You continue your Spitsbergen voyage by sailing into the labyrinth of side fjords around Hornsund. At Brepollen rests a large glacial deposit at the head of the fjord. Sailing along the glacier front will afford you good chances of spotting bearded seals and polar bears. The geological formations in this area are vibrant and mesmerizing. Bellsund – En route to Longyearbyen, you may reach Ahlstrandhalvøya. More fascinating geological formations can be seen here, as well as the remains of 20th-century beluga hunting. (This is still a good area to see beluga.) Barentsburg – If time allows you could then pay a visit to Barentsburg, the only inhabited Russian settlement in Spitsbergen. A side option is Colesbukta, an abandoned Russian coal mining settlement.

Disembark Longyearbyen

Disembarkat the Noorderlicht in the morning, where trip concludes.

Additional Information

The island of Spitsbergen is a vast wilderness, which is home to an incredible array of flora and fauna located just some 900kms south of the North Pole. The exhilaration of sighting Polar Bear as they roam the ice in search of food, watching the playful activities of Grey Seals or observing a group of walrus are just some of the highlights found on this voyage. Our small group of 20 passengers will sail aboard the basic but comfortable schooner, the Noorderlicht. Manned by a skilled crew and expert naturalist/expedition leader, this voyage involves some participation with the handling of sails, taking the helm or being on watch during the night. These voyages are dependent on the weather and the sea conditions, therefore the itinerary is only an outline.

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