Svalbard: To the polar ice edge or the islands furthest north

50,300 NOK

juli 2 - 11. juli 2024

10 days

Welcome on board our expedition where we will sail either all the way up to the polar ice edge or towards the Sjuøyane - the northernmost islands of Svalbard and Norway. Experiencing the atmosphere, tranquility, and sounds along the ice edge is one of the coolest things you can do, and the polar ice edge is therefore the goal and focus of this expedition. At the same time, the ice edge is in constant flux, and some of the last years it has been too far away to reach already in early the summer. If this is the case, we will instead sail to Nordaustlandet and Sjuøyane, which is Norway’s northernmost archipelago. During the trip we will spend several days along the northwest coast which offers us majestic fjords and mountains, glaciers, wildlife, and places rich in history and culture. These views and experiences will give us a bit of variety and contrast to the more extreme areas we will visit further north.

For this particular trip, the goal is to get all the way up to the ice edge and the Sjuøyane, which are the northernmost islands on Svalbard. How many of the seven Sjuøyane we reach, and if we reach the polar ice edge at all, will depend entirely on the ice and how far south it spreads. Som years the ice is covering almost all of the norhternmost islands, and some years the ice is maybe too far north to reach it at all. We do at least hope to reach the northernmost point and island of Norway; Rossøya! However, it is just as exciting every year! 

The ice edge around the polar ice cap is in itself some of the most thriving and diverse environments up in the high-arctic. Here we’ll find a rich wildlife both above and below water. Did you know that the ice even hosts its own specially adapted algae species that grow on the underside of the sea-ice? The polar cod, with antifreeze in its veins, are also an important part of the ecosystem here, which are hunted by seals and whales. On this trip we will experience an abundance of sea birds, maybe even encounter the very rare and nearly threatened ivory gull. And we of course also keeping a constant lookout for the queen of the arctic; the polar bear!

Along the northwestern coast we will be far beyond the areas normally accessible from Longyearbyen, and you will get to experience something completely unique - so it doesn’t really matter if you have been to Svalbard many times before, or if this is your first time to the “land north of the northern wind”. On the way up the northwest coast we sail past many fjords and glaciers; the most famous ones being Kongsfjorden, Krossfjorden, Lilliehöökfjorden, Magdalenafjorden, and Bockfjorden. Of the countless glaciers, the Kongsbreen, Lillehöökbreen and Monacobreen are the largest.

On Svalbard there is the midnight sun until mid-August, so it will be bright for 24 hours a day. You will have a great encounter with the beautiful and uninhabited Arctic landscape. Along the northwest coast there could also be quite some cod, which hopefully will bite and be useful in the kitchen, as we prepare delicious food underway. With the sailboat as our mobile base, we get close to nature and wildlife in a careful way, and we are flexible in terms of weather conditions and where we anchor and go ashore.

We don’t use just any sailboat on this trip, but rather 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 check out the link here.

SailNorway will provide the skipper and first mate (co-skipper), as well as a dedicated Svalbard guide with extensive experience from Svalbard. The crew-members will work as guides and polar bear guards when we are ashore in the terrain. Along the way, sailing or on motor, we will include all participants in the sailing. We will generally sail at all times of the day, and everyone onboard will be running watches of 4 hours on and 8 hours off. When we are at anchor we always rotate the shifts with one anchor guard awake, so that the rest can sleep.

An expedition with us to Svalbard is primarily an adventurous exploration, but also a great opportunity to learn about sailing and navigation, and not least the use of a boat as a starting point for explorations and experiences on shore.

Are you ready for a summer polar adventure with participants from all over the world aboard Valiente?

See our short film about SeilNorge recorded on this specific tour here!

The Arctic is a vulnerable area under pressure from people and climate change. At SailNorway 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 considerably 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 any traces behind.

Having the lowest possible carbon footprint as possible is important to us. We sail as long as there’s wind, and we target to have a sustainable menu, procurement, and waste management. Although we have to use engine power for moving forward when it is completely windstill, our trips are among the most sustainable ways to experience Svalbard.

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.

If you are looking for magnificent views, respect the nature and would love to get acquainted to the most amazing species that have managed to cope with the rough climate, are curious about fascinating history of polar expeditions and mining, are happy to try out new things and adapt to the environment and meet bunch of excellent people with similar interests, then go for it. Unforgettable experience guaranteed :)


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