Summary : Embark on a voyage filled with the amazing colors of the Arctic—start in Spitsbergen and sail along the northeastern coast of Greenland to Iceland. As you approach Greenland, attempt to sail through the sea ice landing at Myggebugten. Watch for whales and magnificent ice sculptures. Discover the extensive tundra populated by musk oxen. Sail through magnificent fjords surrounded by towering mountains. You may even see the Northern Lights on this trip of a lifetime!
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Triple/Quad Cabins
$5,950 to $12,290
Embark the ship and sail out of Isfjorden. In the mouth of the fjord you may see your first minke whale.
Sail to Raudfjord on the north coast of West Spitsbergen, a beautiful fjord dominated by spectacular glaciers and favored by ringed and bearded seal. The cliffs and shoreline of the fjord also support thriving seabird colonies and surprisingly rich vegetation, which flourishes in sheltered spots. There is a good chance to see polar bear near Hamilton Glacier, and towards the head of the fjord. From there continue to Moffen Island walrus haul out.
On your way to Greenland, you may see the edge of the East Greenland sea ice. Keep watch for whales, and also for migrating seabirds.
Attempt to sail through the sea ice and make your first landing at Myggebugten. Beyond the old hunters’ hut (in the first half of last century Norwegian trappers hunted here for polar bear and arctic fox) there is an extensive tundra populated by musk oxen. The small lakes are home to geese. Sail through Kaiser Franz Joseph Fjord, a magnificent fjord with towering mountains on both sides. Its inner reaches are choked with huge icebergs. An alternative is Sofia Sund, which is much narrower, where you may see musk oxen from the ship.
You arrive at Teufelschloss (Devil’s Castle), a mountain with layered geology. On the other side of the fjord is Blomsterbugt and the landing site. In the afternoon you head into Antarctic Sound, where you find the islands of Ruth, Maria, and Ella. Maria is the most likely spot for a landing.
In the morning enter Segelsällskapets Fjord with the beautiful Berzelius Mountains greeting you on the north side. 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 you near a small lake with good chances to see Muskoxen, Arctic hare, and Ptarmigan. In the afternoon, you ship will venture into Alpe Fjord, which is as spectacular as the name implies. You 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!
Spend the first half of the day in Antarcticahavn, a wide and extensive valley where you could also see groups of Musk Oxen. At this time of year the autumnal colours of the sparse vegetation make the landscapes even more beautiful.
Today you will reach the Scoresby Sund and sail in the morning along the ragged and glaciated Volquart Boons Kyst. Here you may go on a Zodiac cruise along one of the glacier fronts of this coast, and have our first landing near for instance Måne Glacier. Later you will land on Danmark Ø where you can look for 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, continue your sailing through the beautiful fjords to the west, choked with icebergs.
Go ashore at C. Hofman Halvø, a reliable spot for viewing Musk Oxen. You may also spot Rock Ptarmigan and Great Northern Diver 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 you will sail through the fjord towards Scoresby Land, enjoying the contrast between the warm autumnal colors of the vegetation on shore, backed by huge dark mountains, and the cold blue of the icebergs.
In the morning you encounter colossal icebergs, some over 100 meters (328 feet) high and more than a kilometer (.62 mile) long. Most of them are grounded, as the fjord is only about 400 meters (1,312 feet) deep. You then land near Sydkap, with fine views of Hall Bredning and a good shot of seeing Arctic hares.
In the morning you will land at Ittoqqortoormiit, 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 you will sail south passing the amazing landscape of the Blosseville Coast.
You will spend the whole day at sea and have splendid opportunities to see large whales and seabird migration and, in the night, the Aurora Borealis—the Northern Lights.
In the morning, you will arrive in Akureyri and upon request you can transfer by chartered bus to a centrally located hotel in Reykjavik (6 hours). The transfer is supplemented and must be booked and paid for in advance.
Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to ice and weather conditions—and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition.
Mandatory Travel Insurance:
As a requirement of participation on this expedition, all passengers must purchase insurance including medical, accident and repatriation/evacuation insurance. ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.
Bilingual English/German Departure: 9/5/2018
Voyage aboard the designated vessel as indicated in the itinerary; cabin accommodations and meals aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea; free use of rubber boots on loan; transfers and baggage handling between the airport, hotels and ship only for those passengers on the group flights to Longyearbyen; charter bus transfer and baggage handling between ship in Akureyri and Hotel Centrum in Reykjavik; Zodiac rides; program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff; miscellaneous service taxes and port charges; AECO fees and governmental taxes; comprehensive pre-departure material. Subject to change without notice.
Any airfare, whether on scheduled or charter flights; accommodation in Iceland; pre- and post-land arrangements; passport and visa expenses; government arrival and departure taxes; meals ashore; travel insurance; 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; fuel surcharge may apply.
PHOTOS: © Erwin Vermeulen; © Rinie van Meurs; © Majanda Hamelink; © Tobias Brehm