Around Spitsbergen: Noorderlicht

Svalbard

In July the summer has arrived, the midnight sun reigns supreme and the purple saxifrage decorates the slopes. The ice is slowly starting to loosen its grip, which offers good opportunities to explore the seldom visited eastern parts of the archipelago. Later in August the sun is closer to the horizon, giving us beautiful sunsets and a warm light, perfect for photography. With ten nights on board we have plenty of time for grand nature experiences and wildlife encounters

  • Look out for Arctic wildlife such as whales, seals, walrus and polar bears
  • Sail in the Far North, just 540 miles from the North Pole
  • Myriad of birdlife and spectacular seabird cliff colonies
  • Excitement of Sailing on a magnificent schooner
  • Admire the glaciers and mountains of Svalbard

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.

Stewart's Take

A Full Spitsbergen Circumnavigation by Sail!

Overview

In July the summer has arrived, the midnight sun reigns supreme and the purple saxifrage decorates the slopes. The ice is slowly starting to loosen its grip, which offers good opportunities to explore the seldom visited eastern parts of the archipelago. Later in August the sun is closer to the horizon, giving us beautiful sunsets and a warm light, perfect for photography. With ten nights on board we have plenty of time for grand nature experiences and wildlife encounters.
Day 1: Longyearbyen You touch down in Longyearbyen, the administrative center of Spitsbergen, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago. Enjoy strolling around this former mining town, whose parish church and Svalbard Museum make for fascinating attractions. Though the countryside appears stark, more than a hundred species of plant have been recorded in it. In the early evening the ship sails out of Isfjorden, where you might spot the first minke whale of your voyage. In the evening you sail for Trygghamna, where you see the remains of a 17th-century English whaling station and 18th-century Pomor hunting station, both of which you can visit the next morning. Day 2: Foxes, seabirds, and grazing reindeer From Trygghamna you walk to Alkhornet, a large seabird cliff where the birds are scouting out breeding places. Below the cliffs is a common place to spot Arctic foxes, and you may also see reindeer grazing on the lush vegetation if there’s not too much snow. Day 3: Remains of the whalers You sail into Fuglefjorden amid views of Svitjodbreen and Birgerbukta, both breeding areas for great skuas as well as likely spots to see a polar bear. On Birgerbukta you can see 17th-century Basque ovens once used for cooking whale blubber. The aim next is to visit Ytre Norskøya, a small island that served for many years as a Dutch whaling lookout. Here you can still follow the whalers’ tracks to the summit of the island, passing popular bird cliffs on the way. On shore are the remains of more 17th-century blubber ovens, while Arctic skuas and common eiders breed among the graves of some two hundred Dutch whalers. Day 4 – 15: The many sights of Svalbard Today you start by sailing either to Sorgfjord or Murchison Bay, on the north side of which lies an extensive polar desert that is home to numerous reindeer as well as a Swedish research station. You then continue through Hinlopen Strait, surrounded by lofty ice caps. Over the following days, you may visit the following sites: Lomfjord This is a beautiful fjord fringed by towering mountains offering a great opportunities for a hike. Wilhelmøya A tundra landscape in which polar bears can possibly be seen, Wilhelmøya is also a good area for shoreline, inland, and altitude-gaining hikes. Svartknausflya You may take an excursion to this stark polar desert, which is almost devoid of vegetation but rich with invertebrate fossils and whale skeletons along its raised beaches. Heleysundet A narrow but picturesque waterway between Spitsbergen and Barents withthis route can only be made against the current. Freemansundet Depending on conditions, you may also sail through this waterway. A walk at Kapp Lee may introduce you to a few new reindeer and walruses, and you might also visit a large colony of kittiwakes nesting in a canyon in Diskobukta. Arctic foxes and polar bears with their young often roam this canyon, scavenging for birds that fall from the ledges. Sub-fossilized whale bones are scattered across the raised beaches. Hornsund You continue your Spitsbergen voyage by sailing into the labyrinth of side fjords around Hornsund. At Brepollen rests a large glacial deposit at the head of the fjord. Sailing along the glacier front will afford you good chances of spotting bearded seals and polar bears. The geological formations in this area are vibrant and mesmerizing. Bellsund En route to Longyearbyen, you may reach Ahlstrandhalvøya. More fascinating geological formations can be seen here, as well as the remains of 20th-century beluga hunting. (This is still a good area to see beluga.) Barentsburg If time allows you could then pay a visit to Barentsburg, the only inhabited Russian settlement in Spitsbergen. A side option is Colesbukta, an abandoned Russian coal mining settlement. Day 11: Longyearbyen Every adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. You disembark in Longyearbyen, taking home memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies. Note All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on local ice, weather, and wildlife conditions. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises. Willingness to compromise on comfort is a basic requirement on board a historic sailing vessel. Important information about the sailing program: The boat is equipped with sails to be used in good conditions (based on open sea, water depth, wind, and time). This is not guaranteed. The captain decides whether to use the sails or the engine. There is no claim to one or the other propulsion method. If sails are used, the crew operates them. Guests follow the safety instructions of the team. Average cruising speed for s/v Noorderlicht 6 knots.

S/Y 'Noorderlicht'

SY NoorderlichtExperience the charm and adventure of yesteryear and travel by wind power on this well-balanced two-masted schooner! Explore remarkable areas of the world and experience a style of adventure travel totally unlike other ships.

The ‘Noorderlicht’ was originally built in 1910 in Flensburg, Germany as a three-masted schooner. For most of her existence she served as a light-vessel on the Baltic. In 1991 the present owners purchased the hull and re-rigged and refitted her tho- roughly, under the rules of “Register Holland”. The ‘Noorderlicht’ now has a well-balanced two-masted schooner rig and is capable of sailing the seven seas. The qualified captains have a great experience of the oceans. Together with the rest of the crew, they will do everything possible to ensure that you have a wonderful and unforgettable journey.

For full information about this vessel click here:


Included
  • Voyage aboard the indicated vessel as indicated in the itinerary
  • All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea.
  • All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac.
  • Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff.
  • Free use of snow shoes.
  • Transfers and baggage handling between airport and ship in Greenland harbours on the chartered group flights.
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the programme.
  • AECO fees and governmental taxes.
  • Comprehensive pre-departure material.
Excluded
  • Any airfare, whether on scheduled or charter flights
  • Pre- and post- land arrangements.
  • Passport and visa expenses.
  • Government arrival and departure taxes.
  • Meals ashore.
  • Baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (which is mandatory).
  • Excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar, beverage charges and telecommunication charges.
  • The customary gratuity at the end of the voyages for stewards and other service personnel aboard (guidelines will be provided).
Rates, Share and Sole Use policy All rates are quoted per person, based on shared occupancy. If you are travelling alone and wish to share, you will be matched with another person of the same gender at the shared rate. Deposits Reservations require a deposit of 20% at the time you receive a booking confirmation from Expeditions Online. A payment link will be sent to you and this may be paid by major credit card. Bookings within 60 days of departure require full payment. Final Payments Balances are due 60 days prior to departure. Cancellations All requests for cancellation must be received in writing to Expeditions Online. Cancellations received 90 days or more prior to departure, are refunded less a fee of 20 % of the total price. If cancellation is received between 89 days and 60 days prior to departure, are refunded less a fee of 50 % of the total price. If cancellation occurs less than 59 days up to and including the day of departure: 100 % of the total price. If full payment has not yet been received, the full penalty will still apply and any unpaid balance is due immediately. We strongly recommend that you obtain adequate trip cancellation insurance. Booking Terms Please read carefully the General Booking Conditions for Expeditions Online. This voyage is operated by Oceanwide Expeditions and you additionally travel under their terms and conditions as the operator as well as of the Shipping Company/transport carrier. Details will be forwarded to you at the time of booking.
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