In the wake of Amundsen; Crossing the Barents Sea with Alma to Svalbard

29,500 NOK

april 25 - 2. mai 2022

8 days

Welcome on board for a totally unique experience! We invite you to an authentic expedition, as in the good old polar-explorers days. With our traditional expedition ship Alma, we are going to cross the Barents Sea, from mainland Norway to Svalbard! Alma is a slightly smaller replica of the expedition ship, Gjøa, of the famous Norwegian polar-explorer Amundsen. As Amundsen and his crew sailed north with Gjøa to be the first to pass through the northwest passage, we are now sailing our traditional expedition vessel up to the ice-filled waters of Svalbard!

On this trip you will have the opportunity to arrive at Svalbard in a way that few have done before you now in modern times. But that was the only possibility to visit the archipelago back in the days. With the sailboat as a means of transport, we get close to the natural forces crossing the Barents Sea. Not to mention how we get close to nature and wildlife during the whole crossing and especially for the last days along the coast up to Longyearbyen. We will get wind in our sails, saltwater in our hair and lots of experiences  along the way!

We cover a distance of about 600 nautical miles in total during this adventure. The crossing of the Barents Sea is a wonderful experience, and we’ll sail through the bright polar night on our way to the goal; Svalbard. As we leave mainland Norway, we’ll only have the ocean in front of us until we arrive at Bjørnøya (translated: Bear Island), which is about halfway. When reaching the southernmost tip of Svalbard we’ll be greeted by the typical Svalbard nature with its iconic mountains, deep fjords and glaciers. We sail into one of the fjords of South-West Spitsbergen; Hornsund or Bellsund, where glaciers meet and crash into the sea. A spectacular sight. If time allows we also visit the Russian settlement of Barentsburg, before we arrive in Longyearbyen.

The best part of this trip however is what boat we are actually sailing! Our last addition to the fleet; Alma, is an almost new traditional sailing vessel, in Norwegian a Hardangerjakt, at 45 tons. She’s built by the boat builders at Karmøy, Western Norway, until 2012 and is equipped for expeditions to the world’s most remote waters. This is a real outdoors adventure vessel! And a ship where we can really experience some of the feelings that Amundsen and his crew onboard Gjøa had when they were on their 3-year expedition through the Northwest Passage more than a 100 years ago. In an almost identical ship, only around 20 feet larger than our Alma.

Alma is however a very safe and sturdy boat with enough comfort for us modern people. With a lot of room and sace below deck, a cosy galley midship, sentral water based heating and comfortable beds with warm down duves and pillows. Pictures and more information about Alma can be found on her webpage here.

Our skipper and co-skipper onboard will include everyone in the sailing along the way. Some of the best part with this type of adventure, and totally necessary on a traditional vessel like tjhis. From start we will divide into watchteams, and as long as we are more than a total of 9 persons onboard, you as a participant will have 4 hours on duty and 8 hours off. When we get to Bear Island (Bjørnøya) and into the fjord of Svalbard we will adapt the shifts to the best possible so we can be flexible and go explore land.

Whether you are a traditional-boat enthusiast, want new sailing experiences, or learn more about sailing and crossing of oceans with a big boat, this is an ideal arena for learning and new insight. The sailing comes in addition to the experiences along the way, which makes this a great nature experience!

This trip will take place in late April/early May, and during this time of year we can get quite some weather and strong winds out in the Barents Sea. Our expedition vessel Valiente however, is an incredibly sturdy boat that handles all these conditions. The question will rather be if all of you as our fellow sailors can tackle the weather? :)

The Arctic is a vulnerable area under pressure from people and climate change. In SeilNorge we are committed to taking care of the environment as much as possible and we believe that small boats with few people and little pollution and waste are much less harmful to the environment, climate and local wildlife, than larger boats and cruise ships. We also try to gather garbage at the places we visit, instead of leaving something behind. On Svalbard we follow AECO's guidelines for encounters with wildlife, beach cleaning, cultural heritage sites and for arctic operators. More about AECO's guidelines can be read here.

To be a part of, and experience multiple nights out on open sea was the biggest experience for me. Combining that with ascending mountainpeaks, and the trip to Bear-island was very unique, and something i never would’ve experienced without SailNorway. There were plenty of smaller, beautiful moments underway - especially when we sat down to cook, tell a good story or crack open a bottle of Akevitt!

Pernille Arnet

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