A rare and amazing chance to explore Spitsbergen in the Spring and early summer with its pristine snowy landscapes and burgeoning birdlife. Sail on a historic schooner and sense the thrill of a real Arctic adventure.
Day 1: Embark in Longyeabyen 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. Embark in the afternoon and 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. Day 2: Alkhornet From Trygghamna we walk to Alkhornet a large seabird cliff, where the birds are prospecting their breeding places. Below the cliffs is a den of Arctic Fox, and Reindeer graze on the lush vegetation. In Forlandsundet we visit a haul out place of Walrus at Poolepynten if sea conditions allows, or at Sarstangen. Day 3: Fuglefjorden Today we sail into Fuglefjorden with views on Svitjodbreen and Birgerbukta, with breeding places for Great Skuas and good chances for bears. In Birgerbukta we find blubber ovens of the Basques. We will try to visit Ytre Norskøya, a small island which was used for many years as a lookout point for Dutch whalers. There we can still follow their tracks to the summit of the island, passing excellent bird cliffs on the way. On shore the remains of 17th century blubber ovens can be found, while Arctic Skua and Common Eider breed among the graves of 200 Dutch whalers. Day 4: Raudfjord Raudfjord on the north coast of Spitsbergen is a beautiful fjord with spectacular glaciers. It is also a favourite with Ringed and Bearded Seal, has good seabird colonies, and offers good chances for spotting Polar Bear and Beluga. Jermaktangen, at the fjord’s eastern entrance, is a geography lesson in the erosion of the land by the sea. Day 5: Reindyrsflya If sea-ice conditions allow, we may land on the northern-side of Reindyrsflya, the largest tundra area of Spitsbergen. The vast undulating plain is a good grazing area for reindeer and several species of waders also breed here. The area’s lakes offer good chances of spotting Red-throated Diver and King Eider. Alternatively we land at Fuglesangen, where we can sit among the Little Auks. Day 6: 14th of July Glacier In the morning we are at the 14th of July Glacier. Not far from the glacier we see a breeding site for Brünnich’s Guillemot, Razorbill and Puffin. The guano of these bird colonies, the southward exposure and the sheltered situation, give rise to a relatively rich vegetation with many species of flowering plants. In the afternoon we sail to Ossian Sarsfjellet, where we can observe the Kittiwakes and Brünnich’s Guillemots on the cliffs at close quarters. Alternatively we visit Ny Ålesund, the northernmost permanently inhabited village in the world, a centre for polar research and a former starting point for many North Pole expeditions (Amundsen and Nobile for example). Barnacle Goose, Pink-footed Goose, Common Eider, Arctic Tern and several species of wader can be seen at close quarters. The reindeers here are smaller than their mainland relatives and do not form large herds. Day 7: Gipsvika deep inside Isfjorden In the morning we find ourselves on Bohemanflya an extensive tundra area with its own avifauna and spectacular geological formations along the coast. At Gipsvika deep inside Isfjorden we will go ashore near the majestic cliff of Templet. It is a stunning area with spectacular mountains eroded into shape in the sedimentary rock from the Upper Carboniferous created around 290 million years ago. Day 8: Longyearbyen Our final morning, we will disembark the ship in the morning in Longyearbyen Departure by scheduled flight from Longyearbyen to Oslo. PLEASE NOTE: A typical itinerary to North Spitsbergen is illustrated right. All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on local ice and weather conditions, the availability of landing sites and opportunities to see wildlife. The final itinerary will be determined by the Expedition Leader on board. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises.
‘Rembrandt Van Rijn’ was built as a herring lugger early last century. The vessel was rebuilt as a three-mast passenger sailing schooner in he Netherlands in 1994 and sailed in Spitsbergen (1994 – 1996) and in Galápagos (1998 - 2001). The vessel underwent a complete rebuilding and refurbishment program until 2011. The communication and navigation equipment has been completely renewed according to the latest SOLAS regulations.
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