12th August – Meeting onboard and sail out the Icefjord
We meet onboard the boat in the harbour of Longyearbyen, and start to get to know the other guests, the boat and the equipment. Together we stow all our gear and the food, and then we go through a safety drill and practice handling the boat and sails. After making sure we are all set to go we sail straight over the fjord from Longyearbyen to Tempelet (The Temple) with it’s impressive shapes in sand and stone. Then we head out of the Icefjord and north. During the night we will sail on the inside of Prins Karls Forland and through the shallow passage of the Forlands-reef.
13th August - Krossfjorden and the surrounding sites
During the day we will reach Krossfjorden (Cross-fjord) and later on the Lilliehöökfjord. Here we will visit the Lilliehöök-glacier with its 8 kilometer long glacier edge. There is need to rush in these surrondings! Later in the day we will sail back out the fjord and head further north towards the Magdalena-fjord.
14th August – The Magdalena-fjord and the north western islands
Coming up on the north western side the Magdalena fjord we will find today’s first point of interest. The beautiful fjord with ice in the water and high peaks around is named after the guardian angel of early Basque whalers; Maria Magdalena. The fjord was an important base for whaling already from the 16th century. Many also died here, and there are a number of burial sites in the area. As we sail further north we reach more protected waters amongst the north-western Islands, the Smeerenberg-fjord. We will visit the Danish-island and the Amsterdam-island with history from the 16th century hunting for whales in this area. At the peak in the 1630s there were about 250 boats hunting about 750 whales per summer. Thus the whale population sank quickly and so did the number of whalers.
Then 250 years later the Danish island became relevant once again as a base for several polar expeditions in the 18th and 19th century. Virgohavna on the north side was the base for the André expedition of 1896-97 and later the Wellman-expedition of 1906, 07, and 09.
Opposite from Virgohamna we may visit the Smeerenberg-point; the main whaling-station of the Dutch during the peak years of 1617-42. The sites on Danish Island and Amsterdam Island are very popular and also protected, hence the permit to go ashore here is shared with other vessels.
15th August - 17th August – Fjord-sailing into the longer fjords on the north side
The next days we sail into the longer fjords with entrance from north; the Raudfjord, the Liefdefjord and the Bock-fjord. These fjords are home to many reindeers and seels, and polar bears are regularly seen. The glaciers are fascinating, and in the Bock-fjord we will find three springs with water heated by thermal activity, allowing us to indulge in a warm bath!
18th – 20th August – Sailing back south
Early on the 18th we will start our way back towards Longyearbyen. If we get good weather it will give us time to visit more places on the way, such as New Ålesund and Barentsburg.
We will be in Longyearbyen late on the 19th and conclude the trip with a good lunch together in the city the day after. Instead of rushing directly to the airport we recommend that you spend an extra night or day in Longyearbyen to let the experiences of the last ten days sink, and maybe explore some of the things Longyearbyen has to offer.