Summary : This voyage is the perfect chance to experience the Arctic region in its early summer splendor. You can look forward to magnificent scenery on the northernmost islands of the planet After embarking at Reykjavik onboard Ocean Atlantic, begin your spectacular voyage towards the High Arctic as you depart from Iceland’s volcanic wonderland. Along the way you will have landings at four incredible Arctic islands which include Iceland, Grimsey, Jan Mayen and Spitsbergen. Take in the ragged cliffs of the Icelandic western and northern coasts, including planned visits at the famed “Iceland in miniature”, Snaefellness and the little Vigur island in the middle of the large fjord, Ísafjarðardjúp. Make calls on the enigmatic island of Jan Mayen and the glaciated islands of Svalbard. This is early summer; the air is filled with migrating birds as you head towards the 'land of the midnight sun'. When approaching Svalbard, scout for whales, seals and seal-hunting polar bears. Enjoy the immense beauty of Svalbard on this High Arctic adventure as you voyage among whales, walruses and millions of sea birds. There are few wilder, more magnificent and untouched places than the Arctic Islands of the North Atlantic! And few ships better suited than Ocean Atlantic for such a voyage.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Dedicated Solo Cabins, Triple/Quad Cabins
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Embark the ship.
In the morning, sail along the 100-kilometer long peninsula of Snaefellsnes with its dramatic cliff coast, hardened lava floods, sandy beaches and volcanic peaks.
Round the peninsula and enjoy the view of the snow-covered volcano Snæfellsjökull, which was the center of Jules Vernes novel "The Journey to the Center of the Earth". The volcano with the almost perfect cone shape and the surrounding area became Snæfellsjökull National Park in 2001
Make a landing at Snaefellsnes.
In the afternoon, pass Iceland’s westernmost point and the huge bird cliffs of Latraberg.
In the morning, sail into Isafjardardjúp, and take a walk on the island of Vigur at the mouth of Hestfjördur to enjoy the view of the steep mountains and look to the sky for the terrific aerobatics of the Arctic Terns.
A local guide will take you on a walk around the island, and coffee and light refreshments will be served in the local café.
Around lunch, leave Isafjardardjúp and sail towards the West Fjords, which always offer one unforgettable experience after another. Finish the day sailing along the coast of Hornstrandir, the northernmost part of the West Fjords. In 1975 the area was converted into nature reserves, and currently have some of the strictest rules to protect its unique and fragile nature. Along the coast, there are good opportunities to see whales and seals, and the mountainside are alive with rich bird life. Continue past Hornvik Bay, which is considered one of the most beautiful places in Iceland, where you can see two of Europe's largest bird cliffs where millions of seabirds breed.
In the morning, arrive at the island of Grimsey, which is located about 40 kilometers from the mainland and is the only part of Iceland, with an Arctic designation. The Polar Circle crosses the island at 66 ° 33 'N, and gives it one full day of 24-hour sunlight every year in June.
Over 100 inhabitants reside in the little rocky island, all living close to the harbor in the only city in the island. The fishing banks in the surrounding seas make the economy flourish, the port is expanded, and there is a small airport with daily flights to the mainland and the school for the children. The island has been inhabited right back from the settlement of Iceland and is mentioned in the sagas as an important land, rich in fish and birds.
The seabirds far exceed the number of inhabitants on Grímsey, and bird cries can be heard 24 hours a day over the bright Arctic summer. Up to 36 different species breed on the island and have their nests on the rocks. One of Iceland's largest tern colonies is here, and it is said that the runway must be cleared for terns before the aircraft can land.
Land by Zodiacs during the morning to experience the local life and explore the island's bird life too.
During your voyage your lecturers onboard will make inspiring and enriching presentations about Iceland’s history, nature, wildlife and climatology.
Listen to a lecture from your experienced expedition staff, see a film about Arctic nature – or go out on deck to catch glimpses of migrating birds and hopefully some whales too.
Approximately in the middle of the North Atlantic lies the enigmatic volcanic island of Jan Mayen. It's located on the Mid Atlantic Ridge giving rise to its volcanic existence. Enigmatic it is, not only because of its isolation but also due to the almost perpetual clouds and fog that hover above it. Jan Mayen belongs to Norway, and the mountain Beerenberg is one of the higher of Norway’s 300 summits above 2,000 meters.
The island is inhabited by only 18 persons, running the meteorological station. Attempt to go ashore at the narrowest part of the island, from either south or north, depending on the prevailing wind and surf. The volcanic origin is visible all over with cinder cones, lava flows and the Mount Fuji-like appearance of Beerenberg looming above. After a pleasant stroll on the narrow isthmus. board the Zodiacs and Ocean Atlantic to continue your voyage north.
Listen to a lecture from your experienced expedition staff, see a film about Arctic nature, or go out on deck to catch glimpses of migrating birds and hopefully some whales too.
As the ship gets closer to the islands of Svalbard, it should be possible to spot the largest island, Spitsbergen that afternoon.
Your route today and next depends much on weather and ice conditions. The vessel has an ice class of 1B and the Captain should be able to safely approach the edge of the ice so keep an eye out for polar bears hunting for seals.
The west coast enjoys the warmer water coming up through the Atlantic, melting the winter ice and allowing the ship to enter the southern fjord of Bellsund.
Bellsund has some of the richest coal layers in Svalbard, and Svea Mine, far into the fjord, was formerly one of the biggest communities on the island. But prices went down, and the coal mine is currently being dismantled.
The ship will stay in the fjord entrance and you will make landings by Zodiac at Vårsol Bay. The biggest attraction here is the little auk cliff. The Tundra is where the Svalbard reindeer love to graze because it is so richly fertilized by hundreds of thousands of these little auks. Go for a nice walk along the beach, and witness remains from early industrial eras.
During the night the ship will sail north along the coast of Spitsbergen.
During the night, the ship will pass Prins Karls Forland delivering you to the magnificent Kongsfjord. Your visit to Svalbard is in the early summer and this is both the challenge and gift of this special voyage. Winter ice will possibly block the inner waters of many fjords, but this will give you the best opportunities to observe the omnipresent – but still elusive – polar bear, hunting for seals in its prime habitat. At this time of the year, the migrating birds have just arrived. They are all eager to settle and feed to get the best start for the coming hectic summer months.
Your first landing will be at Ny Ålesund. This settlement is in fact further north than Longyearbyen, making it THE northernmost town. But… is a group of scientific stations, a post office and a single shop open only for a few hours a real town? You will have to judge for yourself. The setting is nice, the scientific projects are very interesting, and so is the town history. Enjoy an easy walk through the area.
Continuing your exploration of Kongsfjorden, Ocean Atlantic will anchor behind Blomstrand Peninsula. Blomstrand is now an island as the Blomstrand Glacier has receded, revealing a shallow water strait. Cruise through this via Zodiac and make a landing on the island.
During the night the ship will have entered Forlandssundet, that separates Prince Karls Forland from Spitsbergen. Your destination is Poole-pynten (Poolepoint), a small headland named after the British whaler Jonas Poole. Today the area is inhabited by herds of walruses flaunting their tusks and whiskers, as well as their considerable bulk.
After the visit, the ship heads southbound towards the entrance to the Icefjord.
On your way towards Longyearbyen cruise through the Icefjord, and keep an eye out for wildlife as you enjoy the truly unique landscapes of Svalbard.
Disembark the ship after breakfast and transfer to the airport for your flight to Oslo.
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. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Mandatory Travel Insurance:
As a requirement of participation on this expedition, all passengers must purchase emergency evacuation/repatriation insurance; minimum $200,000. The medical insurance must be able to cover all existing health issues the passenger might have. It must also cover medical treatment and medical evacuation in any of the areas traveled. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends at least $200,000 Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.
Onboard Expedition Photographer:
Each voyage has a dedicated expedition photographer onboard to document the voyage and share their passion for photography through lectures and during landings and Zodiac cruises. Svalbard is filled with mesmerizing landscapes and amazing wildlife; and the expedition photographer is available to help elevate your photographic capabilities to beautifully capture the magical moments of your voyage.
All guests interested in Kayaking need to participate in Kayaking information meetings and safety briefing on day one. After the briefing they need to be approved by the Kayak Master. If they are not approved by the Kayak Master they are not allowed to participate. All kayaks are double kayaks (no single), and there are 6 of them on board. 12 guests per outing. They try to get 2-3 kayaking outings on one Expedition (subject to weather conditions). Exercise your body while engaging your mind and heart in an unforgettable outing, safely guided by kayak masters throughout the journey. The Antarctic region, weather, sea and ice conditions will dictate when and where kayaking may be possible in order to ensure your safety and improve your experience. Kayaking is weather dependent.
One-way flight Longyearbyen/Oslo; transfer from ship to airport; shipboard accommodations; gear on loan (boots available for shore landings); digital photo journal of your trip; all meals onboard ship; welcome and farewell cocktails. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; accommodations other than per the itinerary; transfers that are not mentioned as included; passport and visa expenses; alcohol, soft drinks and other beverages besides coffee and tea; Wi-Fi; communication charges; all items of a personal nature such as spa and laundry; required travel insurance; gratuities (gratuities will be automatically added to your onboard account; gratuities are adjustable); excess baggage charges; airport departure tax; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photos © Albatros Expeditions