Day 1: We will embark our vessel in Longyeabyen, in the late afternoon
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 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 with views on Svitjodbreen and Birgerbukta
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: Fuglesangen
In the morning we land at Fuglesangen, where we can sit near the Little Auks. Sailing southwards we visit Magdalenafjorden, one of the most beautiful places on Spitsbergen, with many impressive glacier faces. During a shore visit we will view the remains of 17th century English whaling activities. We can also visit some big seabird colonies particularly noteworthy for their Little Auk.
Day 7: Ny Ålesund
Today we will 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 8: 14th of July Glacier
In the morning we sail from Ny Ålesund to the 14th of July Glacier where we cruise in zodiacs. Not far from the glacier we see a breeding site for Brünnich’s Guillemot, Auk 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.
Day 9: Fuglehuken
On our way south, we will try to make a landing on Fuglehuken, where we see many remains form the Polar Bear hunting era. There are large seabird colonies and a haul out place for harbour seals. Alternatively we land on the coast of Forlandsundet at Engelskbukta or Sarstangen. Occasionally Walrus are hauled out here. The tundra offers some great walking in a beautiful setting.
Day 10: Disembarkation in Longyearbyen
Departure by scheduled flight from Longyearbyen to Oslo.