North cape-bear island-svalbard

The Bear Island is located at 74.3 degrees north latitude. Its heart’s shape of 25 Km long and 20 Km wide makes it only accessible by sea. It belongs to the Svalbard Archipelago in Norwegian. This small island, together with three more of the Svalbard Archipelago (Spitsbergen, Bjørnøya and Hopen), is the only inhabited.

During the long winter, the island is covered with snow and surrounded by an ice sea. The human activity is reduced to a Norwegian Weather Station where nine people work in lathes of six months.

Sterna will leave from Tromso and we’ll sail trough the Barents Sea, an Arctic Ocean’s side, between northern Norway and Russia. The sea is named because of the Dutch navigator and explorer Willem Barents. He made three expeditions to the north’s most distant places and, like him we’ll sail from the Norwegian fjords, watching away the legendary North Cape, the most northern point of Europe. From there, we’ll head north; a half-day’s navigation, until we reach the lone and virgin Bear Island. In the south part of the island we’ll contemplate spectacular cliffs falling rocks on the sea. If the time permits it, we’ll drop the anchor, reach land with the tender and we’ll take a look hiking around.

After that we’ll head north, a entire day’s navigation, and we’ll arrive at Longyearbyen, Svalbard Archipelago’s capital

 

TRAVEL PLAN:

Day 1: Arrival flights in Tromso:

Arriving at Tromso, the economic capital of the north of Norway.

Gathering in the airport and transfer to the Sailboat Sterna. Presentation of the crew and night spent aboard the sailboat.

 

Days 2 and 3: Tromso, fjords of the north of Norway and North Cape

Today we will dawn at Tromso, where will have the morning off to visit this enchanting city. Situated on an island of 69ºN latitude, it’s the gate of the Arctic Ocean, and is considered as the economic capital of the north for centuries. It was also the departure point of numerous polar explorations, as the “Polar Museet” will demonstrate. Here we will be able to visit the most northern botanic garden of the world, its Arctic Cathedral, the Polar Museum, and going up the Fjellheisen cable car until we reach the mountain Storsteinen, at a 420 m height, where we will have some impressing panoramic views of the city, the fjords, and the surrounding mountains.

At mid-day we will embark to start our adventure aboard the sailboat. Navigating by the coast north of Norway, which is the Lapland region of this country. Passing by the Lyngen Alps, following by the islands Seiland and Sørøya. More up north, in the natural reserve Gjesværstappan, we will see one of the biggest colonies of sea birds of the Norwegian coast. This will be a perfect moment to take our binoculars and observe them. From the boat we can observe the magnitude of this mass of rock, of 307 meters height.

During this course we will be passing by a landscape full of fjords, islands, mountains of more than a thousand meters height, and tundra. Below the perpetuous Midnight Sun light, which is this period of the year where it doesn’t appear anymore, we will be able to enjoy this great place in all its wonder.

Night spent aboard the sailboat.

 

Days 4 until 6: Exploration of the Oslo Island and South point of Svalbard

After passing by the North Cape, we will commence our journey by the Arctic Ocean.

Our first objective will be to approach the unknown Oso Island, situated and a little less of one day of navigation from the North Cape. It is a small island that divides the Barents Sea and the Norwegian Sea, formed by various cliffs and full of lakes on the inside. During ages it was the center of commercial fishing and whale hunting activities, but today the only active part is a meteorological base, which makes it the habitat of about 10 persons per year. The vegetation on the Oso Island is almost zero, but holds gigantic colonies of sea marine birds during the spring months.

Continuing the walk, we will arrive at Sørkapp, an inhabited island, sanctuary of marine birds that forms the start of the archipelago of Svalbard.

We will disembark for the first time close to the glacier Olsokbreen, in the south point of Spitsbergen, the biggest island of Svalbard. It will be the first big contact we will have with the glaciers, admiring its front of almost 4 kilometers wide.

During this stage of open sea, with a little bit of luck, we will be able to see whales, seals and walruses, for which we should always have our binoculars at hand.

Nights spent aboard the sailboat.

 

Days 7 until 9: Exploration of the south-west coast of Spitsbergen and arrival at Barentsburg

After pasing through the Stormbukta bay, where the glacier Olsokbreen is situated, we will turn to the interior of Hornsund. A fjord with countless glacial fronts and an abundant amount of fauna, seeing the biggest glacier frond of Hornbreen and Storbreen, that together reach until 14 km of distance, leading to the fjord. The journey will continue by the west coast that presents to us a grand spectacle of ice and continuous mountains, disembarking to explore the area by foot. We will double for Kapp Linné to enter Isfjorden and arrive at the city mine of Barentsburg.

It’s a mine town and second biggest settlement of Svalbard, with a population of russion or Ucranian background, that doesn’t arrive at 500 inhabitants. Here we can visit its small, but very interesting museum, and also see the Russian consulate, the most northern diplomatic mission of the world.

During our walk, we will pass by various sanctuaries of marine birds, such as the Dunoyane, Isoyane and Olsholmen.

We will also have the possibility to see Svalbard reindeers, arctic foxes, seals and walruses.

Night spent aboard the sailboat.

 

Days 10 until 21: Exploration of Isfjorden

We will leave Barentsburg behind to start our exploration to Isfjorden, the biggest fjord of Spitsbergen. We will go to Ymerbukta and after that to Borebukta, where we disembark and visit the area by foot, getting close to its glacier fronts. We will then continue to navigate to Yoldiabukta and Nordfjorden, contemplating the glacier fronts of Samebreen and Wahlenbergbreen. Continuing until the Gipsvika bay, we will see many marine birds on our way. We will get enter Tempelfjorden, getting closer to the glaciar tongue Tunabreen, at the end of the fjord, admiring the intensity of the blue of its glacier ice.

We will continue our walk, passing through the valley of Sassendalen, until arriving at Longyearbyen, where we will have made a complete tour through Isfjorden.

Nights spent aboard the sailboat.

 

Day 13: Arrival at Longyearbyen, free visit of the city

We will arrive at the city Longyearbyen, capital of Svalbard, where we will have time off time visit. This is the biggest city of the archipelago, with a population of above two thousand inhabitants. The majority are Norwegians, but we can meet people from all ove the world. Here we can enjoy the attractions of the city and visit its museums or its church.

Night spent aboard the sailboat.

 

Day 14: Return flight

Transfer to the airport and return flights to Spain from Longyearbyen.

 

 

 

NOTE

This journey 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 journey 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.