We will embark on the Akademik Sergey Vavilov - our home for the next 8 nights - and sail out of Adventfjorden and into Isfjorden (Ice Fjord) and begin our exploration up the northwest coast of Spitsbergen. Spitsbergen is the larger of the two main islands that make up the bulk of the Svalbard archipelago. From the moment we throw the lines and start our voyage we are in the land of the polar bear, the beluga, the walrus and the reindeer, so keep your eyes peeled for wildlife.
We stop in Kongsfjorden (Kings Bay) and visit the town site of Ny Alesund. One of the northernmost communities in the world, Ny Alesund is rich in history and scientific discovery. From Kongsfjorden we continue north and around the northern coast of Spitsbergen, stopping in numerous bays before heading south down Hinlopenstretet, the strait that separates Spitsbergen from Nordaustlandet, the other main island in the Svalbard archipelago.
Leaving the bird cliffs of Hinlopenstretet behind, we head north again for Phippsoya, our northernmost point at around 80 degrees North latitude. We hope to go ashore and cruise the polar pack ice edge as we explore this region before returning to the northern coast of Spitsbergen and the stunning Monacobreen (Monaco Glacier).
As we come toward the end of our voyage we continue our search for macro-fauna on the shores of Prins Karls Forland. A walrus haul out will more than overwhelm all the senses and we hope to approach these massive beasts.
We sail back into Isfjorden and, if weather permits, will plan a final zodiac cruise at Alkehornet’s little auk or dovekie colony before returning to Longyearbyen.
Over the course of the voyage we will visit numerous bird colonies showcasing Brunnich’s guillemot (also known as the thick-billed murre), little auk (dovekie), barnacle and pink-footed geese and the Arctic tern.