Sailing from Spitsbergen to Greenland, follow the ice’s edge—always on the lookout for wildlife. Navigating south, explore this remote landscape not only by ship but also on foot and by Zodiac. This journey highlights the contrast and change in the Arctic as you move south, finally ending in the ‘land of fire and ice’, Iceland. Inuit villages, unique wildlife and remote destinations are some of the highlights on this truly unforgettable voyage through the Arctic.
DAY 1 ARRIVE LONGYEARBYEN
Longyearbyen is the largest settlement on archipelago of Svalbard with a population of about 2,060 people and about as many snowmobiles. Our passenger transfer to the ship is at 4:00 pm. But you will need to drop off your checked luggage by 2:00 pm at the JOINING HOTEL's luggage storage room. We depart Longyearbyen in the evening.
Most of the inhabitants are Norwegians and some Russians. Located in the Advent Fjord at the entrance of the Advent Valley, this community has an infrastructure fit for a much larger city. Within the islands, there are 4 inhabited settlements and some scientific stations. Barentsburg, a Russian coal mining settlement, has approximately 850 inhabitants. Sveagruva, the functional Norwegian mine has around 100 inhabitants and Ny Ålesund, a scientific settlement has between 30 and 150 inhabitants, depending on the season. All settlements are found on the west coast, the part of Spitsbergen with the mildest climate due to the warm Gulf Current.Longyearbyen is located at 78°13′N 15°33′E. The Governor of Svalbard resides there. Due to its location far north of the polar circle, it is polar night from mid-October to mid-February and polar day from mid-April to mid-August. Longyearbyen has an arctic tundra climate.
History and present day facilities: The settlement that was founded in 1906 by John Munroe Longyear, main owner of the Arctic Coal Company of Boston. "Byen" is Norwegian for "the city". It was destroyed by the Germans in 1943 and rebuilt after World War II, with the old foundations still visible in some places. Until the early 1990s the coal mining industry was the major employer in Longyearbyen. The daily life circled only around the mining business. Today, the community offers a wide range of activities and facilities. There is a bank, post office, hospital, public library, cafes/restaurants, tourist information, a swimming hall, a climbing wall, a big sports hall, a grocery store, three pubs, three hotels, one church, several tourists shops, there are various forms of lodging, from hostels to modern full-service hotels, a cinema (Sundays) and one night club. During summer, most of the people you meet here will be tourists or young people working to accommodate the visitors. A very friendly and international atmosphere reigns. And, of course, Longyearbyen has its own international airport.
DAY 2-3 WEST COAST OF SPITSBERGEN
We will have 2 full days to explore a small portion of the western coast of Spitsbergen. Entering the fall the days are getting shorter so we will try to take advantage of all of the sunlight possible to search for wildlife. Svalbard is one of the few places on the planet that offers a wealth and diversity of natural and cultural history sites. Highlights include fjords with breathtaking mountain scenery and glaciers flowing into the sea around us. We will spend these two days in search of the elusive polar bears hunting seals. At one or more of our stops, we hope to see Svalbard’s unique subspecies of reindeer. They are much smaller than their southern relatives, but still carry impressive antlers. We also have the possibility of Arctic foxes. This is also a land of history: from whaling to reaching for the pole, to trapping, coal mining and war. We will visit some of these historic sites. We may cruise in Zodiacs along the ice edge viewing seals or walrus, in fjords with glaciers spilling down to the sea. We will have opportunities to walk on shore, observe and photograph the Arctic flora and fauna. As we are in the land of the polar bear, your expedition staff will carry rifles and flare guns on shore for your protection.By not having a set itinerary, we take on an expedition spirit and are free to take advantage of the best that Svalbard has to offer.
DAY 4-5 GREENLAND SEA
Frigid waters escape the Polar Ocean south into the Greenland Sea. This can which are known to feed here in the summer months. We may see Orca, Humpback, and Minke whales as well as White-Beaked dolphins. The view is often complimented by fulmars, kittiwakes, gannets, guillemots, and razorbills. Lectures by our on board Expedition Staff will increase your appreciation of these animals and the wild coast of Greenland.
DAY 6-12 NORTH EAST GREENLAND NATIONAL PARK AND SCORESBY SUND
We hope to sail through and land in some of the most spectacular fjord country in the world along down the coast of Greenland, as we will explore rarely visited glaciers, bays and inlets. This is the largest National Park in the world, nearly impossible to reach except on Expedition ships, such as the MS Expedition. Spectacular geology combined with glacial features create steep mountains raising directly from the sea. Looking out for picturesque scenery, wildlife and other interesting landing sites in this unspoiled wilderness. We will spend 2 days exploring Scoresby Sund, which is one of the largest fjord systems in the world. The distance from the mouth of the sound to the head of its innermost fjord is 350 km. It is a favoured hunting ground of the Inuit and is home to walruses, seals, narwhals, polar bears, muskoxen, wolves, foxes, ermine, arctic hares, lemmings, and a variety of birds. We hope to visit the local village of Ittoqqortoormiit to get a glimpse into how people live in these harsh conditions.
DAY 13-14 DENMARK STRAIT
We continue our lecture series as we head back towards Iceland and to the steaming hot springs of Reykjavik.
DAY 15 DEPART REYKJAVIK
A one-time complimentary airport transfer to Keflavik International Airport (KEF) will be offered for all guests regardless of their departure flight details. This airport transfer departs immediately after disembarkation is complete. Passengers heading to the Hotel Loftleidir should also board the same transfer since it will make a drop off there before heading to KEF airport. Luggage storage up until 14:00 will be available for all other guests.
While it is our intention to adhere to the route described, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission. Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.