10 Nights North Spitsbergen, Arctic Summer

10 Nights North Spitsbergen, Arctic Summer

$4,500.00Price

The sailing expeditions in Spitsbergen will be carried out by the sailing vessels Noorderlicht and Rembrandt van Rijn. These beautiful vessels will bring you to the remotest places around Spitsbergen. Sailing northwards we visit Magdalenafjord, 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.

  • Note: please scroll down the page and click on 'Prices and Departures'  for departure dates, cabin types and prices.

     

     

    For departures on Rembrandt van Rijn -

     

    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.

     

     

    For Departures on Noorderlicht -

     

    Day 1: Embarkation in Longyearbyen

    You will arrive at the small airport of Longyearbyen, located about 15 minutes drive from the centre of the small town. Longyearbyen is the largest inhabited settlement in Spitsbergen and the world’s most northerly inhabited town with more than 1000 inhabitants. If you have the opportunity, it is an absolute must to visit the Svalbard museum. Here you can delve into the history of the island, the coal mining industry, the wealth of unique polar animal species, scientific developments and the many polar expeditions. After your visit, you can take a walk into the former mining town where you will find several shops offering a collection of unique Arctic products and souvenirs. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, which preserves the global variety of agricultural crops, is also located neaby. Our sailing ship Noorderlicht will be waiting for you at the so-called ‘floating pier' where you can embark from 16:00. After a welcome from the captain, the mooring lines will be cast off and you will receive a comprehensive safety briefing from the crew. Afterwards you will enjoy a delicious first dinner on board, while the ship sets course towards Trygghamna bay, where it will anchor for the night. The name Trygghamna comes from the original Dutch name 'safe harbor', because of its sheltered and safe anchorage possibilities.

     

    Day 2: Visit to seabird cliff Alkhornet
    After a healthy breakfast, you will be asked to prepare for the first zodiac landing in Trygghamna, where you can see the remains of a 17th century English whaling station and a 18th century hunting station of the Pomor (Russian hunters). From here we will hike to the 428-meter high Alkhornet cliff, where some 10,000 pairs of different seabirds breed. The cliffs are composed of carbonate rock, which is more than a billion years old. The tundra at the bottom of the cliff receives nutrients from the sea birds and provides meadows for reindeer, nesting sites for geese and shelter for Arctic foxes. Therefore, this location is very suitable for spotting these animals as well as polar bears. After everyone is safely back on board, we will, if the wind is favourable to us, hoist the sails towards the Forlandsundet strait. This beautiful strait is located between the main island of Spitsbergen and the island of Prins Karls Forlandet. This island was, with its 1084 meter high mountain Monacofjellet, one of the first parts, perhaps even the first land, that was seen by Willem Barentsz in 1596. At the bay Grimaldibukta we will anchor for the night. At Murraypynten we hope to make a landing to admire the walrus colonies often present here. From the hills you have a beautiful panoramic view of the rugged mountain and glacial landscape of Spitsbergen and the flat landscape at the foot of the mountain makes it wonderful and easy to walk.

     

    Day 3: Bird cliff Fuglehuken & the gem Magdalena Fjord

    In the morning we will leave Grimaldibukta to continue in a northerly direction and continue to sail in the Forlandsundet. Histocally, the northern part of the strait has always been a fear to many whalers, because of the Forlandsrevet sandbar. Willem Barentsz called this northern part the ' Forlandsundet Keerwyck ', because they had to turn at the sandbank for the shallows. Due to its shallow draft, the Noorderlicht is one of the few ships that can navigate these waters although the crew will need full concentration. In the meantime, do not forget to keep an eye out for large groups of walruses that can often be found at Sarstangen and Poolepynten! They form a beautiful scene with panoramic mountains in the background that cameras love.

     

    If the weather permits we sail to Fuglehuken, the northernmost tip of Prins Karls Forlandet. Willem Barentsz is said to have set foot ashore here in June 1596 as the first traveller to Spitsbergen. Large numbers of guillemots and kittiwakes nest here on the steep cliffs and here we also find graves of whalers. After the hike, we will sail further north to the breath-taking blue-green bay of the Magdalenafjord, one of the most impressive fjords in Spitsbergen. This fjord, on the northwest corner of Spitsbergen, was first discovered and named by Willem Barentsz. With rugged and pointed mountain peaks and impressive glaciers you find yourself here in a small Arctic paradise. In the mouth of the inlet, at Graveneset, roughly 160 graves from whalers from the 17th and 18th century are found between the remains of two furnaces which were used to boil the blubber of the whales.

     

    Day 4: Center of the Dutch whaling industry: Smeerenburg

    As we sail further north we come across the island of AmsterdamØya, where we can get a good insight into the 17th century whaling. Here you will find Smeerenburg, a former settlement of Dutch whalers that grew into the center of Dutch whaling in the period from 1617 - 1646. The settlement consisted of warehouses, homes and a blacksmith shop. Horseshoe shaped ovens were used to boil the blubber of the whales, to extract oil which was used for soap and fuel for lamps. Today, little can be seen of the activities that took place 400 years ago. Remains of blubber ovens, tombs and houses can still be found here and there. After landing you will receive an extensive lecture on whaling in Smeerenburg and the ship will move to Sallyhamna where we will find anchorage for the night. In this area, full of shallow spots, polar bears have been spotted frequently so keep your binoculars at hand!

     

    Day 5: The Zeeuwsche uitkijck & 'Spitse bergen’

    Today we plan a landing near Ytre NorkskØya where we hopefully can land at the' Zeeuwsche Uitkijck. Here in 1617, whalers from Zeeland built a blubber cookery and were able to keep a good lookout over the sea for whales from the highest point of the island. Here we can follow the historical route to the 150 meter high peak of the island, the Utkiken. On the coast remains of the blubber furnaces and the graves of Dutch whalers can still be found, very well preserved in the frozen subsoil. When we sail south again to Virgohamna, we can clearly see why Willem Barentsz used the name Spitsbergen for the land he discovered. The steep mountains with sharp peaks in this area are the most striking of all of Spitsbergen! Our goal is Virgohamna, where a Harlinger blubber cookery can be found on the Danish island. Since there was no place for merchants from Stavoren and Harlingen at the blubber cookery in Smeerenburg, they built the ‘Harlingertraankokerij’ in 1636 on the adjacent ‘Deenseiland’. By this time, the whale population was already declining significantly, which meant that the activities of the ‘Harlingertraankokerij’ had already ended after 10 years. The remains of the blubber ovens, associated buildings and some graves from the whaling era are still visible.

     

    Day 5: The Zeeuwsche uitkijck & 'Spitse bergen’

    Today we plan a landing near Ytre NorkskØya where we hopefully can land at the' Zeeuwsche Uitkijck. Here in 1617, whalers from Zeeland built a blubber cookery and were able to keep a good lookout over the sea for whales from the highest point of the island. Here we can follow the historical route to the 150 meter high peak of the island, the Utkiken. On the coast remains of the blubber furnaces and the graves of Dutch whalers can still be found, very well preserved in the frozen subsoil. When we sail south again to Virgohamna, we can clearly see why Willem Barentsz used the name Spitsbergen for the land he discovered. The steep mountains with sharp peaks in this area are the most striking of all of Spitsbergen! Our goal is Virgohamna, where a Harlinger blubber cookery can be found on the Danish island. Since there was no place for merchants from Stavoren and Harlingen at the blubber cookery in Smeerenburg, they built the ‘Harlingertraankokerij’ in 1636 on the adjacent ‘Deenseiland’. By this time, the whale population was already declining significantly, which meant that the activities of the ‘Harlingertraankokerij’ had already ended after 10 years. The remains of the blubber ovens, associated buildings and some graves from the whaling era are still visible.

     

    Day 6: The glaciers of the Kongsfjord and Krossfjord

    The next morning we sail to the beautiful Kongfjord and Krossfjord where we will be greeted by the towering face of the “14th July” glacier. Bearded seals often lie to rest on the broken ice floes, and near the glacier we may find breeding colonies of black-billed guillemots, kittiwakes and puffins. 

     

    These fjords in particular feature the historical heritage of the English. In the early years of whaling, the English and the Dutch made an agreement in which they divided the whaling areas among themselves. The English obtained the right to hunt south of the Magdalenafjord and the Dutch were granted control over the northwestern corner of Spitsbergen.

     

    We may be able to organize a landing on the Blomstrandhalvoya peninsula, where the remains of a marble mine can be seen at Ny London. From this location we also have a beautiful view of the Tre Kroner, the three iconic mountain peaks that shine through the ice cap. Alternatively, in bad weather conditions, we can visit the former mining town of Ny Alesund. Ny Alesund is the world's most northerly settlement and today a renowned polar research center . The special bond of the Netherlands with Spitsbergen is honoured here by the Arctic center of the University of Groningen. They use a number of buildings here as polar station, where research is carried out into barnacle geese and climate change.

     

    Day 7/8 : Ghost Town in Soviet style: Barentsburg

    The next few days we will turn south and make our way back to the Isfjord, if possible making a stop in the sheltered and beautiful bay of St. Johnsfjord. Depending on the availability of a berth in Barentsburg, we will sail towards the Russian mining settlement where we will arrive towards the end of the afternoon. After an adventurous journey in the unspoilt nature of Spitsbergen, you will have the opportunity to move freely without the supervision of a guide with a rifle, as is necessary in most of Spitsbergen.

     

    The name Barentsburg was given in 1924 by the Dutch Spitsbergen Company to the then Dutch mining settlement. In 1926 the mining town was taken over by the Russians, after which it grew into a town of miners with more than 1000 inhabitants. Today there are still about 400 people of mainly Russian or Ukrainian descent. Since the mine has not been profitable for a long time, the focus has shifted more and more to tourism.

     

    Day 9: Dutch coal mine Rijpsburg

    In the morning we take a short walk through Barentsburg where the expedition leader will show you the sights of the mining town. From the dock where our ship is moored, we will first have to climb some 140 wooden steps before we enter the main street. Here we will see that the Soviet period has left its mark. There is a life-size bust of Lenin in the middle of the town, billboards with photos of workers and modernist Soviet buildings. Furthermore you can find the world’s most Northerly brewery and find the Pomor museum. When everyone is safely back on board, we leave for Borebukta. We will try to get as close as possible to the northwestern end to get a look at the steep glacier front of the Borebreen. We then continue to the west side of the bay, close to the Nansenbreen, where we will anchor for the night.

     

    Day 10: Sailing towards Longyearbyen

    In the morning we will organize a final landing at Cape Bohemanflya. Here we find a piece of Dutch history in the form of the former Dutch mine in Rijpsburg. It was expanded by the Dutch in 1920 with cabins for coal mining. Because the coastal waters here are very shallow, the Dutch found out that shipping coal here was very difficult. In 1921 it was therefore decided to transfer the activities to Barentsburg. Here we will visit an old hut from the 1900 and the foundations of the removed huts. Since August 31st 1920, there has also been a monument to Queen Wilhelmina in the form of a large stone pyramid. Weather permitting, we will spend the rest of the day sailing back to Longyearbyen. Upon arrival in the Arctic town, you may enjoy some free time to buy the last souvenirs or simply take a walk to soak up all the impressions of the week. Around dinner time you are expected back on board where the crew has a last surprise in store for you. The rest of the evening you can enjoy your last night with the crew and your fellow travellers.

    Day 11: Goodbye Noorderlicht!

    Unfortunately, our adventure through the Arctic landscape of Spitsbergen has come to an end. After a hearty breakfast, you are kindly requested to disembark by 09:00. We hope that we have been able to show you the variety and beauty of Spitsbergen and that you enjoyed an unforgettable experience on board the Noorderlicht.