|Sat 21-05-2022, 16:00Longyearbyen, Svalbard||Sat 28-05-2022, 09:00Longyearbyen, Svalbard||Noorderlicht||7 Nights||ND210522|
Nature lovers, wildlife enthusiasts, photographers and anyone wishing to sail and explore the edge of the Arctic circle whilst sailing a magnificent tall ship. This voyage is a bird watcher’s paradise, wildlife guides are onboard to help you spot polar bears, walrus and cetaceans both at sea and ashore. Enjoy the scenery, take the helm, hoist the sails, or relax in the atmospheric saloon, retiring in the evening to your comfortable 2 berth cabins with central heating.
Sailing experience is not necessary as the crew will always be on hand to show you the ropes.
Day 1: Join in Longyearbyen
Longyearbyen airport is about 15 minutes from the airport and there are taxis and buses to get you there.
You can visit Svalbard Museum and shop for souvenirs in the local shops. Noorderlicht will be beside the ‘floating dock’ and easy to find.
The captain will welcome you on board and then the crew will give a comprehensive safety briefing. As you enjoy your first super onboard the ship will set a course towards Trygghamna Bay, and anchor there overnight. The name Trygghamna comes from the Dutch name ‘safe harbor’, due to its sheltered and safe anchorage options.
Day 2: Visit to seabird cliff Alkhornet
A healthy breakfast is followed by your first zodiac landing in Trygghamna, where you can see the remains of a 17th century English whaling station and a 18th century hunting station of the Pomor (Russian hunters).
Next you can hike to the 428-meter high Alkhornet cliff, where some 10,000 pairs of many different types of seabirds in their breed colonies. The cliffs are composed of carbonate rock, which is more than a billion years old. The tundra at the bottom of the cliff receives nutrients from the sea birds and provides meadows for reindeer, nesting sites for geese and shelter for Arctic foxes.
Not surprisingly this location is very good for spotting arctic wildlife including polar bears.
Shortly before lunch all guests will be brought safely back aboard where everyone can warm up whilst enjoying a hot lunch. In the meantime, depending on weather conditions, the crew sets sail and head South towards Bellsund. In the night we will drop anchor at the island of Akseløya.
Day 3: AkselØya landing – Fridjofbreen Glacier
In the morning, we will land at AkselØya, a long and narrow island in the mouth of the Bellsund, blocking the majority of the Van Mijenfjord. This island is named after the sailing schooner that the Finnish explorer Adolf Erik Nordenskiold chartered for his 1864 expedition to Spitsbergen. Here we will see that the ancient traditions of pelt hunting are preserved. After the walk we go to the caving glacier Fridtjofbreen which is surrounded by picturesque mountains. Keep a good eye out for belugas who have often been spotted here in previous years! In the evening we will look for an anchorage for the night at Midterhuken.
Day 4: Remains of Beluga hunting
From Midterhuken we have a fantastic view of the youngest mountainridge (65 million years old !) of Spitsbergen. A collision of continental plates has created the fold and break lines that we can see on the mountain. On the cliffs we find noisy colonies of guillemots, kittiwakes, little auks and Norwegian fulmars. The droppings of these birds provide rich nutrients that makes the surrounding tundra remarkably green and fertile. This tundra in turn provides a good breeding ground for arctic foxes and herds of reindeer. Even polar bears are regularly spotted here in search of food. After the morning hike, we will resume the journey to the bay of Fleur de Lyshamna, where we will be dropped off near 3 old rowboats that once belonged to the Norwegian beluga hunter Ingvald Svendsen. From there we walk to Kvitfiskstranda (‘white whale beach’) where there is a hut called Bamsebu, a whaling station built by the same Svendsen. At this location, a massacre of whales took place in the 19th century and the bones of the animals are still to be seen on the beach as a reminder of the grim past. Fortunately, despite the massive hunting of belugas in the past, they are now spotted again regularly in the fjords!
Day 5: History in the Recherchefjord
We plan a final landing in the Bellsund at the Recherchefjord. The high concentration of historical sites in this fjord are proof of the fact that the rich landscapes and abundant animal life have attracted many hunters and other professions. During the 17th and 18th century it harboured one of the largest whaling fleet in Svalbard and in the early 20th century, a coal mine was developed. Remains from these periods can be seen here at several locations. After the landing we will sail back North, back to the Isfjord. Depending on the availability of a berth in the port of Barentsburg, we will sail towards the Russian mining settlement.
Day 6: Ghost Town in Soviet style: Barentsburg
In the morning we will visit the town named after Willem Barents. The name Barentsburg was given in 1924 by the Dutch Spitsbergen Company to the then Dutch mining settlement. In 1926 the mining town was taken over by the Russians, after which it grew into a town of miners with more than 1000 inhabitants. Today there are still about 400 people of mainly Russian or Ukrainian descent. Since the mine has not been profitable for a long time, the focus has shifted more and more to tourism. From the dock where our ship is moored, we will first have to climb some 140 wooden steps before we enter the main street. Here we will see that the Soviet period has left its mark. There is a life-size bust of Lenin in the middle of the town, billboards with photos of workers and modernist Soviet buildings. Furthermore you can find the world’s most Northerly brewery and find the Pomor museum. When everyone is safely back on board, we leave for Borebukta. We will try to get as close as possible to the northwestern end to get a look at the steep glacier front of the Borebreen. We then continue to the west side of the bay, close to the Nansenbreen, where we will anchor for the night.
Day 7: Sailing towards Longyearbyen
In the morning we will organize a final landing at Cape Bohemanflya. Here we find a piece of Dutch history in the form of the former Dutch mine in Rijpsburg. It was expanded by the Dutch in 1920 with cabins for coal mining. Because the coastal waters here are very shallow, the Dutch found out that shipping coal here was very difficult. In 1921 it was therefore decided to transfer the activities to Barentsburg. Here we will visit an old hut from the 1900 and the foundations of the removed huts. Since August 31st 1920, there has also been a monument to Queen Wilhelmina in the form of a large stone pyramid. Weather permitting, we will spend the rest of the day sailing back to Longyearbyen. Upon arrival in the Arctic town, you may enjoy some free time to buy the last souvenirs or simply take a walk to soak up all the impressions of the week.
Around dinner time you are expected back on board where the crew has a last surprise in store for you. The rest of the evening you can enjoy your last night with the crew and your fellow travellers.
Day 8: Goodbye Noorderlicht!
Leaving Noorderlicht by 9am you will be sad to say goodbye but you will have lots of amazing memories. As you travel home gather your thoughts as those waiting for you will want to hear all about it.
It is important that you have suitable gloves, layers, thermals and a warm hat so as not to struggle handling ropes on deck. The weather can be unpredictable at this time of year, high winds and calm seas are just as likely as the other. Either way, the working crew will try their utmost to ensure you get the most out of this adventure. Good sturdy rubber boots are vital for stepping into the icy water when getting in and out of the dinghy.
In 1596 Willem Barentsz discovered snow covered mountains 600 miles further north than Norway and called it Spitsbergen. The archipelago is now called Svalbard and the climate is principally a result of its latitude. The temperatures during May and September are likely to be just above freezing and with any wind, this will make it feel considerably colder. Take a look at the kit list to ensure you are prepared and wrap up warm!
Whether you are an experienced sailor or a complete beginner, the professional crew will train you to be guest crew from the moment you arrive, with the intention that everybody works together to sail the ship. The common thread to all Classic Sailing holidays is ‘Hands on’ participation on ships that use ropes, blocks and tackles and ‘people power’ to set sail.
We cater for a wide range of ages and physical abilities and how much you are expected to do varies a bit between vessels. See the vessel tab above which explains all about the ‘sailing style’ and what to expect in terms of hands on participation. There is a lot of information about day to day life, the ships facilities and accommodation on the vessel pages.
Every customer sailing with us will need to fill in basic medical questions on their booking application. If you are not sure if your current level of fitness and agility are up to a voyage, then please ring the Classic Sailing Office on 01872 58 00 22 and we can chat through your concerns and possibly find options that might suit you better.
What to Bring
Please pack your belongings in a soft holdall or backpack as storage space is limited on Noorderlicht (no room for suitcases!)
• Flight tickets
• Voyage Information
• Any Medication
• Light weight wet weather gear - heavy weight waterproof jacket and trousers for the Arctic
• Washing kit and toiletries
• Clothing for a warm climate or extra for the Arctic - plenty of layers
•warm water proof boots for the Arctic
• warm wind proof hats for the Arctic
• You can charge electrical appliances if you have an adapter for European two pin sockets.
• Camera and batteries – film, spare batteries and storage cards
• Small musical instrument are always welcome
What not to Bring
Your bunk has a comforter/duvet with cover, one pillow with pillowcase and a sheet
- You do not need to bring a sleeping bag or towels, as they will be provided too
- Jewellery and other valuables
- It is not allowed to bring any alcoholic beverages on board. We try to limit the amount of garbage we produce on board, so if you bring your favourite snacks, please think about sensible packing!
One extreme to the other - Blizzards and heatwaves in he Arctic - Think Ski resort and you won't be far wrong.
Luggage In each cabin you will have a drawer and a small cupboard where you have to stow all the luggage you bring with you, including the bag. Leaving bags on the floor will create a dangerous situation, the movements of the ship will scatter everything around and tripping and falling can be the consequence. We kindly ask you to bring soft but sturdy luggage bags that can (partly) be folded. Suitcases cannot be stowed in your cabin.
Suitcases take up a lot of space in your cabin and cannot be stowed, so we ask your only to sue sturdy but soft luggage bags.
Baggage Allowance and Recommendations
To avoid excess baggage charges on international and domestic flights, check with your ticketing agent about luggage restrictions. In general, you are allowed two normal sized pieces of luggage per person and one carry-on bag.
A small rucksack (daypack) or shoulder bag is handy for walks ashore to store your gear. Waterproof if possible or put your kit in an inner bag that is waterproof and sealed.
On board it is common to wear casual clothing. Staying warm, dry and comfortable will allow you to maximize the enjoyment of your experience. Layer your clothes to easily adapt to the weather circumstances. Especially at night it will be cold.
- Thermal underwear: a natural fibre such as merino wool is best to keep you warm and will also stay odourless longer than synthetic fibres. The best would be medium thick to thick.
- Socks: here we would also suggest merino wool socks, the higher the better! Try to find seamless socks to prevent blisters
- Shirts: both long and short sleeves. Shirts made out of 100% cotton are not ideal since it holds moisture and dries slowly. Best would be to have shirts with a bit of elastane.
- Pants: what you prefer. Quickly drying is advised.
- Often for this layer fleece is suggested, but we would like to ask you to bring wool sweaters instead. During one laundry cycle, a fleece jacket releases up to 250.000 synthetic fibres. These come into the waste water and eventually end up in our oceans contributing to the plastic soup.
- Down jackets
- Wind and waterproof. Since we will be sailing to he Arctic we suggest to go for sailing gear. Big brands are Musto, Helly Hansen, Henry Lloyd, but these are also quite expensive. As an alternative, have a look at oil suits, less pretty but just as effective in keeping out the wind and water
- Gloves: inner and outer gloves.
o Inner gloves: excellent dexterity and good wicking properties
o Outer gloves: pick one of good quality. Select on warmth, waterproofing and dexterity.
- Hats and scarves
o Hats: bring something warm and which you like. Don’t forget something to cover your ears
o Scarves: a neck gaiter is a good option, because it will not leave you with loose ends which can get caught up in something.
Feet: If you want to wear two pairs of socks make sure there is room in your footwear!
- Muck boots: during landings we might not always be able to do a complete landing, so you will have to walk through a bit of water to reach the shore. Make sure your boots are as high as possible, just under the knee.
- Walking shoes: for walking during the landings you can bring normal hiking shoes. Shoes with not too much profile are preferred, as not to transfer material from one landing site to another. You can bring them in you backpack to shore.
Rubber boots are necessary on virtually all landings: for getting ashore out of the zodiac trough ankle deep icy out of the zodiac trough ankle deep icy water, walking through snow and sometimes on deck during the crossing. You will be wearing these daily so they should be comfortable for longer wear and walking. If they are too tight they will give you cold feet, space shaft of at least 28 cm high with soft (for better grip on deck) non-slippery heavily for 2 socks is great. We recommend simple rubber boots with a ridged/waffled soles. Yachting/sailing boots don’t offer enough grip ashore on snow, ice and mud, better opt for Wellingtons/farmers boots. You can find these at farm/fishing co-op stores, work clothing stores and garden shops between 20 to 60 Euros.
Bring vital documents in your carry on luggage but keep photocopies in your luggage.
Passport For a number of nationalities your passport has to be valid for at least 6 months at the moment you enter Argentina. Please check the requirements for your own nationality.
Visa It is important that you check with your own embassy for visa requirements pertaining to each country. For a number of nationalities no visa is required for a stay of a maximum 90 days. Please check the requirements for your own nationality.
Certificates of medical and travel insurance.
Please make sure you bring enough cash with you, there is an ATM in Longyearbyen, however do not rely on this as it can often break down.
Swimwear for a polar plunge.
Extra pair of prescription glasses or contact lenses
Sunglasses (uv filter) and sunscreen. The sun is very strong as the area has little
ozone and light is reflected by snow, ice and water.
Please ensure that you test your equipment before you leave.
Digital photographers spare (rechargeable) batteries, memory cards Bring twice as much storage as you think you might need! In case you bring your own laptop along: empty CD’s or a spare memory stick to store your photographs onto.
Analog photographers: sufficient rolls of film (100/200 ASA for sunny days, 400 ASA for cloudy days) If you have one: a tele zoom lens (~300mm) allows you to take good pictures of wildlife without disturbing it. A polarization filter is not a must, but it can be useful to bring if you have one. Binoculars for watching wildlife (birds, cetaceans) 7x or 8x is fine Electricity on board is 220Volt/50Hertz, standard European plugs with two circular metal pins. Wall socket adapter
Eating and drinking: It is not allowed to bring your own drinks or large amounts of food on board.
Your bunk has a duvet with cover, one pillow with pillowcase and a sheet, so you do not need to bring a sleeping bag. Towels will be provided too. If you sleep light you might like to think about taking ear plugs.
Seasickness A sailing ship under sail is steadier in the water in strong winds than a motor vessel. If you fear that you might be susceptible to seasickness, you can take anti-seasickness pills. Please buy these before you leave home.
Keeping in touch with home while you are away in case of an emergency, the ship can be contacted 24/7 via the office. They keep contact with the ship on a daily basis via ship's radio or Satellite communication. You will receive these contact details when you voyage is confirmed,
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