From Svalbard to Jan Mayen and Beerenberg - the arctic vulcano

68,800 NOK

juni 18 - 30. juni 2023

13 days

Right between Norway and Greenland you will find a tiny dot on the map. It is one of the most inaccessible islands in the entire North Atlantic: Jan-Mayen. This is the expedition for the most adventurous, which sets out to the westernmost outpost we have in Norway. Not only is this trip a unique and unusual sailing adventure, but we will also try to climb to the top of the mountain Beerenberg; Norway's only active and the northernmost volcano in the world!

The expedition is carried out with our 70 foot expedition boat Valiente and the voyage from Svalbard to Jan-Mayen takes 4-6 days. When arriving Jan Mayen we set up camp on the beach as a base for hiking and trekking around this beautiful and inaccessible island, and we prepare to climb the 2277 meter high peak. For the return on this departure we sail further south towards Iceland, and after around 3-4 more days at sea, we end the trip in the little cosy fishing village of Isafjordur on Iceland's northwest coast.

During the voyage from Longyearbyen to Jan Mayen, we will really get a feeling of the open sea. What kind of weather to expect is never easy to know, but we are sailing at a favorable time of year for this part of the Arctic, so we are hoping for good winds and calm sea, and as much time as possible on Jan Mayen. These will be adventurous days at sea where we will get to know each other well. Everyone on board is a participant and we all take shifts on watchkeeping, so expect to see whales as you keep a steady course looking out for Jan Mayen in the distance. In these waters at this time of year, we have full midnight sun and large parts of the day will be bright, which is always a good starting point for an adventure trip like this.

Upon arrival on Jan Mayen, we set up a camp as a starting point for exploration and discoveries on land, and for the ascent of Beerenberg which is priority #1, which we start as soon as we have a suitable weather window!

As a tour organizer we take care of the logistics, and we provide all the common equipment needed for this kind of trip. When meeting, all participants go through all the equipment, distribute and pack, and we work as a team when establishing the camp, cook and do other practical tasks. The boat will be available near the camp, so if necessary it will be possible to carry people and goods back and forth. However, the weather determines whether it is safe to get back and forth between the boat and land, and we must constantly consider risk. 

Our skilled guide and expedition leader will in collaboration with the group plan the trips on land. There will be a great focus on safety and we review the plans carefully so that everyone feels informed and involved in everything that is going on. As a team we are united. The summit climb is not necessarily very technically challenging, but parts of the ascent pass glaciers where we will be using ropes, crampons and ice axe, and walk in rope teams. The biggest challenge is the length of the climb. We expect to use around 30 hours up and down, without the possibility to set up tent along the way because of the special regulations on the island. Much of the time and effort will be hiking from the campsite to the foot of the mountain, and once we get there we have one of the country's toughest hills ahead of us at 2200 meters.

A good alternative is to sleep for a few hours under the open sky or in windsacks along the way. On the trip we did in 2019, the group chose to sleep a few hours on the glacier, and it worked well. It is definitely to prefer a couple hours of sleep during this long trip.

This is an expedition where several factors must play together for success; The weather is the biggest factor of uncertainty for both the summit hike and the voyage to Jan Mayen, but also the group and each person's physical shape play a part. In addition, the technical with boat and equipment has to work out. We will do our utmost to make sure that everything fall into place, but as always on an expedition like this, we cannot guarantee that we will reach the top.

Jan Mayen is no man's land. If someone gets injured, it’s not just to be picked up by helicopter, even if the Norwegian station there has some resources. Given where we are and the forces of nature in the Arctic, we take every precaution and prepare for a tough hike up and down the mountain.

From SailNorway we will be 2-3 skippers and crew, all good sailors, of which at least two of us will have solid seagoing experience and also experience from similar expeditions. In addition, we bring a guide who is responsible for the trip on land.

It's not just any sailboat we use on this trip, but our 70-feet expedition boat Valiente. She is a very steady and comfortable boat built in steel, made for sailing in arctic waters. The boat is well equipped and has a large outdoor area, a wheelhouse and a 360-degree-view lounge. For pictures and more info about Valiente see link here.

This expedition is, like our other longer trips, primarily a great voyage of discovery, but also an excellent opportunity to learn a lot about sailing and navigation, and not least using a boat as a starting point for discoveries and experiences on land. Are you ready for the summer’s expedition to Jan Mayen?

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

The best way to summarize my trip is to thank Sail Norway for a thoroughly WELL executed arrangement… Sail Norway, you deserve my highest recommendation - you should have such a trip every year!

Petter Bjørstad, participant 2019

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