Day 1 Longyearbyen - Isfjorden
Arrive in Longyearbyen, on Spitsbergen, the administrative capital of the Spitsbergen archipelago of which West Spitsbergen is the largest island. Before embarking there is an opportunity to visit this former mining village. The Parish Church and the Polar Museum are well worth visiting, while in the country around the village more than 100 species of plant have been recorded. In the early evening the ship will sail out of Isfjorden.
Day 2 Raudfjord - West Spitsbergen - Moffen Island - Liefdefjord
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 a surprisingly rich vegetation. We have good chances to see Polar Bears, for instance near Hamilton Glacier, or more to the head of the fjord. From there we continue to Moffen Island on which Walrus haul out. If we have not seen bears on this day we may spend another day in Liefdefjord near the Monaco glacier, where we also often see bears.
Day 3 & 4 East Greenland Ice
At sea, on our way to Greenland, along the impressive East Greenland Ice. Keep watch for Fin Whales, Humpback Whales and Minke Whales, and also for migrating seabirds, especially the Brünnichs Guillemots, which swim with their small young from Spitsbergen, along the sea ice to South Greenland.
Day 5 Greenland - Foster Bugt - Kaiser Franz Joseph Fjord
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 and Arctic Hares. The small lakes are home to geese.
We sail through Kaiser Franz Joseph Fjord, a magnificent fjord with towering mountains on both sides, its inner reaches choked with huge icebergs and an excellent place to encounter Narwhal. An alternative is Sofia Sund, which is much narrower, and where we can see Muskoxen from the ship.
Day 6 Blomster Bugt - Antarcticahavn
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 with young. In the afternoon we sail along Teufelschloss and Ella Ö and may land at a beautiful spot in the early evening.
Day 7 Antarcticahavn
The first half of the day we spend in Antarcticahavn, a wide and extensive valley where we also could see groups of Musk Oxen. At this time of year the autumnal colors of the sparse vegetation make the landscapes even more beautiful.
Day 8 Scoresby Sund - Danmarks Øy
Today we reach the Scoresby Sund and sail in the morning along the ragged and glaciated Volquart Boons Coast, a good place for seeing Narwhal. Here we may organize a zodiac cruise along one of the glacier fronts of this coast, and have our first landing near a glacier.
Later we land on Danmarks Ø where there are 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 continue our sailing through the beautiful fjords to the west, choked with ice-bergs.
Day 9 Cape Hofmann Halvø - Eielson Glacier - Scoresby Land
We go ashore at Cape Hofmann Halvø, 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 color. Arctic Blueberry and Crowberry add their own colorful touch - the berries are tasty too !
Later, during a Zodiac cruise along the 3km wide face of the Eielson Glacier, we will come close to huge icebergs and may also see Ringed Seals, as well as distant views of Musk Oxen on shore. In the evening we sail through the fjord towards Scoresby Land, hoping to see Narwhal again and 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.
Day 10 Scoresby Land - Sydkap - Jameson Land
In Northwest fjord in Scoresby Land in the morning, we encounter huge icebergs, some over 100m high and more than a kilometer in length. Most of the bergs are grounded as the fjord is only about 400m deep here. We 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, but the climate is harsh - sometimes snow lies throughout the summer - but some animals - Musk Oxen and Collared Lemmings - survive on the meager vegetation.
Day 11 Scoresby Sund - Blosseville Coast
In the morning we land in Illoqqortoormiut, 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 lunch we will sail south passing the amazing landscape of the Blosseville Coast.
Day 12 Nansen Fjord
At the mouth of Nansen Fjord we spot Gunnbjørns Fjeld, at 3,700m it is both the highest peak in Greenland and also the highest mountain north of the Arctic Circle. We sail into Nansen Fjord another magnificent landscape with an enormous calving glacier front, which we can easily approach. At the inner side of the fjord along the northern shore there are ample landing and zodiac cruising opportunities. We meet often tame Rock Ptarmigans with young, and on the ice-floes Bearded Seals. This area gives us the best chances to see Polar Bears in Greenland on this voyage.
Day 13 At Sea
We are at sea the whole day, and will have splendid opportunities to see large whales and seabird migration and, in the night, the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights).
Day 14 Keflavik
Arrive in Keflavik and transfer for the flight home.
When East Greenland ice conditions are heavy (about 25 % chance each year):
Day 5 & 6 East Greenland Ice
We continue to sail south along the East Greenland Ice, until we can reach the coast of East Greenland. As we continue sailing along the ice we will have good chances to observe seals, Polar Bears, Ivory Gulls, and large whales.
Day 7 Nansen Fjord
At the mouth of Nansen Fjord we spot Gunnbjørns Fjeld, at 3,700m: it is both the highest peak in Greenland and also the highest mountain north of the Arctic Circle. Next we sail into Mikis Fjord, bounded by steep cliffs. The fjord is a place where we sometimes spot Narwhal, Polar Bear, Ringed Seals and Harp Seals. In the afternoon, we will land at Sødalen in a marshy delta at the head of Mikis Fjord. This is a fine area for walking, both around the delta and further into the valley. There are good populations of both Common and Arctic Redpolls here, as well as a chance of seeing Migrating flock of Barnacle and Pink-footed Geese.
Day 8 Kangerlussuaq Fjord
In the morning we sail into the Kangerlussuaq fjord where glaciers reach the sea creating a fabulous landscape of glacier fronts, icebergs and cliffs. On shore there are the remains of dwellings of Thule culture people. The fjord is also a place to see sometimes Polar Bears and Ivory Gulls. After several landings we sail out of the fjord in the evening.
Day 9 Tassilap Fjord - Kangertigtivatsiaq Fjords - Glacier de France
Today we explore the Tassilap and Kangertigtivatsiaq fjords, both hemmed in by towering mountains. We land at Sangmilik, one of the few landing sites in these fjords. On shore there is a chance to pick delicious Arctic Blueberries and Crowberries. We then take a Zodiac trip along the impressive front of the Glacier de France in Schweizerland. This is an area packed with huge icebergs and frequented by hunters from the Ammassalik area.
Day 10 Ammassalik
Ammassalik is the capital of East Greenland and the centre of an area of small hunting and fishing settlements, a population of about 3,000 living by hunting Walrus, Narwhal and Polar Bear, and fishing for Arctic Char. We will spend the whole day in and near this friendly village which offers an excellent opportunity to experience modern Greenlandic culture.
Day 11 Køge Bugt - Husryggen
In Køge Bugt (Ikeq) the Greenland ice cap reaches the sea. Though a true glacier the ice cap is not dangerous and easy to walk on. Those who have visited Antarctica will note the similarities of the landscape, with giant tabular icebergs calving from vast glacier fronts. We intend to land at Husryggen and abandoned settlement from the sixties. At Umivik we look for the place, where Nansen started his ascent of the Greenlandic ice-cap
Day 12 Denmark Strait
If the weather prospects for crossing the Denmark Strait are good, we have time to visit the isolated Greenlandic settlement of Isortoq, where we come closest to the original way of living of the Greenlandic hunters. At mid-day we head east to Iceland.
Day 13 Denmark Strait
We return across Denmark Strait, again keeping a sharp lookout for whales and, at this time of year, hoping to catch a sight of the Aurora Borealis (the Northern Lights).
Day 14 Keflavik
Arrive in Keflavik and transfer to the airport for the flight home.
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