We’ll sail the northwest coast of Spitsbergen in the Arctic Ocean through splendid landscapes surrounded by hundreds of glaciers flowing to the sea. We’ll try to reach the 80°N latitude, the North Pole of sailing, and the North coast of Svalbard. We combine navigation and trekking with crampons for glacier trekking, sighting seals, birds, walruses, polar bears and reindeers.
Day 1: Plane arrival at Longyearbyen
Arrival at Longyearbyen, capital of the archipelago of Spitsbergen.
Pickup at the airport and transfer to the Sterna Sailboat. Presentation of the crew and night on board of the boat.
Day 2: Start of the exploration. Spitsbergen and trekking by crampons
Today we will start our adventure by the archipelago of Svalbard. Aboard the sailboat, we will head to Longyearbyen, navigating by Isfjorden, the biggest fjord of Spitsbergen, which is situated at the heart of the archipelago.
Our first stop and disembark will be in the Ymerburkta bay. By reaching land, we will put on some crampons and will be in first direct contact with the glacier ice. We will go up on the Esmarkbreen glacier, with a front of almost 3 km long. A unique experience, walking through ice in the extreme arctic.
After that, we will head out to Isfjorden to go into the strait of Forland. Here we will have the possibility to start and enjoy the local fauna, where various bird colonies of marine birds inhabit these lands during summer. It’s also possible to spot walruses during our walk.
Night aboard of the sailboat.
Day 3 to 10: Exploration of the West coast of Spitsbergen and Nordaustlandet
During the coming eight days, we will explore the north-east coast of Spitsbergen, the biggest island of the archipelago of Svalbard, aboard our sailboat.
During our voyage, we will pass by the bird sanctuary Hermansenøya, until arriving at Ny-Ålesund. A small town (the eight most northern of the world) funded in 1916, which then was dedicated to a carbon mine, and now is a scientific base.
We will explore the Krossfjorden fjord and continue our voyage by the north-east coast until arriving at Magdalenefjorden, situated 79.5º N. During the travel we will spy different glacier fronts, like those of Dahlbreen, Aavatsmarkbreen and Sjettebreen, amongst others, that end up in sea.
If the state of the ice and sea permit us, we will continue our route more north, passing by Smeerenburgfjorden until arriving at Raudfjorden, already at the north coast of the archipelago. We will then set sail to the Island Moffen, where one of the biggest walrus colonies of the area is residing. Once we’ve seen the island, it means we have reached the latitude of 80º N., a milestone for navigation by sailboat.
Once having passed by Moffen, we will go to the second biggest island of Svalbard, Nordaustlandet. In this zone of the archipelago, because of the latitude and great masses if glacier ice, it is one of the most suitable sites to observe polar bears, since the majority of the bears of Svalbard resides here. In the north coast of Svalbard are also many possibilities to observe whales, especially near the entrances of the fjords.
On the coming back, depending on the amount of time we have, we will go back to explore the Island of “Principle Charles Forland”, which is about 85 km wide, and situated just in front of the east coast, forming the Forland strait.
During these days of navigation we will disembark several times, in order to discover the area by foot, taking several strolls or trekking of longer duration.
During this trip by boat we will convert in true arctic sailors. The boat crew will show us how to navigate in a sailboat at sea, as well as by the coast. We will see how a sailboat works, acquiring knowledge on navigation by sail and engine, practicing several courses depending on the wind. And for the daredevils among us it can also include carrying the helm. We will learn about the different navigation techniques by hand of the most experienced sailors, such as the same Albert Bargués, great Spanish explorer of the seas.
We will navigate between fjords, with an infinite view of mountains and glaciers. Svalbard is the home of thousands of sea birds which we will be able to see during most of our voyage, such as guillemots, razorbills and puffins, among others. We will also have the possibility of observing seals, walruses, Arctic foxes, Svalbard reindeers and, with a bit of luck, we can even get to see whales, and the king of the Arctic, the polar bear.
The final route that will be realized, as well as the activities will depend on the quantity of present sea ice.
Ending the route, we will go back to Isfjorden, direction Pyramiden.
Nights are spent aboard of the sailboat.
Day 11: Isfjorden and Pyramiden
Today we will arrive at the “ghost city” of the Pyramiden, where we disembark. Thanks to the carbon mine, in its height in 1958, more than 1000 habitants arrived to start living here, having various greenhouses and stables.
Pyramiden became much more than a mine. The soviet state wanted to construct the perfect town: a self-sufficient city that had everything, up to an acclimatized pool. In 1998, because of an order from the Russian government, the city was almost completely evacuated in barely 24 hours, turning it into a ghost town from almost one day to the other.
This day we will dedicate to visit this area, entering an abandoned mine, and with a guide, we will walk around the city being able to enter homes, schools and more buildings. We will see how the people from there lived, due to the immediate evacuation, had to leave personal objects behind, such as furniture, clothes, books, and the most northern pianos of the world, already converted to relics and part of their history.
We will also go for a hike in the mountain of Pyramiden (its form gave name to the city), contemplating one of the most spectacular views on the city, the valley, and the fjord.
After the visit, we will return to Longyearbyen.
Night spend aboard of the sailboat.
Day 12: Day off in Longyearbyen
At dawn, we will arrive at Longyearbyen, where we will have some time to visit the city. This city is the largest of the archipelago, with a population of more than two thousand inhabitants. The majority is Norwegian, but we will be able to see people from all over the world. Here, we can enjoy the city’s attractions and visit its museums or its church.
Day 13: Return flight
Transfer to the airport and return flights to Spain.
This route is a unique and exclusive travel, designed and organized by Tierras Polares in collaboration with Sterna. It should be considered as an expedition, where unseen circumstances can occur, such as bad weather. Save all the components of adventure and discovering present in our voyages.
Arriving at 80ºN will mostly depend on the conditions of ice present at the moment.
The order of activities will or may not coincide with the planning. The timetable can be realized as much as written in the planning, as well as on the contrary.
The route is illustrative, and is subjected to the modifications and variations of the terrain, due to climatologic causes, of the sea, the ice, the roads, logistical or technical, that require flexibility on the side of the traveler.
This planning is the foreseen, but it is the mission of the guide and boat crew to decide, in case it is necessary, to make the best changes possible in function of the security, according to their criteria and experience.