This is a 12 day tour that takes us from Northern Scotland all the way to Spitsbergen. Board the Ortelius in Vlissingen and cruise directly north crossing the North Sea. Along the way to the Shetlands keep and eye out for Orcas, as this is one of their favorite hunting grounds. We will also begin to see polar bears, the largest terrestrial carnivore on the planet.
In Hansweert (The Netherlands) passengers will board the ship at mid-day.
We cross the North Sea.
Arrive in Aberdeen, famed as the Granite City and many times a winner of the Britain in Bloom competition, and embark on our trip. The lighthouse on Girdle Ness to the south as the North Sea is reached, was designed by the grandfather of Robert Louis Stevenson.
More passengers will board the ship in Aberdeen.
The Scottish waters offer excellent possibilities to spot Minke Whales, White-beaked Dolphins and Harbor Porpoises. Several other cetaceans, including Orcas (Killer Whales), are also native to these waters.
At Fair Isle, in the Shetlands, we are welcomed by the 70 or so inhabitants (famed for their knitwear, examples of which we will see) to be followed by a walk to the bird observatory. Later, on Mousa, one of the smaller Shetland Islands, we visit one of the best preserved brochs in Scotland. Brochs are circular stone towers probably built by the Picts. During a night excursion we will watch thousands of Storm Petrels return to their burrows or crevices.
By day we view Grey Seals, Black Guillemots, Red-throated Divers, Arctic Skuas and a wonderful Spring Flora.
We sail north to the Norwegian island of Jan Mayen, situated 300 nautical miles north-east of Iceland. During our two days at sea there will be plenty of time to watch for the blow of a Minke, Fin or Blue Whale, which could herald a rewarding encounter with these gentle giants. Perhaps we might run into a pod of Orcas, who can often be quite curious about boats such as ours.
Jan Mayen is a volcanic island of breathtaking beauty and mystique, dominated by Mt Beerenberg. From the slopes of the 2300m volcano, impressive glaciers spill into the sea. Until recently, the island was off-limits as it is a military base, and was rarely visited by tourists, but with permission from the Norwegian authorities we hope to visit the weather station. We will also walk across the island to Kvalrossbukta to look at the remains of a 17th century Dutch whaling station and a substantial colony of Fulmars. We also plan to sail by Koksletta where thousands of Little Auks and Brünnich's Guillemots breed close to a glacier, watched over by Glaucous Gulls.
In the midnight sun we sail north along the edge of the sea-ice, looking out for different species of whales, dolphins, seals and a variety of seabirds, until the sea-ice stops us, then we will sail to North Spitsbergen.
Depending on the position of the sea-ice, we sail into Raudfjord or one of the other fjords in Northwest Spitsbergen, where we have chances of seeing Polar Bears at the heads of the fjords, where seals are sunbathing on the fjord-ice. At Fuglesangen we have an opportunity to see thousands of Little Auks on their breeding grounds.
Fuglehuken, the northern tip of Prince Karls Forland is probably the place where Willem Barentsz made the first landing in Spitsbergen. It is an area with beautiful seabird colonies and many remains of the Polar Bear hunting period of a century ago. Later we will look for Walrus at Sarstangen, Engelskmansbukta or Poole-Pynten. In the evening we could land at Alkhornet another seabird colony, where at the slopes we can find reindeer and Arctic Fox.
We disembark in Longyearbyen, the administrative centre of Spitsbergen, for flights south to Oslo and onward home.
* 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.