North Spitsbergen Arctic Summer: Noorderlicht

Svalbard

At the end of a long Arctic winter, spring is starting to awaken. The climate, however, still clings to the cold: snow-covered mountains, snow-swept shores, temperatures around –4° C (25°F). It’s a good time to experience the last of winter scenery, and with a little luck, and look for polar bears, walruses, and seals. Bird Note: It is still somewhat quiet on the cliffs, as this time of year the cliff-nesting birds are only just picking out their places for breeding, which happens later in June

  • 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

Experience the Arctic Spring and early Summer with this sailing adventure!

Overview

At the end of a long Arctic winter, spring is starting to awaken. The climate, however, still clings to the cold: snow-covered mountains, snow-swept shores, temperatures around –4° C (25°F). It’s a good time to experience the last of winter scenery, and look for some polar bears, walruses, and seals. Bird Note: It is still somewhat quiet on the cliffs, as this time of year the cliff-nesting birds are only just picking out their places for breeding, which happens later in June.
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: Glaciers and Ermaktangen geology Raudfjorden, on the north coast of Spitsbergen, is a fine place for gazing over the glaciers. It’s also a favorite hangout for ringed and bearded seals, colonies of seabird, and the occasional polar bear and beluga whale. Ermaktangen, at the fjordh coast of Spitsbergen, is a fine place for gazing over the glof the land. Day 5: Wide open tundra If ice conditions permit, you may land on the northern side of Reindyrsflya, the largest tundra area of Spitsbergen. This vast and rolling plain is a popular grazing area for reindeer, and several species of waders also breed here. Similarly, the lakes afford you a good chance of spotting red-throated divers and king eiders. Day 6: The massive Monaco Glacier Depending on the weather, you could sail into Liefdefjorden and cruise within sight of the 5-kilometer-long (3.1 miles) face of the precipitous Monaco Glacier. The waters in front of this glacier are a favorite feeding spot for thousands of kittiwakes, and the base of the ice is a popular polar bear hunting ground. If ice conditions prevent sailing here early in the season, an alternate route along the west coast of Spitsbergen can be implemented. Day 7: On to the little auks In the morning you land at Fuglesangen, where you can observe spirited communities of little auks. You then sail south to Magdalenafjorden, one of the glacier-filled highlights of Spitsbergen. A shore visit shows you the remains of 17th-century English whaling, and you can also see more large colonies of little auks. Day 8: Earth’s northernmost community You head north for Kongsfjorden and Krossfjorden. The landscape is likely to show signs of winter, the crags and slopes still blanketed with snow. Here there are rich opportunities for snowshoeing – we provide the snowshoes – and visiting places of historic interest: Ny London, where you can see the remains of early 20th-century marble mining, and Ny Ålesund, the northernmost community in the world. There are also research stations and the famous anchor mast of the dirigible Norge, which took the first flight across the North Pole to Nome, Alaska in 1926. Krossfjorden offers views of colossal glaciers and lofty mountain peaks, but ultimately the extent of fjord ice dictates the itinerary here. Day 9: The past days of polar bear hunting On your journey south, the goal is a landing at Fuglehuken. Here you see remains from the great era of polar bear hunting. There are also large seabird colonies and a haul-out spot for harbour seals. Alternatively you could land on the coast of Forlandsundet, at Engelskbukta or Sarstangen. Walruses are occasionally seen here, and the tundra is a fine place for a walk. Day 10: Wide tundra, towering mountains The next stop is Bohemanflya, an expansive tundra with its own avifauna (depending on when spring arrives) and spectacular geological formations along the coast. In Gipsvika you can go on shore near Templet, a mountainous location of eroded sedimentary rock from the Upper Carboniferous period – around 290 million years ago. 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.
Booking Request
Back To Top

Expeditions Online Newsletter

Sign up to be an Expeditions Online insider and receive info on exclusive deals, discounts and more!