Arrive in Longyearbyen, the administrative capital of the Spitsbergen archipelago of which West Spitsbergen is the largest island. Before embarking there is an opportunity to stroll around this former mining town, whose parish church and Polar Museum are well worth visiting. In the early evening the ship will sail out of Isfjorden.
We sail into Raudfjord on the north coast of West Spitsbergen, a beautiful fjord with spectacular glaciers. It is home to Ringed and Bearded Seals, seabird colonies and surprisingly rich vegetation. We have a good chance to see Polar Bears near Hamilton Glacier, or more to the head of the fjord. From there we continue to Moffen Island on which Walruses haul out.
At sea, on our way to Greenland, we may see the edge of the East Greenland sea-ice. We will keep watch for whales, and also for migrating seabirds.
Approaching Greenland we will attempt to sail through the sea ice into Foster Bugt, making our first landing at Myggebugten. Beyond the old hunters' hut (in the first half of last century Norwegian trappers hunted here for Polar Bears and Arctic Foxes) there is an extensive tundra populated by Musk Oxen. The small lakes are home to geese. We will sail through Kaiser Franz Joseph Fjord, a magnificent fjord with towering mountains on both sides; its inner reaches choked with huge icebergs. An alternative is Sofia Sund, which is much narrower, and where we can see Musk Oxen from the ship.
We will land at Blomster Bugt to view the beautiful geological formations. Arctic Hares are usually seen here, and there is a lake with Great Northern Divers and their young. In the afternoon we will sail along Teufelschloss and Ella and may land at a beautiful spot in the early evening.
In the morning we enter Segels llskapets Fjord with the beautiful Berzelius Mountains on the north side. We will 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 us near a small lake with good chances to see Muskoxen, Arctic hare, and Ptarmigan. In the afternoon the ship will venture into Alpe Fjord, which is as spectacular as the name implies. We 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!
The first half of the day we will spend in Antarcticahavn, a wide and extensive valley where we may see groups of Musk Oxen. At this time of year, the autumnal colours of the sparse vegetation make the landscapes even more beautiful.
Today we will reach the Scoresby Sund, and sail in the morning along the ragged and glaciated Volquart Boons. Here we may organise a zodiac cruise along one of the glacier fronts of this coast, and have our first landing near for instance Maane Glacier. Later we will land on Danmark , where we will find 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 excellently preserved, allowing entrances and even bear-proof meat caches to be identified. There are also grave sites. In the evening, we will continue our sailing through the beautiful fjords to the west, choked with ice-bergs.
We will go ashore at Cape Hofmann Halv , a reliable spot for viewing Musk Oxen. We may also spot Rock Ptarmigans, and Great Northern Divers 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, we will sail through the fjord towards Scoresby Land, enjoying the contrast between the warm autumnal colours of the vegetation on shore, backed by huge dark mountains, and the cold blue of the icebergs.
This morning in the Northwest fjord in Scoresby Land, we will encounter huge icebergs, some over 100m high and more than a kilometre in length. Most of the bergs are grounded as the fjord is only about 400m deep here. We will land near Sydkap to view the remains of the Thule culture winter houses. As many as 20 people lived in these tiny houses, hunting Greenland Whales and using their vertebrae to build the houses. We may also land at Gurreholm on Jameson Land. The landscape here is gently undulating.
In the morning we 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 we will sail south passing the amazing landscape of the Blosseville Coast.
We 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 (Northern Lights).
In the morning we will arrive in Akureyri, and you will be transferred by chartered bus (6 hours drive) through North Iceland to your hotel in Reykjavik.