Journey beginning at Longyearbyen, Svalbard and ending at Reykjavik, Iceland
Available: 2019-09-02 to 2019-09-15 starting from $9224 AUD
50 Degrees North offers unique, small-group expedition voyages to the Arctic that allow you to enjoy the natural wildlife and scenery of some of the world’s most spectacular and pristine shorelines.
This trip brings together an amazing combination of experiences – Svalbard, Greenland and then Iceland. Experience the wonder of an untouched wilderness with heaps of opportunities to see wildlife and nature. Lots of zodiac excursions to the shore and plenty of icebergs to watch as you sail.
Day 1 – Arrive into Longyearbyen
Arrive in Longyearbyen, on Spitsbergen, the administrative capital of the Spitsbergen archipelago of which West Spitsbergen is the largest island. Before embarking there is an opportunity to visit this former mining village. The Parish Church and the Polar Museum are well worth visiting. In the early evening the ship will sail out of Isfjorden.
Day 2 – Head to Raudfjord to search for Polar Bears
We sail into Raudfjord on the north coast of West Spitsbergen, a beautiful fjord with spectacular glaciers. It is home to Ringed and Bearded Seals, seabird colonies and a surprisingly rich vegetation. We have good chances to see Polar Bears, for instance near Hamilton Glacier, or more to the head of the fjord. From there we continue to Moffen Island on which Walruses haul out.
Days 3 – 4 – At sea, heading to Greenland
At sea, on our way to Greenland, we may see the edge of the East Greenland sea-ice. We keep watch for whales, and also for migrating seabirds.
On the recent North Atlantic Odyssey passengers on s/v Plancius counted 80 – 100 Bowhead Whales ( Greenland Whales) Balaena mysticetus on at the edge of the sea ice between Northeast Greenland and Spitsbergen.
Find of the century
The sighting of 80+ different Bowhead Whales is the highest number ever recorded on one day in the Atlantic Arctic since the 17th Century. According to the IUCN Red List, where the Bowhead Whale in this area is listed as critically endangered, the previous record was a sighting of 66 whales in 1983.
This was then estimated to be the majority of Bowhead Whales in the NE Greenland and Svalbard subpopulation. Up to 20 individuals have been sighted thereafter but with no evidence of calves.
A dedicated survey in the Fram Strait in the spring of 2006 resulted in only eight sightings of Bowhead whales. In 2008 another survey was made in the same area but also extending further south along the ice edge resulting in no sightings at all.
Troels Jacobsen (MSc, Marine Mammal Biologist Oceanwide Expeditions): “It is like witnessing the resurrection of a sub-population of Bowhead whales that was not thought to be counting more than tens of individuals. This opens intriguing possibilities for both science and Arctic cruises for the future”.
This sighting supports that the Bowhead Whale population in the Fram Strait is on the increase, which is in accordance with the increase of the populations in Disko Bay (West Greenland) in winter and in Franz Josef Land (Russian Atlantic Arctic), both areas also visited by the ships of Oceanwide Expeditions.
Day 5 – Travel into Kaiser Franz Joseph Fjord
Approaching Greenland we will attempt to sail through the sea ice into Foster Bugt, making our first landing at Myggebugten. Beyond the old hunters’ hut (in the first half of last century Norwegian trappers hunted here for Polar Bears and Arctic Foxes) there is an extensive tundra populated by Musk Oxen. The small lakes are home to geese.
We sail through Kaiser Franz Joseph Fjord, a magnificent fjord with towering mountains on both sides, its inner reaches choked with huge icebergs. An alternative is Sofia Sund, which is much narrower, and where we can see Muskoxen from the ship.
Day 6 – Land at Blomster Bugt to find Arctic Hares
We will land at Blomster Bugt to view the beautiful geological formations. Arctic Hares are usually seen here, and there is a lake with Great Northern Divers and their young. In the afternoon we sail along Teufelschloss and Ella Ã˜ and may land at a beautiful spot in the early evening.
Day 7 – Muskoxen, Arctic hare, and Ptarmigan
In the morning we enter Segelsällskapets Fjord with the beautiful Berzelius Mountains on the north side. We will land on the south side of the fjord in an astounding place where the ancient sedimentary geology is literally at your feet. A hike will take us near a small lake with good chances to see Muskoxen, Arctic hare, and Ptarmigan. In the afternoon the ship will venture into Alpe Fjord, which is as spectacular as the name implies. We may embark on a long Zodiac cruise around the Gully Glacier which once blocked the access to the interior of the fjord and venture deep inside to the very end. Adventure at its finest!
Day 8 – Explore Antarcticahavn
The first half of the day we spend in Antarcticahavn, a wide and extensive valley where we also could see groups of Musk Oxen. At this time of year the autumnal colours of the sparse vegetation make the landscapes even more beautiful.
Day 9 – Reach Scoresby Sund
Today we reach the Scoresby Sund and sail in the morning along the ragged and glaciated Volquart Boons Kyst. Here we may organise a zodiac cruise along one of the glacier fronts of this coast, and have our first landing near for instance Måne Glacier.
Later we land on Danmark Ø where we find the remains of an Inuit settlement abandoned around 200 years ago. The circular ‘tent rings’ of stones indicate the summer houses, while the winter houses can be seen closer to a small cape. The sites are well preserved, allowing entrances and even bear-proof meat caches to be identified. There are also grave sites. In the evening we continue our sailing through the beautiful fjords to the west, choked with icebergs.
Day 10 – Go ashore at Cape Hofmann Halvø
We go ashore at Cape Hofmann Halvø, a reliable spot for viewing Musk Oxen. We may also spot Rock Ptarmigans, and Great Northern Divers at sea. The landscape here is particularly beautiful, especially during autumn when the Dwarf Willow and Dwarf Birch change colour. Arctic Blueberry and Crowberry add their own colourful touch – the berries are tasty too! In the evening we sail through the fjord towards Scoresby Land, enjoying the contrast between the warm autumnal colours of the vegetation on shore, backed by huge dark mountains, and the cold blue of the icebergs.
Day 11 – Huge Icebergs in the “Iceberg Cemetery’
In Northwest fjord in Scoresby Land in the morning, we encounter huge icebergs, some over 100m high and more than a kilometre in length. Most of the bergs are grounded as the fjord is only about 400m deep here. We land near Sydkap to view the remains of the Thule culture winter houses. As many as 20 people lived in these tiny houses, hunting Greenland Whales and using their vertebrae to build the houses. We may also land at Gurreholm on Jameson Land. The landscape here is gently undulating.
Day 12 – Visit Illoqqortoormiut
In the morning we land at Illoqqortoormiut, the biggest settlement in the Scoresby Sund with about 500 inhabitants. At the post office you can buy stamps for your postcards, or just wander around to see the sledge dogs and the drying skins of Seal, Musk Ox and Polar Bear. After dinner we will sail south passing the amazing landscape of the Blosseville Coast.
Day 13 – Head to Iceland looking for the Northern Lights
We will spend the whole day at sea and we will have splendid opportunities to see large whales and seabird migration and, in the night, the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights).
Day 14 – Arrive Akureyri, head to Reykjavik
In the morning we arrive in Akureyri and transfer by chartered bus to Hotel Reykjavik Centrum, Adalstraeti 16 in Reykjavik (6 hours).
- 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.
- All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the programme.
- AECO fees and governmental taxes.
- Comprehensive pre-departure material.
Any airfare, whether on scheduled or charter flights; pre- and post land arrangements; transfers to / from the vessel outside Spitsbergen; passport and visa expenses; Government arrival and departure taxes; meals ashore; baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (which is strongly recommended); excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar, beverage charges and telecommunication charges; and the customary gratuity at the end of the voyages for stewards and other service personnel aboard (guidelines will be provided).
Please note that the 2018 voyage doesn’t include transfer and baggage handling between ship in Akureyri and Hotel Reykjavik Centrum, Adalstraeti 16 by coach (6 hours). You may wish to stay longer in Iceland – starting a tour from Akureyri, which is close to Myvatn hot springs region.
To find out more or to book this incredible tour, contact Globetrotter Lifestyle today!