februar 2 - 6. februar 2022
The feeling of sailing underneath the dancing northern lights accompanied only by the sound of wind and waves, is hard to describe in words. On this trip, we hope to give you the experience of this feeling. Onboard our comfortable expedition vessel Valiente, between the majestic peaks of Lyngen and northern Troms.
Northern Norway, and especially the area around Tromsø, is the epicentre for the famous Aurora Borealis, and we will sail straight into the middle of the Aurora’s stage. From Tromsø to Lyngen, Skjervøy, Ringvassøy and Reinfjord, we will visit historical fishing settlements, anchorages and small harbours free from light pollution, and sail underneath the alpine snow-covered peaks that plunge into the sea.
We will aim for the parts of these northern fjords which the herring call their winter home. These schools of small fish attract huge predators; orcas and humpback whales. As the whales come to our coast to feed, they will most easily be found where the herring are. Over the past few years, the main wintering area of the herring has moved from Tromsø to Skjervøy, but nobody knows exactly where the feeding frenzy will take place this year. Luckily we are ready to spend the necessary time at sea to get to wherever the whales and herring are!
The winter months up here in the North are characterized by the polar night, where the sun rises above the horizon only briefly each day, if at all. This is not only a good thing for catching the Aurora, but it also makes all the light we actually get during the day super beautiful. Imagine a day with three hours of continuous sunrise/sunset among some of the most stunning landscapes our beautiful coastline has to offer!
Along the way we will also have bonfires on the beach, catch our own fish for dinner, and do some hiking on land.
To be well-prepared for the Arctic winter we will use the proudness of our fleet; our sturdy and comfortable 70 feet expedition yacht Valiente. More info and pictures of the boat can be found here. The boat has enough space and privacy to make you feel at home, and sufficient power to charge all cameras and gadgets. On board Valiente everybody will find ideal spots to rest and tune into the pure and honest nature surrounding us.
Our skipper onboard knows all the secret anchorages for night-skygazing, fun facts about the whales, and the folktales about the Aurora.
As with all our trips, you will get to learn how to sail along the way, and join in on all tasks onboard. Our professional skipper is no stranger to sailing in the Arctic winter and is keen to show you the ropes. Whether this is your first trip on a sailboat or you’re already an experienced seafarer, you are bound to be challenged by sailing the rough Norwegian Sea in the polar darkness! Don’t feel like spending every day out in the cold wind and snow? That’s no problem. Keeping the rest of the crew warm and happy with a hot chocolate can also be an essential task on an expedition like this.
The whole trip was a truly great experience! It was awesome to go without knowing anybody, and meet a group of so lovely people. The skippers were incredibly skilfull, and they always smiled. For me, who's never been north of Trondheim it was really big to experience this raw landscape, the northern light and come so close on to the whales. SailNorway delivered a great and raw experience, which I will take with me for the rest of my life!
Day 1: Welcome on board!
We meet in the harbor of Tromsø at 15:00. We will get to know each other and the boat. The crew will talk you through the vessel, safety routines onboard, and we will go through the program for the week. We aim to leave Tromsø that evening making way through Grøtsundet and have a beautiful view of the Lyngen Alps - bound for Skjervøy. We spend a bit of the night underway, hoping to start the trip with some northern lights!
Day 2: Set sail towards the whales and the roadless fishing village of Reinfjord
After an exciting night of Aurora-hunting and hopefully some restful sleep, we have an easy start and set sail after a good breakfast. We aim to approach the spawning grounds of the herring and may see our first whales! Later, we sail to the roadless village of Reinfjord, where they have a long history with fishing, and where we also spend the night. Maybe we will also manage to catch our own fish for dinner this afternoon?
Day 3: Whales, the Lyngen Alps and sauna night
Not possible to sail through the Alps you say? This is the day where we’ll prove you wrong, with a sail through the Lyngen Alps. This part of Norway offers spectacular fjords, sounds, and mountains where your eyes will never be satisfied and want to see more - more - more of this. After a good day of alpine sailing, hopefully with more whale sightings, we will dock at the pier of the famous Hamnes Handlested on Uløya. Here they have heated up the sauna and jacuzzi for us so all is set for a swim in the sea underneath the stars!
Day 4: The magical winter season light
The best part of this season here in the North is the shifting and always beautiful light. Even though we don't see the sun much here in winter, the light we actually get is often like an everlasting dawn and dusk! Perfect for great pictures and landscape views. We will spend our last full day together exploring the archipelago north of Tromsø, where we aim to have a landfall, hike, and enjoy a bonfire on the beach. We anchor away from the city lights, around Ringvassøya or Kvaløysundet, for our last night - hopefully with an Aurora-show in the sky!
Day 5: Return to Tromsø, and goodbye for now
Unfortunately this is the day when you’ll pack your bags and get ready to disembark. After breakfast, we sail for a couple of hours back to Tromsø after breakfast and arrive back in Tromsø just after lunch. The trip will end at 15.00 at the latest. You will leave Valiente with your heart full of unforgettable memories and some new friends. Savour this feeling!
You pay a 6000NOK deposit when you book, and the rest is paid 60 days before the trip start.
Travel - In general
Sometimes we have to fly, but not always. If you have the luxury of time, we always encourage to travel as environmentally friendly as possible. Traveling slowly also gives another start to a holiday. Cycling, taking the train or driving a car together are good alternatives! Feel free to add some extra time before and after, since up in the north weather that can sometimes change your plans…
Getting to or from Tromsø, the fastest option is flying if you are going to the eastern part of Norway, but if you have time to travel slowly we recommend that. Taking the train "nordlandsbanen" to Bodø and Hurtigruten further to Tromsø from there is a recommended option!
Safety and risk - In general
We take safety seriously and on our trips we train on handling different situations that can occur at sea. On board the boat and trips, everyone must know what to do in potentially dangerous situations. For us it is important that you as a guest and participant is trained quickly enough to be a participating crew, not a passenger. It contributes to learning, sense of achievement and increased safety for all. This is also why our trips are considered to be sailing courses, you are trained to be one of the crew members on board.
Level of this trip
This is our easiest winter sails, for you who are interested in wildlife and nature! Sailing wise, our trips are not difficult, and you are always welcome to join us! We have with us both people who have never sailed before and experienced sailors. However, you must be prepared for everything from no wind to sailing in harsh weather. If you are a beginner, we will try to make you a seaman/woman as soon as possible. If you are experienced you will be given responsibility and greater challenges.
In Northern Norway and the Arctics we must be prepared for all seasons, often during a single day. It’s a part of the experience; it’s wild, beautiful and raw – in all aspects, also with regards to weather. Prepare for the contrasts! For us the most important thing is to enjoy the ride and the sailing. Use what you have, borrow if you can, and invest in something new if you must. In good time before departure we will send you a detailed recommended packing list for this trip.
Food and cooking
On our trips everyone contributes to the operation of the boat, so as long as you have not booked one of our trips with a designated chef, all take their turns in the galley during the trip. Skippers and guides assist as much as they can along the way. In advance of the trip, we set up a menu and shop what is needed. We try to offer good menus with healthy and “boat friendly” food. If you have allergies or preferences let us know in the registration form, and we will take that into account. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
What we expect from you
We want you to take part in the routines onboard the sailboat, whether it is sailing, docking, navigating, looking for whales and icebergs, washing up, cooking, clean the boat or contribute in other ways when required. Our trips require a little effort from all participants - and you should be open to contribute and open up a bit socially. We have many different people with us on our trips, and most people go very well together. Our experience is that doing things with others out in nature, and not least do things with new people with different personalities than one might be used to, is what creates the best, most interesting and memorable stories :)
Life on board and accommodation
Life on board a sailboat is social and pleasant, but for some it can be perceived as quite intimate and crowded, which is important to be prepared for. On our trips everyone participates in the operation of the sailboat and everyone is considered crew. We would like to get to know you well and hope that you will get to know everyone else on the sailboat as soon as possible. It requires some patience, generosity and an open mind to thrive, but the new acquaintances and completely raw nature experiences are quickly what will take your focus as soon as you become comfortable with life at sea.
Accommodation on the boat is part of the fun. The accommodation is generally in shared cabins, some of which have a double bed and some have a bunk bed solution. The distribution is quite a puzzle, but we do believe we are quite good at it. Let us know if you have any special needs or reservations.Any accommodation before and after the trip must be arranged on its own. If you have any doubts about where to stay, we’re happy to give you some recommendations.
On the boat we have a lot of heat and a lot of good food, but not always abundance of fresh water.
What kind of people join this trip?
Many come alone, some travel as couples, some travel as a group of friends. The common denominator for everyone is that these are fun and committed people you become friends with almost no matter what. Sharing grand experiences creates strong ties! Many people wonder about the age composition of our trips, but that is not so important to us. It doesn't matter if you are young or old as long as you want to go on a trip and intend to do your part so that you and the rest of the crew will have a good trip together.
Environment and sustainability
Both sailing and hiking/alpine/backcountry trips are environmentally friendly activities and we sail as much as we can and use the engine as little as possible. We encourage crew and participants to travel as environmentally-friendly as possible, and we use local ingredients and resources as far as possible. We also have our own trips where we collect litter and clean ocean trash from beaches.
Philosophically we often say that sailing is an exercise in sustainability; we move with the wind and we have limitations on things like water, diesel, electricity and food. In order to run sustainable - knowledge, patience, agility and hard work are required. The same applies to almost everything you try to do in a sustainable way.
Changes to the program
The program should be seen as a starting point that we adapt to weather and conditions. We also reserve the right to constantly improve our itineraries. On board with us we always have a dinghy for beach landings and small expeditions, we have fishing gear for the cod, and gear to hike or make a bonfires on the beach - we are ready for adventure! Are you?