This extended North Spitsbergen voyage includes two extra days to explore PLUS lots of adventure activities - Kayaking, Photography Workshops, Snowshoe and Hiking plus Trekking. ALL FREE on this departure!
Arrive in Longyearbyen, the administrative capital of the Spitsbergen archipelago of which West Spitsbergen is the largest island. Before embarking there is an opportunity to stroll around this former mining town, whose parish church and Polar Museum are well worth visiting, while in the surrounds of Longyearbyen, more than 100 species of plant have been recorded. In the early evening the ship will sail out of Isfjorden.
Heading north along the west coast, we arrive by morning in Krossfjorden, where we take to the Zodiacs for an exhilarating cruise along the sculpted front of the 14th of July Glacier. On the surprisingly fertile slopes near the glacier, a colourful variety of flowers bloom, while large numbers of Kittiwakes and Brünnich’s Guillemots nest on the nearby cliffs. There is also a good chance of spotting opportunistic Arctic Foxes, patrolling the base of the cliffs in case a hapless chick falls from its nest, and Bearded Seals, who cruise this scenic fjord. In the afternoon we sail to Ny Ålesund, the world’s most northerly settlement. Once a mining village - served by the world’s most northerly railway, which can still be seen - Ny Ålesund is now a research centre. Close to the village is a breeding ground for Barnacle Geese, Pink-footed Geese and Arctic Terns. Visitors interested in the history of Arctic exploration will want to walk to the anchoring mast used by Amundsen and Nobile in the airship Norge in 1926 and Nobile in the airship Italia in 1928 before their flights to the North Pole.
On the offshore island of Ytre Norskøya, we visit a 17th century Dutch whaling site, whose large graveyard is a reminder of the hardships and dangers of life here at that time. The island’s bird life is prolific, with colonies of Little Auk, Black Guillemot, Brünnich’s Guillemot, Puffins and Arctic Skua accessible to visitors. Eastward, we visit Raudfjord on the north coast of West Spitsbergen, a beautiful fjord dominated by spectacular glaciers and favoured by Ringed and Bearded Seal. The cliffs and shoreline of the fjord also support thriving seabird colonies and a surprisingly rich vegetation, which flourishes in sheltered spots.
We will be the whole day in the Raudfjord system, with ample opportunities for kayaking and hiking (with or without snowshoes) on short or long walks (easy, moderate and challenging hikes are on offer).
Depending on the weather we may now sail to the mouth of Liefdefjorden and go ashore for a walk on the tundra island of Andøya. Many Common Eider and Pink-footed Goose nest here, and the rarer King Eider may also be seen. We hope to sail into Liefdefjorden, cruising near the 5 km long face of the impressive Monaco Glacier. The waters of the glacier front are a favourite feeding spot for thousands of Kittiwake and on previous voyages Polar Bear have been seen on the glacier, providing wonderful opportunities for photography. The whole day we will have good opportunities for kayaking, and short (easy) to longer (moderate to challenging) hikes (with or without snowshoes).
At Bockfjord there are warm water springs with colourful sediments, close to the shore and about 10 km inland. There we can climb a volcano which erupted some thousands of years ago. This is about the warmest area of Spitsbergen with stands of Cassiope and Dryas vegetation. The shores of Woodfjord are littered with hundreds of large timber logs from Siberia. Another day full of Basecamp activities: kayaking and hiking!
Today we will sail into Hinlopen Strait, home to Bearded Seal, Ringed Seal, Polar Bear, and Ivory Gull. We’ll navigate the ice floes of Lomfjordshalvøya in our zodiacs and explore the bird cliffs of Alkefjellet with thousands of Brünnich’s Guillemot. On the east side of Hinlopenstrait, we’ll attempt a landing at Palanderbukta on Nordaustlandet, home to reindeer, Pink-footed Goose, breeding Ivory Gull, and Walrus.
Today we will reach our northernmost point at Phippsøya, in the Seven Islands north of Nordaustlandet. Here we will be at 81 degrees north, just 540 miles from the geographic North Pole. Polar Bear inhabit this region, along with Ivory Gull. We may sit for several hours in the pack ice, taking in our spectacular surroundings and perhaps seeing a Ross Gull, before we turn south again.
We land at the northern tip of Prins Karls Forland near Fuglehuken, where Barentsz probably set foot on Spitsbergen for the first time. Seabirds nest on the cliffs and along the coast we see Harbour Seal, the only population found in Spitsbergen. Further we also will observe the remains of the Polar Bear hunting era, with demolished set guns and bear traps. At the opposite site of Forlandsundet at Sarstangen is a haul out place for Walrus. Alternatively we sail into St. Johns Fjord or south to the mouth of Isfjorden and land at Alkhornet. Seabirds nest on its cliffs and Arctic Fox search the cliff base for fallen eggs and chicks, while Spitsbergen Reindeer graze the relatively luxuriant vegetation. The reindeer may seem unbothered by human presence, but this is not really the case. The animals must survive the harsh winter, when temperatures plummet and food is hard to find, so they preserve what energy they can, fleeing only when it is absolutely necessary. In the afternoon we cruise through beautiful Borebukta, following a glacier front before continuing to Longyearbyen.
Return to Longyearbyen and disembark for the transfer to the airport and the flight to Oslo and home.
* Itinerary may be subject to change
|Per Person USD|
Rates Arctic 2014
Photography, Kayak, Snowshoe
All free on this trip!
German Speaking Only Trip
Extra Day - Kvitoya
Single Supplement available on all cabins at 1.7x the twin-share prices listed. All rates are quoted per person in US Dollar, based on twin occupancy. 5% Discount will be granted for bookings for one or more consecutive voyages. Please note that all dates & rates are subject to change. All voyages will operate subject to a minimum of 70 participants on the Plancius.
Kayaking Supplement $360, Snowshoe/Hiking - Free of Charge
Adventure options must be pre-booked and paid for prior to start of the trip. Space is subject to availability. Some activities require experience.
All trips subject to possible fuel surcharge.