This 13 day tour takes us on a cruise from Spitsbergen along the East coast of Greenland arriving in our final destination Iceland. Which has the smallest population of any continent in the world. Board the Ortelius in Longyearbyen and cruise along the East coast of Greenland stopping in Scoresby Sund, where there are an abundance of Glaciers, Ice formations, and arctic Wildlife. We then arrive at our final destination, Iceland, where we board our out return flight home.
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, while in the country around the village more than 100 species of plant have been recorded. In the early evening the ship will sail out of Isfjorden.
We 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 a surprisingly rich vegetation. We have good chances to see Polar Bears, for instance near Hamilton Glacier, or more to the head of the fjord. From there we continue to Moffen island on which Walrus haul out. If we have not seen bears on this day we may spend an other day in Liefdefjord near the Monaco glacier, where we also often see bears.
At sea, on our way to Greenland, along 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 we will attempt to sail through the sea ice into Foster Bugt, making our 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 and Arctic Hares. The small lakes are home to geese.
We sail through Kaiser Franz Joseph Fjord, a magnificent fjord with towering mountains on both sides, its inner reaches choked with huge icebergs and an excellent place to encounter Narwhal. An alternative is Sofia Sund, which is much narrower, and where we can see Muskoxen from the ship.
We will 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 with young. In the afternoon we sail along Teufelschloss and Ella Ö and maye land at a beautiful spot in the early evening
The first half of the day we spend in Antarcticahavn, a wide and extensive valley where we also could see groups of Musk Oxen. At this time of year the autumnal colours of the sparse vegetation make the landscapes even more beautiful.
Today we reach the Scoresby Sund and sail in the morning along the ragged and glaciated Volquart Boons Coast, a good place for seeing Narwhal. Here we may organise a zodiac cruise along one of the glacier fronts of this coast, and have our first landing near a glacier. Later we land on Danmarks Ø where there are 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 grave sites. In the evening we continue our sailing through the beautiful fjords to the west, choked with icebergs.
We go ashore at Cape Hofmann Halvø, a reliable spot for viewing Musk Oxen. We 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 colour. Arctic Blueberry and Crowberry add their own colourful touch - the berries are tasty too!
Later, during a Zodiac cruise along the 3km wide face of the Eielson Glacier, we will come close to huge icebergs and may also see Ringed Seals, as well as distant views of Musk Oxen on shore. In the evening we sail through the fjord towards Scoresby Land, hoping to see Narwhal again and enjoying the contrast between the warm autumnal colours of the vegetation on shore, backed by huge dark mountains, and the cold blue of the icebergs.
In Northwest fjord in Scoresby Land in the morning, we encounter huge icebergs, some over 100m high and more than a kilometre in length. Most of the bergs are grounded as the fjord is only about 400m deep here. We 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. We may also land at Gurreholm on Jameson Land. The landscape here is gently undulating, but the climate is harsh - sometimes snow lies throughout the summer - but some animals - Musk Oxen and Collared Lemmings - survive on the meagre vegetation.
In the morning we land at a lagoon near Kap Stewart and walk from there to Kap Stewart, following the banks of a winding river through an autumnal tundra. In the afternoon we land at Illoqqortoormiut, the biggest settlement in the Scoresby Sund with about 500 inhabitants. At the post office you can buy stamps for your postcards, or just wander around to see the sledge dogs and the drying skins of Seal, Musk Ox and Polar Bear. After dinner we will sail south passing the amazing landscape of the Blosseville Coast.
We are the whole day at sea and will have splendid opportunities to see large whales and seabird migration and, in the night, the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights).
Arrive in Akureyri (North Iceland) and transfer for the flight home, or take a bus to Reykjavik.
* Itinerary may be subject to change
|Per Person USD|
Rates Arctic 2014
Polar Bear Special - 83 Degrees North
Photography, Kayak, Snowshoe
All activities and workshops included
Rates are per person, based on twin-share. Single Supplement for twin cabins is 1.7 times the twin rate. Mandatory Emergency Evacuation insurance is required on all trips. There is always a possibility of an added fuel surcharge if marine oil prices raise significantly.