Svalbard is one of our planet's largest truly undisturbed wilderness areas. Our trip provides a unique opportunity to travel through and learn about landscapes where few have the opportunity to explore.
From the comforts of our boat, Arctica II, we will experience glacier fronts, rugged coastlines, and sea ice all under the midnight sun. During polar summer, millions of birds make Svalbard home and we commonly see whales, walrus, seals, and polar bears on the sea ice. This sailing trip will provide the opportunity to become immersed in the unique and stunning scenery of Svalbard and unplug from the bustle of daily life.
First Day — Wake up in Longyearbyen and enjoy a relaxed morning. You will have time to make any last-minute preparations before being picked up by your guides and shuttled to the Port of Longyearbyen. At the port, we will meet our boat captain and review safety protocols. We will then have time to load our bags and supplies on to the boat, Arctica II. Arctica II is very comfortable 62-foot steel hull sailing vessel equipped with a diesel engine as well as a Zodiac boat for landings. Arctica II has five cabins, each equipped with a private bathroom (including a shower, sink, and toilet) as well as comfortable beds and individual storage spaces. Arctica II has hot running water in each bathroom and a fully equipped galley (kitchen). The upper deck of the boat consists of the wheelhouse and a heated saloon (gathering space) with panoramic windows to enjoy the scenery. Additionally, Arctica II has large outdoor decks that provide excellent opportunities for wildlife viewing and sharing meals when weather permits. This vessel is built for polar sailing and allows us to safely and comfortably access remote locations and explore the pack ice.
Once onboard, we will travel west out of Isfjord and north through Forlandsundet, the straight separating Spitsbergen (the largest island in Svalbard where Longyearbyen is located) from Prins Karls Forland (an uninhabited island to the west of Spitsbergen). During this first day of travel, we will experience the beautiful scenery of Isfjord and the layered mountains characteristic to the area.
For dinner, your guides will prepare a delicious, healthy meal which we will share either in the saloon or on the outdoor deck, weather depending. Walrus often establish colonies in this area, and if we’re lucky, we’ll drop anchor for the night near one.
Day 2-6 — Each day on Arctica II will include breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as snacks throughout the day. As we explore the surrounding area our schedule on these days will be primarily determined by wildlife sightings, sea ice conditions, and desires of the group. The guides will work with the group and the boat captain to make the most of our voyage.
During the first half of the trip, we will head north in search of sea ice where we will have the highest likelihood of encountering polar bears. While seeing a polar bear in the wild is a truly humbling and life-changing experience, we will also encounter many other types of wildlife throughout our trip. Encounters with whales, seals, and walrus are common as are visits to migratory bird colonies. While on land, it is not uncommon to spot Arctic foxes and Svalbard Reindeer, a species unique to the archipelago.
Spitsbergen is named for the jagged mountains that characterize the northwest part of the island. We will spend several days around this part of Spitsbergen surrounded by peaks soaring high above the fjords and massive glacier that fill the valleys. Experiencing this part of Spitsbergen is truly a special experience as it differs so drastically from the landscapes surrounding Longyearbyen and Isfjord.
During the second half of the trip, we will begin our return south towards Isfjord. During this time, we will have the opportunity to explore fjords that we did not experience on our journey north. One could spend a lifetime exploring the complex coastlines and we will determine our exact route depending on weather conditions, wildlife sightings, and interests of the group.
Throughout the trip, we prioritize landings every day to explore beaches, desolate human outposts, and mountains that overlook the fjords. In Svalbard, there is a rich history of human exploration and survival. Remnants of historic whaling stations, trapping cabins, and mining outposts dot the landscape and are living examples of human presence in the region. While on land, the nature of our hikes will depend on snow conditions and the overall fitness of the group. In addition to using the Zodiac boat for landings, we can use it for closer wildlife encounters, whale watching, and up-close exploration of fjords and icebergs.
Days 7-9 (ten day departure only)— We will continue enjoying Svalbard as we spend additional time exploring the sea ice and other parts of the archipelago before returning to Longyearbyen.
Final Day — We will wake up in Isfjord and travel back to Longyearbyen. We will arrive back to the port by late morning or early afternoon and will provide a shuttle back to your accommodations in Longyearbyen.