North West Coast
Welcome aboard our eight-day trip along the northwest coast of Spitsbergen; an area rich in majestic fjords and mountains, large glaciers, wildlife and a lot of history.
Among the many fjords that we sail, we can highlight Kongsfjord, Krossfjorden, Lilliehöökfjorden, Magdalenafjorden, Bockfjorden and Liefdefjorden. Of the innumerable glaciers, the Kongsbreen and the Monacobreen are the largest.
Our goal for this trip is to know the flora and fauna of the Archipelago. Different excursions will be made to land, including trips to glaciers. Svalbard is one of the places on the planet where the most drastic changes of global warming can be observed. Our mission is to be able to observe the changes in this fragile Arctic ecosystem and be able to transmit our knowledge about climate change.
Although we will not circumnavigate Svalbard completely on this trip, there are great opportunities to see polar bears, whales, seals and walruses. In Svalbard there is the so-called “midnight sun” until August 11, so there will be light 24 hours a day. Along the northwest coast there is also good fishing, especially cod, and we hope to catch some and cook it. With the sailboat as our mobile base, we will approach nature and wildlife carefully, trying not to leave any trace of our passage.
On this trip will use an expedition sailboat of 21 meters in length; it is a very stable and comfortable boat built in steel, made to sail in arctic waters. The boat has many amenities and all the safety elements; has an interior lounge with 360 ° view where you can enjoy the landscape from the comfort of their sofas. The whole boat is central heated and has six double cabins and five bathrooms.
On this trip there will be two or three skippers and crew, of which at least one of us has a lot of local experience in Svalbard. We will work as polar bear guides and guards when we are on land. On the way, sailing or motoring, we will include all participants in the navigation. In general, we will sail at any time of day so that all passengers on board will have four-hour shifts on duty followed by eight hours of rest.
An expedition with us to Svalbard is mainly an arctic exploration trip, but also a great opportunity to learn a lot about navigation. Are you ready to follow in the footsteps of the great explorers?
The Arctic is an area vulnerable to human presence and climate change. We believe that small boats with little crew, little pollution and waste are much less harmful to the environment. In Svalbard we follow the AECO guidelines for a responsible Arctic tourism.
We start the adventure!
We meet onboard the boat in the harbour of Longyearbyen. We start with getting to know each other, before we go through the plan for the week. We get to know the boat and the equipment, and finish packing provisions and equipments. The life onboard requires cooperation, and before departure we go through routines and procedures onboard, for sailing and emergency situations. In Longyearbyen there is midnight sun this time of year, and we will make the most out of the afternoon and evening and set sail with course towards Tempelet, a mountain across the Isfjord. Throughout the night we continue our voyage on the inside of the island Prins Karls Forland, and through the narrow passage by Forlandsrevet.
Krossfjorden and glaciers.
Within the day we reach Krossfjorden and Lilliehöökfjorden. Here we will visit the 14th of July bay and Lilliehöökbreen with its eight kilometer long glacier front. This is an impressive sight! We have no reason for hasting in these surroundings, and we will take our time to digest the impressions. After an eventful day, we sail out the fjord again and continue north to Magdalenafjorden.
The Magdalena fjord and the northwestern islands.
Today the Magdalenafjord is our big highlight! The beautiful fjord with ice in the water and high peaks around is named after the guardian angel of early Basque whalers; Maria Magdalena. The fjord was an important base for whaling already from the 16th century. Many also died here, and at one place several burial sites can be found. As we sail further north we reach more protected waters amongst the north-western Islands in the Smeerenberg-fjord. We will visit islands with history dating from the 17th century when whale hunters dominated this area. At the peak in the 1630s there were about 250 boats here hunting about 750 whales per summer. Thus the whale population sank quickly and so did the number of whalers. Then 250 years later the island became relevant again, this time as base for several polar expeditions in the 19th and 20th century. Virgohavna was among others, the base for Swedish Salomon August André’s balloon flight attempt the North Pole in 1896-97.
Fjords in the north side.
The next few days we will sail into the fjords from the north side of Svalbard; Raudfjorden, Liefdefjorden and Mushamna. These fjords are the homes to a rich wildlife, and we can expect to see reindeer, seal and maybe polar bears. The glaciers in the area are fascinating; we pick up fresh ice at Monacobreen that we can put in the drink at the world’s northernmost bar; Texas Bar. The last night before we turn around we spend in Mushamna, which is a very special and well protected bay.
Sailing south through Ny-Ålesund.
In the morning we start the return south towards Longyearbyen. We pass the north-west islands and stop by New-Ålesund, the northernmost community of the world and a mecca for researchers from all over the world. Then we sail southwards on the inside of Prins Karls Forland to the mouth of Isfjorden, which leads us to the largest settlements on Svalbard, with Longyearbyen being the largest. As we approach Longyearbyen, we pass Isfjord Radio lying at the entrance of the Isfjord, an old radio station which today is an attractive place for accommodation. Inside the Isfjorden, we hopefully have time to a stop at the Russian mining town of Barentsburg; a special place with its own rhythm and atmosphere. The last morning we sail into Longyearbyen. We encourage everyone to stick around at least until the next day, with accommodation on land, so we can meet for a farewell dinner on land in Longyearbyen this last night in Longyearbyen.
If you haven’t had the opportunity to experience Longyearbyen in advance of the trip, then we recommend staying an extra day or two before traveling home. It’s always smart to add time for some rest and calmness before and after such a trip, to let the impressions sink in and see what’s happening.
What is included in the price?
- Captain / instructor experienced on board.
- Accommodation on board during the entire trip.
- Bedding, including duvee.
- All meals on board.
- Sustainable, local, ecological, unique, exotic and exclusive holidays full of experiences.
- All expenses related to the vessel, such as diesel, gas, port fees, etc.
- Free use of equipment such as dinghy boats, kayaks, fishing equipment, etc.
- Search and rescue insurance for all crew members.
- Transportation to / from Longyearbyen
- Visits to restaurants, museums, galleries, usually before or after the trip.
- Alcoholic drinks.