august 2 - 19. august 2023
This is a really exciting expedition crossing both the Norwegian and Greenland Seas, where we will visit Jan-Mayen, Greenland, and Iceland! This is our longest expedition, as it lasts over two weeks, and we get the chance to explore both the volcanic island of Jan-Mayen and the super remote East-Greenland coast. During the voyage we really get to feel what it’s like out on the big ocean. In recent years the edge of the pack ice has been too far north to be able to sail westwards along it, but we will still get close to large ice sheets, icebergs, and glaciers when we arrive in Greenland.
We are ready for this summer’s expedition, with our latest addition to the SeilNorge fleet, Alma. This slightly smaller replica of Amundsen’s expedition ship “Gjøa” is a newly-built traditional sailboat. It is a really solid 52-foot wooden boat, which weighs 45 tons and has plenty of deck space to enjoy the view of arctic volcanoes and icebergs. Comfort onboard is ensured, with ample space under deck, central heating, a social galley midship, and comfortable beds with warm duvets and pillows. Now we will hoist the sails on Alma and sail in Amundsen’s wake to Greenland!
On this expedition we have three stages of offshore sailing: Norway to Jan-Mayen, Jan-Mayen to Greenland, and Greenland to Iceland. We spend the days in between exploring these remote places. If the sea is calm enough for us to land on Jan-Mayen, we can explore this unique volcanic island. The geology and biology here are extremely different from what we are used to back on the mainland. We can take a break from the high seas at anchor here, and maybe we will even get to visit the Norwegian military and meteorological base here.
We also get to experience the greatness of Greenland on this expedition. Between the fjords, mountains, and glaciers on the east coast of Greenland, our time will be well-spent. This is an area that very few have visited before us, and we are vulnerable, fall from civilization, and completely alone. We have to be careful and maneuver slowly, but we will have the south-flowing Greenland current with us, and long, bright evenings.
In Greenland we will sail into Scoresby Sound (Kangertittivaq), a huge fjord with impressive glaciers and mountains. Here, large icebergs drift calmly back and forth, and there is so much to see and discover. The largest settlement on the east coast of Greenland, Ittoqqortoormiit, lies at the entrance to Scoresby sound, and it is one of the world’s most inaccessible villages.
After a couple of days in Scoresby Sound, we hoist our sails again and set course for Iceland and the port city of Ísafjörður. The crossing takes just under 2 days, and once we reach Iceland’s westfjords we will take a well-deserved trip on land to stretch our legs and celebrate a successful and spectacular expedition!
From SeilNorge we run this trip with 2-3 skippers and guide/crew on this trip, all good sailors, of which at least one has solid sailing time and experience on similar expeditions. We will act as guides and polar bear guards when we are on land. Along the way, either under sail or motoring, we will make sure that all participants are included in the sailing. We will often sail at all hours all the day, and all participants on board will be split into shift teams that sail in a 4 hours on, 8 hours off rotation.
For photos and more information about Alma, check this link.
This expedition, like our other longer trips, is first and foremost a great voyage of discovery, but also an excellent opportunity to learn a lot about sailing and navigation. The boat will be our starting point for discoveries and experiences on land. Are you ready for the late summer expedition to Jan-Mayen, Greenland, and Iceland?
You can find a great film clip that we made from Svalbard in 2017 here.
The Arctic is a vulnerable area which is under pressures from humans and the changing climate. At SeilNorge, we are concerned with 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 clean up rubbish and waste in the places we visit, instead of leaving anything behind. In Svalbard and Greenland, we follow AECO’s guidelines for encounters with wildlife, beach cleaning, and cultural heritage sites. You can read more about AECO’s guidelines here.
Great program, nice atmosphere, fantastic nature experiences, professional and skilled skipper and co-skipper that involve the crew in a good way. Memories for life with great people in a good atmosphere”
Day 1: Tour start in Bodø, and sailing past the “Lofoten Wall”
We meet at 10:00 at the pier in Bodø. We get to know each other a little, and then go through the plan for the trip. We get acquainted with the boat and equipment, and pack the boat with provisions and necessary equipment. Life on board during a trip requires cooperation, and before departure we will go over routines and procedures on board, for sailing, and for emergencies. We leave the quay, and sail past Helligvær and across the Vestfjord towards Værøy. If we have time, we might get to stretch our legs in Værøy before we sail towards the open ocean on the first night.
Day 2 - 5: From the mainland to Jan-Mayen
It is quite a sail from the mainland to the volcanic island of Jan-Mayen! We spend between 3 and 5 days on the open ocean, from when we pass the “Lofoten Wall” to when we finally see the trop of Beerenberg. The actual crossing is around 480 nautical miles, so weather and wind determine how fast we make it! Along the way we will learn a lot about open-sea sailing, navigation, and if we’re lucky we might even spot some dolphins playing in the surf around the bow!
Day 6 -7: Jan-Mayen: the volcano island in the middle of the ocean
When we finally have reached Jan-Mayen, the biggest question of all is whether we will actually be able to see this island that is home to Norway’s only active volcano! Being located in the middle of the sea, the island is often surrounded by fog, which can sometimes make it tricky to spot! But one of the sides of the island is often visible, and we will try to find an anchorage among bird cliffs and lava-rock beaches. Depending on when we arrive on the island, we will try to make a short trip ashore after some well-deserved rest. There are plenty of nice hiking destinations here, so we will get to stretch our legs!
Day 8 - 10: Across the Greenland Sea
The next leg of the trip is a bit shorter than our previous crossing, but these water’s are even more remote and we will probably meet even fewer boats. From Jan-Mayen to east Greenland it is 250 nautical miles, and we sail further west towards Liverpool Land, north of Scoresby Sound. We will spend 2 - 3 days here, and depending on the ice conditions there is a big chance that we will encounter the sea ice that extends south along east Greenland, stemming from the polar ice cap.
Day 11: Between ice floes and icebergs to Ittoqqortoormiit
After our second ocean crossing, it will be extra special to see the jagged coast of Greenland. We sail south along the mountains and lurk between ice floes and icebergs on the way to the inlet of Scoresby Sound. Here we anchor outside one of the world’s most remote villages, Ittoqqortoormiit. The village has just over 400 inhabitants, all of whom live in small, colorful wooden houses. We arrive in the village in one of the warmest periods of the year, when people are out enjoying the sun before the harsh winter returns.
Day 12 - 15: Scoresby Sound - the world’s largest fjord
On this part of the expedition we will sail into the fjords, among the glaciers, and past the mountains of the world’s largest fjord system. This is an area that few people have been to, and far from roads and civilization we experience some of the most spectacular nature in the world. Scoresby Sound is worth several days of exploration, and we will try to see as many different and interesting places as possible, including Hekla Havn, the Bear Islands, Øjord, and a bunch of lesser-known places we sail past.
Day 16 - 18: Sail from Scoresby Sound to Ísafjörður in Iceland
We leave the huge fjord massif of Scoresby in time to arrive in Ísafjörður on schedule. The crossing is about 250 nautical miles and it will take us 2 to 3 days depending on the weather and wind. Along the way we might see more icebergs, but also whales that both sleep on the surface, and swim and dive. Ísafjörður is a charming small port town in northwest Iceland, and when we finally moor here we will have some well-deserved relaxing for both body and soul: here there are wonderful swimming pools with both hot and cold water, and good restaurants and bars that we can check out! Good job, and welcome ashore!
The program should be seen as a rough itinerary that we can adapt to the weather and conditions. We also reserve the right to change and improve our itineraries. We will have a dinghy for beach trips and small expeditions, fishing gear for cod, and gear to hike or make bonfires on the beach on all our trips - we are ready for adventure! Are you?
Deposit and payment
You pay a 6000NOK deposit when you book the trip, and the rest of the payment is due 60 days before the trip begins.
Travel - in general
Sometimes we have to fly, but not always. If you have the luxury of time, we always encourage you to travel as environmentally friendly as possible. Traveling slowly also allows you to start your holiday in a special way. Cycling, taking the train, or driving a car together can be good options! Feel free to add some extra time before and after your trip, since up north the weather can be unpredictable and might affect your plans!
Nordlandsbanen train line goes all the way to Bodø. By night from Oslo to Trondheim, this is a great journey from southern Norway. For timetables and prices see www.vy.no. If you live along the coast, the speed ferries or Hurtigruta are possible options either northbound or southbound. Another option is a flight to Bodø, and there are some reasonable tickets. From Iceland there are many different routes. If you want to sail more, you can join us on the rest of this expedition, which goes from Iceland and all the way home to Norway, via the Faroe Islands and Shetland.
From Iceland there are many different routes. One option is the daily ferry route from Denmark via Faroe Islands. There are also several daily departures and arrivals by plane from the Nordics, Europe and America. If you want to sail more, you can join us on our further expeditions from Iceland, towards Scotland, Norway, Faroes and Shetland!
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 a boat and on trips, everyone must know what to do in potentially dangerous situations. For us it is important that you as a guest and participant are trained quickly enough to be a participant - not a passenger. It contributes to learning, a sense of achievement, and increased safety for all. It's also why our trips are considered to be sailing courses: you are trained to be one of the crewmembers on board. Feel free to contact us to discuss risk.
Safety and risk - expeditions
On our expedition trips, we often spend multiple days on sea-crossings, and we sail into areas far from people and with extra risk factors, such as sea ice and unreliable navigations charts. This requires our crew to have extra focus and awareness of the potential situations that might arise. We sail in these areas only in the most optimal seasons, and use only our largest and most sturdy boats, which are both equipped and dimensioned to cope with this type of expedition sailing. We are fully aware that sailing is the safest and most accessible way to visit these very inaccessible places. However, sailing in general, and especially sailing in the Arctic and over the high seas, involves a certain risk that you must be willing to take. Feel free to contact us for a chat and guidance regarding risk.
Level of this trip
This is a sailing expedition where we will undertake multi-day sea crossings, which can be an incredibly wonderful and special experience! You do not need to have sailed before to be on board, and we are joined by both people who have never sailed before and experienced sailors. If you are a beginner, we want to make you a seaman / woman as soon as possible, and if you are experienced, you will quickly get more responsibility and greater challenges. The group and crew will be divided into watch teams so that we can learn from each other and help each other out.
The boats we sail on our expeditions are large, robust, and sail well in the open seas.. However, we do not control the weather, and we must be prepared for wind and potential heavy seas that we might encounter offshore. From light breezes to sailing in hard weather with several meters of swell, and the proximity to the forces of nature on such an expedition is something most people find very unique and rewarding!
As with all activities, there is plenty of specialized equipment and clothing for sailing. We do not expect you to buy lots of new equipment to join any of our trips, so, use what you have, borrow what you need from a friend, try to purchase used equipment, and if you have to invest in new equipment - buy quality items that will last. What you need is something waterproof and windproof on the outside, and layered clothing underneath. Some jackets may not be waterproof enough, or might not perform well in saltwater, so you might want to consider purchasing or renting a set of “oilskins” from us to use on the wettest days (included for borrowing onboard Alma). A pair of higher rubber boots for landings from the dinghy is very nice to have, in addition to slippers to wear below deck. Out on the high seas and in the Arctic, it is cold even in summer, so bring both swimwear and plenty of warm clothes. We will send you a detailed recommended packing list in good time before departure.
Food and cooking
On our trips you will be part of the crew onboard and get the chance to participate in all aspects of the running of the sailboat. This includes the cooking, where everyone is taking turns in the galley! Skippers and guides assist as much as they can along the way. Before the trip we set up a menu and purchase what is needed. We offer good menus with healthy “boat friendly” food. If you have allergies or preferences, let us know in the registration form and we will take that into account. During the trip, we often sail by a good restaurant or two where we stop and eat.
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, cleaning the boat, or contributing in other ways when required. You will be split into a watch team, with the teams working in rotations of 4 hours on and 8 hours off, with a rotating system to make sure that the night-shifts are divided equally among all watch teams. Our trips require a little work from the participants - and you must be open to contribute and open up a bit socially. We have many different people with us on our trips, and most people get along very well. Our experience is that doing things with others out in nature, and not least doing 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 one should 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 boat as soon as possible. It requires some patience, generosity, and an open mind to thrive, but the new acquaintances and completely raw nature experiences will take your focus as soon as you become comfortable with life at sea.
Accommodation on the boat is part of the fun. Accommodation is in separate single berths in two large cabins / common rooms, with several shared bathrooms. Figuring out who sleeps where can be a bit of a puzzle, but we do believe we’ve gotten quite good at it. Let us know if you have any special needs or reservations.
We have plenty of heating and good food on the boat, but not always abundance of fresh water. This means it will not be possible to shower every day, but more or less every other day we are either in a harbor with fresh water or we sail through a place where we can borrow showers or enjoy a sauna. A morning swim in the sea is free and is available all year round!
What kind of people join this trip - and how many are we on board?
Many come alone, some travel as couples, and others travel as a group of friends. The common denominator for everyone is that these are fun and interesting people you will become friends with almost no matter what. Sharing grand experiences creates strong ties! Many people wonder about the age composition of our trips, but this isn’t 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 in making this a great trip for everyone. Most of our participants are usually between 25-55 years old. The number of participants varies from trip to trip, but on these trips we are usually between 6 and 11 people.
Environment and sustainability
In general sailing is an environmentally friendly activity,, 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 much as we can. We also run 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 sustainably, knowledge, patience, flexibility, and hard work are required. The same can be said about many other things that one tries to do in a sustainable way.